Proteas triumph seals share of series
Andrew Strauss’ developing England suffered a reality check as they slipped to a heavy loss in the final Test to nevertheless emerge with a creditable series draw against South Africa.
Having gone into the fourth Test needing to avoid defeat to secure back-to-back away series victories against the Proteas, England’s second-innings collapse gave South Africa the win that means they keep the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy.
Batting for 42.5 overs in their second innings at the Wanderers, England were blown away for 169 by a menacing South Africa attack that had dismissed them for 180 first time around and eventually delivered an innings-and-74-run victory in Johannesburg.
With only Paul Collingwood's 71 being of any consolation, England’s showing on the fourth morning mirrored their batting display on the first day.
Then they were chasing the game from the very first ball as Dale Steyn picked up the wicket of Strauss thanks to an outstanding catch by Hashim Amla close in on the leg side.
There was little need for such acrobatics on day four as Morne Morkel’s pace and bounce ripped through England’s middle and lower-order.
The tall paceman ended with 4-59 while his ever-threatening colleague Steyn followed up his first innings five-for with two more wickets.
Beginning the day on 48 for three, England were looking for the kind of displays that had scraped them a draw in the first Test and earned them the same result in the third.
Collingwood seemed happy to oblige as he used attack as his best form of defence, first smiting Morkel through point before pulling a pacy Steyn confidently through midwicket.
However, at the other end Wayne Parnell achieved the first breakthrough when Kevin Pietersen, aiming an expansive drive, was caught by Mark Boucher for 12 to conclude his lean series.
Ian Bell, one of England’s positives with the bat this series, looked ruffled and could have been run out after a mix-up with Collingwood that saw him woefully short of his ground, attempting a second run. Thankfully for him the throw passed close but wide at the non-striker's end.
Collingwood continued on his merry way, collecting runs all round the wicket before Bell got a brute from Morkel that he could only guide into the hands of Jacques Kallis, who took his 150th catch in Tests.
The procession continued as Matt Prior, who fell disappointedly to a Steyn short ball in the first innings, repeated the mistake and flayed his second ball from Morkel to give Graeme Smith an easy catch jogging back from first slip.
Prior had been dropped first ball after offering a half-chance to Amla close in, but opportunities kept coming and new batsman Stuart Broad was quickly sent on his way to complete Morkel’s devastating burst.
Broad gloved a ball down the leg-side and was given not out by Steve Davis only for South Africa's review to overturn the decision and leave the aspiring all-rounder with a return of 77 runs for the series.
Collingwood, seemingly playing a different game to his colleagues, hammered the same bowler through midwicket for a blistering boundary to go to 49.
He went to a deserved fifty to again underline his great form thanks to a punchy, driven four from Morkel.
Graeme Swann’s presence brought with it a typical surge in the scoring, but his promising innings of 20 from 15 balls was snuffed out by an exemplary Steyn outswinger that was prodded into the hands of AB de Villiers at third slip.
Collingwood provided the one highlight for England when he launched into an astonishing lofted drive from Steyn that sailed majestically over the rope at long-off.
However, his resistance ended in disappointing fashion when he raked Duminy's first-ball long-hop to Morkel at backward square-leg. He nevertheless finished the series as England’s leading run-scorer with 344.
Shortly afterwards, in the over before lunch, the home side inflicted the final blow when Duminy accounted for Ryan Sidebottom, who swished at a full ball only to be bowled, capping the end of a remarkable and captivating series.