Dale Steyn was made to wait for his return to the international scene after a viral infection ruled him out of South Africa's Test against Zimbabwe.

Just four behind Shaun Pollock (421) as the Proteas' all-time leading Test wicket-taker, Steyn has been out of action since suffering a serious shoulder injury against Australia in Perth in November 2016.

The four-day, day-night meeting with Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth had been due to stage his comeback, but it was announced shortly before play began on Tuesday that the quick would miss out.

Earlier on Boxing Day, it was confirmed that captain Faf du Plessis had also been laid low by a viral infection, with former skipper AB de Villiers leading the side in his absence.

Steyn's Test return will have to wait until the visit of India to Cape Town on January 5.