Dale Steyn of South Africa (C) celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Ian Bell (L) during fifth day of the first Test match at the Oval in London Monday. — AFP
LONDON – South Africa Monday took a one-nil lead in the three-match series against England, beating the host by an innings and 12 runs and securing its first win at the Oval after a masterful display of top-order batting.
Hashim Amla’s unbeaten 311, ably supported by 182 not out from veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis and 131 from Graeme Smith took the Proteas to 637 for 2 before it declared, setting England a target of 252 to make it bat again.
But with England resuming on 102 for four on the final day, the host was always facing an uphill battle to save the game and, despite some resistance from Ian Bell (55) and Matt Prior (40), the task ultimately proved impossible.
England, however, had managed to survive the first session virtually unscathed, moving to 177 for five at lunch, with the only wicket to fall that of Ravi Bopara, who was bowled off an inside edge by Dale Steyn for 22 in the seventh over.
Steyn bowled an accurate spell at the start of the day but his wicket came off a short, wide ball, which Bopara tried to punch to the off side, only to get a thick inside edge which caused the ball to crash into his stumps.
Bell was dropped by stand-in wicketkeeper AB de Villiers off leg-spinner Imran Tahir when he was on 20, with De Villiers failing to hold a thin edge in Tahir’s first over of the day, shortly before the morning drinks break.
Bell and Bopara put on 50 for the fifth wicket and Bell found another useful partner in Matt Prior as the pair added 86 for the sixth wicket.
Both batsmen were caught by Kallis – Prior off spinner Imran Tahir and Bell off Steyn, making it only a question of time before South Africa ran through the tail end.
Steyn finished with second innings figures of five for 56 after Graeme Swann lofted a drive straight down Alviro Petersen’s throat at cover while spinner Imran Tahir (3-63) made sure of victory, trapping James Anderson lbw with a low ball.
Amla takes front page
Surprise British Open champion Ernie Els had to settle for second place behind triple centurion Hashim Amla on the front pages of South African newspapers Monday.
“South Africa’s day of champions” read the headline across the top of The New Age with pictures of Els holding the Claret Jug at Royal Lytham in northwest England and Amla acknowledging the crowd at The Oval in London. — Agencies
England (1st innings) 385
South Africa (1st innings) 637-2 declared
England (2nd innings):
A.Strauss c Philander b Tahir 27
A.Cook c de Villiers b Philander 00
J.Trott c de Villiers b Steyn 10
K.Pietersen b Morkel 16
I.Bell c Kallis b Steyn 55
R.Bopara b Steyn 22
M.Prior c Kallis b Tahir 40
T.Bresnan not out 20
S.Broad c de Villiers b Steyn 00
G.Swann c Petersen b Steyn 07
J.Anderson lbw b Tahir 04
Extras 11-b, 15-lb, 12-nb, 1-w) 39
Total (all out, 97 overs) 240
Falls: 1-2 (Cook), 2-32 (Trott), 3-57 (Pietersen), 4-67 (Strauss), 5-117 (Bopara), 6-203 (Prior), 7-210 (Bell), 8-210 (Broad), 9-218 (Swann).
Bowling: Morkel 16-0-41-1, Philander 19-6-29-1, Steyn 21-6-56-5, Tahir 32-7-63-3, Kallis 7-1-22-0, Duminy 1-0-3-0.
Bowling: Morkel 8-0-24-1, Philander 9-2-13-1 (1nb), Steyn 9-2-27-1, Imran Tahir 12-3-23-1 (4nb).