South Africa star Dale Steyn admits Mitchell Johnson’s brutal annihilation of his side in the first Test was a source of motivation.
Johnson snared career-best figures in the opening clash of the three-Test series, making the most of a bouncy Centurion pitch to also hit the hosts’ helmets, hands and forearms.
Steyn, playing his first Test since fracturing a rib and suffering a bout of gastro, couldn’t have the same effect.
A few pundits viewed it as a passing of the ‘world’s best bowler’ mantle, something Steyn wouldn’t have enjoyed.
“I was nowhere near as effective as what Mitchell was,” Steyn said.
“The guy just tore us up. He showed how devastating a fast bowler in a purple patch really can be.
“It was definitely something to try and copy. But the (Port Elizabeth) wicket obviously didn’t offer us that.
“I want to lead the attack and I want to bowl 150kms an hour.
“But you just can’t do it sometimes. You push your body too hard and end up bowling a lot slower.”
Steyn had a relatively subdued start to the match, saying much of the Proteas’ dominance in their series-levelling victory should be credited to Morne Morkel for “basically taking people’s heads off” in the first innings.
But it was Steyn who finished Australia off in scintillating fashion, taking 3-4 in 15 balls in a brilliant exhibition of reverse swing.
He was sheepish about the vein-popping celebration that followed the wickets of Michael Clarke, Steve Smith and Brad Haddin.
“It’s a little bit embarrassing when I watch it on the news,” Steyn said.
But the 30-year-old, who has previously spoken of the joys of being given a licence to “basically kill someone”, said it was part of the state of mind that made him the bowler he is.
“If I was running in and thinking of cuddly bears and stuff like that, I would be dishing out half-volleys and hamburgers for guys to smash,” Steyn said.
“So I’ve got to kind of get myself into a fight.
“Not necessarily go down and abuse the batsman at the other end, but I’ve got to get my body ready for a fight.”
There’s no doubt that will be the case come Saturday when the series decider starts in Cape Town.
“We are 1-1 and we are here to fight it all out,” he said.
“It’s pretty crazy and it’s exciting at the same time.”