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Steyn questions Wagner's courage

Heated battle in the middle leaves the South Africa quick fired up

Proteas pace ace Dale Steyn has questioned Blackcaps fast bowler Neil Wagner’s courage in a fiery battle on day three in Centurion.

With his team in crisis at 8-169 and trailing the hosts by 312 first-innings runs, Wagner took the long handle, spanking a quick-fire 31 from 30 balls, including 18 off one Steyn over.

LIVE SCORES: Steyn rips New Zealand apart on day four

But the South Africa champion had his revenge, dismissing the touring tailender and leaving his captain, Kane Williamson, left to hit out four balls later for 77.

Steyn shared his disapproval of Wagner’s tactics during the batsman’s innings with a few choice words and then after play to the media. 

"He backed away and slogged his way ... maybe didn't back away but stood and played the pull shot," Steyn said.

"But if he wanted to be more courageous and brave he would have been 30 off 90 and watched his captain get to 100 rather than (score) 31 and walk off the pitch and saying ‘I've done my job’. That's not your job.

"He does take it on, he does play the shots. He’s a brave cricketer, he gives it all, he’s an all-heart kind of cricket player.

"But if you ask me I would have tried to hang out there and even score 10 of 50 balls and see Kane through to 100, rather than walk off with 30 and think I've done my job.

"But in saying that’s he’s done well, he’s played well."

While Steyn did not approve of Wagner’s decision to hit out (name a fast bowler who likes getting hit to the boundary), New Zealand teammate Doug Bracewell had no problem with the aggressive strategy.

"He (Wagner) put them under a little bit of pressure," Bracewell said. "He had a handy little knock there towards the end and we were happy with that.

"I think things got a little bit heated and a few words were said, which is always going to happen."