The Proteas fell to a 191-run defeat late on day four of the fourth and final Test against England at the Wanderers.
The result gave England a 3-1 series victory. They lost the series opener in Centurion before winning in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
Pursuing a 466-run target, the Proteas lapsed to 274 all out after tea on Monday. Half-centurion Rassie van der Dussen and captain Faf du Plessis defied the looming inevitable through Monday’s first session, before a characteristic collapse yielded eight wickets for just 93 runs.
Van der Dussen failed to graduate to a maiden Test century en route to 98, while all-rounder Vernon Philander’s innings in international cricket was capped by a tame catch down the leg-side.
Fast bowler Mark Wood, who likely wouldn’t have played had the injured Jofra Archer recovered, claimed telling match figures of 9-100.
The 34-year-old’s 64-Test career ended with 224 wickets at an average of 22.32. He leaves the longest format as the country’s seventh-highest wicket-taker, after fellow retirees Dale Steyn, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Allan Donald, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis.
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who didn’t play this match due to a suspension, is now South Africa’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket among bowlers still playing. He has 197 in 43 matches. His closest rival is spinner Keshav Maharaj with 110 in 30. Maharaj, too, didn’t play this match.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock was this series’ highest run-scorer, with 380 in eight innings, ahead of England’s Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes with 324 in seven and 318 in seven, respectively.
Fast bowler Anrich Nortje took the most wickets this series. His 18 was four more than Broad and Rabada’s 14 each.
South Africa and England will soon meet for three ODIs. The first will be played at Newlands on 4 February. Durban and Johannesburg will host the other two. Three T20Is in East London, Durban and Centurion will follow.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Pieter Malan, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma, Dwaine Pretorius, Vernon Philander, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, Beuran Hendricks.
England: Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad.
Photo: Gallo Images