The Proteas sunk to an innings and 53-run defeat before lunch on day five of the third Test against England at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
The result afforded England a 2-1 series lead. The fourth and final Test will start at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday.
Resuming on 102-6 overnight, still 188 runs shy of at least making England bat again, South Africa’s follow-on slipped to 237 all out. England had amassed 499-9 declared on the back of centuries from batsman Ollie Pope and all-rounder Ben Stokes.
All-rounder Vernon Philander fell to Monday’s third delivery. He looped a straightforward catch to mid-on fielder Pope off the bowling of seamer Stuart Broad. Pope became the sixth non-wicketkeeper to score a century and take six catches in the same Test. South Africa’s Jacques Kallis achieved this feat against Sri Lanka in Galle 16 years ago.
Tailender Kagiso Rabada put in a few lusty blows before falling to fast bowler Mark Wood’s first delivery of the day. This time the catcher at mid-on was Broad. Burgeoning all-rounder Keshav Maharaj and debutant Dane Paterson’s followed Rabada’s attacking lead.
Maharaj capitalised against occasional spinner Joe Root, striking three consecutive fours and successive sixes during a particularly expensive over. The 28 runs in the over, which included four byes, is the joint-most expensive in Test cricket. West Indian batsman Brian Lara managed the same tally against South Africa’s Robin Peterson in Johannesburg in 2003. Australian George Bailey also hit 28 off England’s James Anderson in Perth in 2013.
The hard-hitting Maharaj welcomed a second Test half-century. He scored his first against India in Pune last year.
The Proteas, at least, denied Root a maiden Test five-wicket haul. Root had snatched four wickets on Sunday. In 90 previous Tests, he had never taken more than two in an innings. Root tried to force the fifth, sharing the second new ball with fellow spinner Dom Bess on Monday.
A run-out eventually ended Maharaj’s salvo – and sealed triumph for the tourists. Maharaj and Paterson’s partnership of 99 marked a new Test record for the 10th wicket at St George’s Park.
The hosts will be without Rabada for the Wanderers Test. He has been suspended for one Test match after an arguably overzealous celebration of Root’s wicket in Port Elizabeth. Rabada will likely be replaced in the XI by left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks or all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.
Hendricks, Phehlukwayo and batsman Temba Bavuma will not compete in this week’s 4-Day Domestic Series fixtures after rejoining the Proteas squad.
The Johannesburg fixture will be Philander’s last in Test cricket. He is retiring from all forms of international competition later this month to pursue a Kolpak contract with Somerset in English county cricket.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Pieter Malan, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson.
England: Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood.