The Proteas bowling unit led by Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje ensured the hosts romped to a 107-run victory as England slumped to 268 all out on day four of the first Test at Centurion, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
It was an absorbing session as the momentum initially shifted away from the South Africans with Joe Root and Ben Stokes at the crease. Hindsight will prove that the resistance lacked any real steel as Proteas
The English pair had started to rattle the home crowd as they first held off any further strikes before advancing the scoreboard along nicely. The introduction of Keshav Maharaj into the attack was always going to be a ‘stick or twist’ moment in the day and Stokes presumably went after the spinner.
Captain Faf du Plessis showed faith in Maharaj, who was handed a second over. Stokes, though, was relentless and hit Maharaj swiftly to the boundary. The spinner stuck to his task and lured the left-hander into a false push through the offside. An inside edge saw Stokes’ furniture troubled and Maharaj off on a wild celebration.
Just 18 runs were added before Jonny Bairstow edged the new ball from Kagiso Rabada into Zubayr Hamza’s hands at gully.
The English restored matters to an extent as Jos Buttler joined Root in the middle. Du Plessis was bold in withdrawing Vernon Philander from the attack but the moved paid immediate dividends as Nortje dismissed Root with Quinton de Kock gobbling up the nick.
Sam Curran was next to depart for 9 as Rabada found his rhythm with De Kock adding his eighth catch of the match.
The race to clean up the tail was officially on as Nortje sent Jofra Archer back to the pavilion with just four runs to his name.
With little support left, Buttler threw caution to the wind but his cameo was short-lived as he holed out to Pretorius off Rabada for 22.
That left England on 262-9 with James Anderson and Stuart Broad at the wicket but a long way short of the 376 run target.
Up stepped Rabada to bowl Broad for 6 as he collected his fourth of the innings to complete the 107-run win. Nortje ended with 3-56, one short of Rabada’s figures of 4-103.
The tea will no doubt taste sweet for everyone inside the Proteas camp after watching the bowlers take 7-64 to wrap up proceedings a lot earlier than expected after the lunch break.
South Africa: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Dwaine Pretorius, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.
England: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.