South Africa moved to within one victory of becoming the No. 1 Test team in the world after trouncing England by an innings and 12 runs on Monday led by Dale Steyns five-wicket haul. Steyn finished with 5-56 and was supported by leg-spinner Imran Tahirs 3-63 as England slumped from 203-5 to all out for 240 during the afternoon session on the last day of the first Test at The Oval.
South Africa leads 1-0 in the three-match series and will replace England at the top of the ICC world rankings if it wins the second Test,which starts August 2 at Headingley in Leeds. This is an extremely proud moment for all of us, South Africa captain Graeme Smith said. In the context of the first innings this is a great achievement for us.
We found an intensity on day two and got a few more plans right. I always felt we were ready and just needed to get into the game. Weve got a batting unit thats been successful all around the world and mentally can adapt to all conditions.
Ian Bell and Matt Prior had given England hope of saving the match with a stand of 86 after Ravi Bopara (22) was the first batsman out Monday with 15 added to the overnight total of 102-4. But England collapsed after Prior fell for 40,caught in the slips by Jacques Kallis trying to sweep Tahir.
Seven runs later,Steyn claimed the key wicket of Bell,who made 55 from 220 balls with six fours. The victory was sealed when James Anderson was trapped lbw to Tahir for 4. Anderson,almost resignedly,referred the call but replays showed the ball would have clattered into his stumps.
It was a bruising defeat for England,which had enjoyed the better of the first day to reach 267-3. South Africa dominated from then,however,led by an epic 311 not out by Hashim Amla,an unbeaten 182 from Jacques Kallis and 131 from captain Graeme Smith to give the visitors a daunting 637-2 declared.
England realistically needed to bat through at least two sessions Monday to save the match,but poor shot selection contributed to its first Test defeat at home since going down to Pakistan at this venue in 2010.
Brief scores: England 385 and 240 (I Bell 55; D Styen 5/56,I Tahir 3/63) vs South Africa 637/2 dec. (H. Amla 311 not out,J Kallis 182 not out,G.Smith 131)