Centurion, South Africa: South Africa broke down stubborn England resistance to win the first Test of their World Test Championship series by 107 runs at SuperSport Park on Sunday.
England needed 376 to win but despite some committed batting were bowled out for 268 on the fourth day of the five-day encounter.
An enthralling contest swung South Africa’s way when left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj bowled Ben Stokes to halt a brief flurry of strokes as Stokes and captain Joe Root tried to lift the scoring rate before the second new ball was due.
The new ball then had an immediate impact with Kagiso Rabada having Jonny Bairstow caught at gully before Anrich Nortje claimed the crucial wicket of Root, who made a fighting 48 before he was caught behind.
It was the second time in the day Nortje claimed a wicket with the second ball of a new spell after he made the first breakthrough of the day by dismissing topscorer Rory Burns for 84.
The remaining wickets fell quickly, with Rabada finishing with four for 103 and fellow fast bowler Anrich Nortje claiming three for 56.
Maharaj, who broke England’s first wicket stand of 92 on Saturday when he dismissed Dom Sibley, took two for 37.
South Africa produced a disciplined bowling performance, making scoring difficult on a pitch which always offered something to the bowlers with some sideways movement and uneven bounce.
England added only 50 runs in 25 overs while losing two wickets during the morning.
Rory Burns took his overnight score of 77 to 84 before mistiming a pull against Nortje to be caught at mid-on, while Joe Denly was leg before wicket to Dwaine Pretorius for 31.
Burns and Denly saw off the threat of Vernon Philander and Rabada but found scoring difficult.
Philander conceded only one run in five overs. Rabada gave up 23 in six overs, which included two hooked sixes by Denly.
Burns, who faced most of Philander’s bowling, adding only seven runs off 37 balls. The change to Nortje brought an immediate result for South Africa as Burns attempted to pull the fast bowler’s second delivery and sent the ball looping to Rabada at mid-on.
Nortje made a second crucial breakthrough when South African captain Faf du Plessis made an inspired bowling change.
First innings destroyer Vernon Philander sent down three overs with the second new ball but was not making the batsmen play many deliveries, so Du Plessis called on Nortje with immediate success.
South Africa (1st innings) 284 all out
England (1st innings) 181 all out
South Africa (2nd innings) 272 all out
England (2nd innings)
R. Burns c Rabada b Nortje 84
D. Sibley c&b Maharaj 29
J. Denly lbw Pretorius 31
J. Root c de Kock b Nortje 48
B. Stokes b Maharaj 14
J. Bairstow c Hamza b Rabada 9
J. Buttler c Pretorius b Rabada 22
S. Curran c de Kock b Rabada 9
J. Archer c van der Dussen b Nortje 4
S. Broad b Rabada 6
Extras: (8b 3lb 0nb 0pen 1w) 12
Total: (all out, 93.0 overs) 268
Fall of Wickets: 1-92 Sibley, 2-139 Burns, 3-158 Denly, 4-204 Stokes, 5-222 Bairstow, 6-232 Root, 7-251 Curran, 8-256 Archer, 9-262 Buttler, 10-268 Broad.
Bowling: Rabada 24-3-103-4; Philander 20-8-35-0; Nortje 17-4-56-3; Pretorius 16-6-26-1; Maharaj 16-3-37-2.