LONDON — Dale Steyn claimed five for 56 to help bowl South Africa to a comprehensive innings and 12-run victory over England before tea on the fifth day of the first cricket Test at The Oval yesterday.
South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, fuelling their hopes of winning the series and leapfrogging England as the number one team in the world rankings.
Steyn wrapped up England’s second innings with a fiery burst with the second new ball of three for eight in his four-over spell as England were bowled out for 240, replying to the Proteas’ only innings of 637 for two declared. In bright, sunny conditions, Ian Bell tried to salvage a draw with his painstaking innings of 55 in 220 balls, his slowest Test 50, but, like his team mates, he could not stay in.
It was a crushing win for South Africa, especially after England closed day one on 267 for three but then failed to capitalise.
Hashim Amla plundered a national record 311 not out in more than 13 hours at the crease in his team’s huge total. Jacques Kallis also made 182 not out and skipper Graeme Smith 131 in his hundredth test.
South Africa were a little nervy having managed just the wicket of Ravi Bopara (22) in the morning session as Bell and then Matt Prior (40) dug in. Prior’s dismissal, however, started off a flurry of wickets.
Fast bowler Steyn, ranked number one in the world, had started the demolition job in the first hour of the day by removing Bopara, who deflected a bottom edge on to his stumps while trying to cut a short and wide delivery.
Despite a couple of let-offs for Bell, when AB de Villiers failed to hold on to a nick off leg-spinner Imran Tahir on 20 and a run out chance on 28, he batted courageously. Prior’s wicket halted their promising stand of 86 as England crashed from 203 for five. Prior gave away his wicket, trying to sweep Tahir when the shot was not on. Instead he managed a faint edge to a leg-break from around the wicket and Kallis took his 183rd test catch at slip.
Steyn then claimed the prized wicket of Bell with his second delivery with the new ball, as he edged to the reliable Kallis at second slip. He added the scalps of Stuart Broad, caught behind after a review, and Graeme Swann. The final wicket went down when Tahir trapped last man James Anderson lbw. The second Test is in Leeds from August 2 and the third match at Lord’s starts on August 16.