SA push England from top Test spot
SOUTH Africa replaced England at the top of the world Test rankings on Monday after defeating the home side by 51 runs at Lord’s to win the three-Test series 2-0.
England, set a record 346 for victory, were dismissed for 294 after some plucky counterattacking by Matt Prior (73), Jonny Bairstow (54), Graeme Swann (41) and Stuart Broad (37). Jonathan Trott also chipped in with 63.
The end of the match and the series was sealed when last man Steven Finn was caught by second slip Jacques Kallis off Vernon Philander, who finished with two wickets in two balls for figures of 5/30. Philander also played two vital innings in the match, of 61 and 35.
It was always going to be a difficult challenge for England, given that the West Indies are the only team to have successfully chased a target beyond 300 at Lord’s, when they made 344/1 in 1984. England’s highest run chase is 332/7, against Australia in 1928.
The defeat meant England surrendered their position at the top of the world rankings, having held the title for a year after displacing India. England have lost six of their past 11 Tests, while South Africa remain undefeated in away series for six years.
England’s outstanding batsman, Kevin Pietersen, born in South Africa, was dropped for the deciding Test for sending derogatory texts about England to their rivals.
Four South African players amassed more than 200 runs, with Hashim Amla racking up 482 at an average of 120.50, boosted by his national record of 311 not out in the first Test at the Oval.
South Africa started well on the final day, when England resumed on 16/2. The home side soon slipped to 45/4 after Ian Bell (4) was caught at first slip off Philander and James Taylor (4) was run out.
Trott and Bairstow gave the Proteas a brief scare with a stand of 89 off just 102 balls. Bairstow followed his fighting 95 in the first innings with a more typically aggressive 47-ball innings, which included eight boundaries. He was bowled when leg-spinner Imran Tahir went around the wicket and got a ball to keep low.
Broad took 12 runs off one Dale Steyn over, including a pulled six over square-leg, before his cameo ended when he hooked Jacques Kallis to fine-leg.
The first over after tea was a maiden, but the next seven cost 60 runs as Swann and Prior accelerated towards what seemed an impossible victory. Every single run was cheered by the England fans.
Prior reached his half-century with a second reverse sweep for four in one Tahir over. In the same over Swann lofted the leg-spinner into the crowd for a six over long-on.
Swann hit another six over midwicket in the next over off Kallis. Next ball, Swann drove handsomely through the covers when Kallis corrected his length.
Just as South Africa’s seemingly inevitable victory began to look less certain, Swann was run out by centimetres after hesitating over a quick single. Prior was caught at first slip by captain Graeme Smith, off Philander.
Final Scoreboard SA 1st Innings 309, England 1st Innings 315 (J Bairstow 95, I Bell 58; M Morkel 4-80, D Steyn 4-94), SA 2nd Innings 351 (H Amla 121; S Finn 4-74)
England 2nd Innings (overnight: 16/2)
A Strauss lbw b Philander 1 A Cook lbw b Philander 3 J Trott c Kallis b Steyn 63 I Bell c Smith b Philander 4 J Taylor run out (Amla/Steyn/de Villiers) 4 J Bairstow b Imran Tahir 54 M Prior c Smith b Philander 73 S Broad c Amla b Kallis 37 G Swann run out (Rudolph/Imran Tahir) 41 J Anderson not out 4 S Finn c Kallis b Philander 0 Extras (b7, w2, nb1) 10 Total (all out, 82.5 overs, 367 mins) 294 Bowling: Morkel 17-3-58-0 ; Philander 14.5-4-30-5; Steyn 16-4-61-1; Kallis 11-2-50-1; Tahir 24-3-88-1