Watch: A resurfaced video on Twitter from the 2013 Durban Test between India and South Africa has reminded fans of a classic verbal duel between Dale Steyn and Rohit Sharma, in which the duo engage in a prolonged sledging contest.
It was India’s tour of South Africa in 2013/14, when Steyn was at the peak of his powers and Rohit, just three Tests old, was trying to eke out a place in the red-ball side. A pumped-up Steyn had already dismissed Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara in successive overs of the second innings, and decided to have a go at Rohit, who had walked in at No.5.
“You just won’t score the runs,” Steyn was heard saying, as he completed an over with Rohit then batting on nine. “Only got one chance, Rohit … one chance.”
An over later, Rohit was off strike, but closer to the bowler, when the war of words continued. Rohit was heard giving Steyn an invitation to reproduce his bowling brilliance in India, which commentator Pommie Mbangwa paraphrased as: “We’ll see how you go when you come to India.”
Pat came Steyn’s reply. “We’re in Durban, Rohit,” he said, following it up with another gem: “Rohit, you’ve played a handful of Test matches and you’ve done nothing in your career.”
“It’s fine, doesn’t matter,” was Rohit’s rather insipid reaction.
Umpire Rod Tucker then made an attempt to break the tension, but Steyn had walked off to his bowling mark by then. Rohit hung around to make a 46-ball 25, before falling to Steyn’s new-ball partner, Vernon Philander. South Africa went on to to win the game by ten wickets.
In the first innings of the match, Rohit was dismissed for a golden duck in stunning fashion by Steyn, shouldering arms to a delivery that pitched outside the off stump and nipped back in to flatten Rohit’s middle stump.
While he’s evolved into a white-ball behemoth, Rohit, in his Test career spanning 32 games so far, is yet to score a century outside home, and averages 26.32 on away tours [15.37 in South Africa]. He resurrected his failing Test career last year by scoring twin centuries against South Africa in the Visakhapatnam Test, and followed it up with a double century two games later in Ranchi. The series, however, didn’t feature Steyn, who had retired from Test cricket by then.
Watch the classic contest between the two cricketing powerhouses below.
"You've played a handful of Test matches and you've done nothing in your career."
Dale Steyn v Rohit Sharma, no holds barred.
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) November 19, 2020
This is what happened in first innings .. pic.twitter.com/RgsWBrsOsn
— Zakir Siddiqui (@BarestOfMargins) November 18, 2020