Proteas prevail on ultimate day
A pulsating last day of the Investec Test Series ended in a 51-run win for South Africa at Lord’s, which earned a 2-0 victory and saw them take over from England at the top of the International Cricket Council rankings.
The hosts began the day needing an improbable 330 with eight wickets left and came mighty close, particularly after tea when a counter-attacking stand between Matt Prior and Graeme Swann threatened to pull off a stunning triumph.
However, Swann was run out for 41 to end an alliance of 74 in 66 balls. Fittingly, man of the match Vernon Philander completed the job by having Prior and Steven Finn caught at slip from consecutive deliveries - the former for 73 - to earn figures of 5-30 from 14.5 overs.
Having lost Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss lbw to Philander yesterday evening, England needed a wicketless first hour. Yet overcast conditions favoured the bowlers and Philander had Ian Bell caught at slip before a mix-up between Jonathan Trott and James Taylor saw the latter run out.
Jonny Bairstow launched a recovery by dominating a partnership of 89 with Trott as the sun broke through. But Imran Tahir bowled Bairstow, who hit 95 in the first innings, for a 47-ball 54 and Dale Steyn had Trott brilliantly caught at second slip by Jacques Kallis for 63.
Stuart Broad swung this topsey-turvey game back towards England with a swift 37 until he top-edged a hook off Kallis. Swann and Prior then gave the tourists a fright and, after the former fell, Prior was reprieved by a Morne Morkel no-ball. He could not take advantage and Philander, who made 96 runs in the game, sparked wild celebrations with 20.1 overs to go.
They were a fitting reward for victory in a series the Proteas have had the better of, starting with an innings-win at the Kia Oval followed by a draw at Headingley Carnegie where they may have won without rain causing overs to be lost.
England, who themselves could have prevailed on a similarly exciting final day in Leeds, must take credit for going for victory today and coming so close. They had been top of the ICC table for two days short of a year and now sit second.
5pm - WICKET! Finn c Kallis b Philander 0; Eng 294ao - SOUTH AFRICA WIN TEST BY 51 RUNS AND SERIES 2-0 - Finn edges his first ball to second slip and South Africa form a delighted huddle. They have won the series and will take over from England at the top of the Test rankings. Although England have lost, their players and fans will not forget this incredible game.
4:58pm - WICKET! Prior c Smith b Philander 73; Eng 294/9 - The right-hander gets a thin edge and Smith takes a fine catch low to his left. Prior gets a standing ovation but South Africa are firm favourites now.
4:56pm - Vernon Philander replaces Tahir and swings one back into Anderson's pads. The lbw appeal is turned down and the Proteas do not review with Hawkeye showing the ball was going down leg.
4:50pm - The new ball is taken by Steyn from the Pavilion End and Prior guides him through point for four. England need 53 more now.
4:43pm - With 60 runs needed, the new ball is due but South Africa continue with the old one for another Tahir over. Prior misses an attempted big hit and AB de Villiers breaks the stumps as the right-hander tries to ground his back foot. After prolonged replays prove inconclusive, Prior is given not out.
4:36pm - Amazing scenes here. Prior, on 67, holes out to Duminy, running to his right at deep point. However, as Prior walks off, the third umpire checks for a no-ball and finds Morkel has over-stepped. The batsmen crossed although Prior was not awarded a run, leaving James Anderson on strike.
4:31pm - WICKET! Swann run out 41; Eng 282/8 - Swann plays Tahir to backward point and hesitates in setting off for a single. JP Duminy throws to the bowler who takes the ball a metre wide of the stumps and does well to throw the ball onto the them with Swann inches short. England need 64 with two wickets left.
4:27pm - Prior gets away with one as he narrowly clears Dale Steyn at mid-on en route to another four off Morkel.
4:24pm - Prior sweeps Tahir for another four as eight come from the over. Graeme Smith turns to Morne Morkel from the Pavilion End.
4:20pm - Swann leans back and pulls Kallis for six to herald a rapid half-century alliance from 49 balls. The right-hander then produces a textbook cover-drive for four.
4:17pm - FIFTY! Prior (107b 5x4 0x6) - Swann advances to Tahir and lifts him for six over midwicket, leaving 100 to win. Swann’s swept single makes it 99 and Prior then twice reverse-sweeps fours to bring up England’s 250 and his half-century as 15 come from the over to cheers throughout from the crowd.
4:13pm - Good running as Prior scampers back for two to the deep square-leg fielder from the last ball of Kallis’ over.
4:10pm - Prior powerfully pulls four off Tahir, who responds by beating the wicketkeeper-batsman’s outside edge. Tahir has an lbw appeal against Swann turned down but South Africa do not use their last review.
4:05pm - Graeme Swann pulls Jacques Kallis to square-leg and then fine-leg for back-to-back fours. The run-rate is no problem to England. It is just the wickets they have left.
4pm - Imran Tahir, who bowled unchanged from the Nursery End in the afternoon session, continues with a maiden to Matt Prior, who looked to attack balls pitching outside leg stump.
3:42pm - TEA: Eng 225/7; Prior 34, Swann 12 - Graeme Swann audaciously reverse-sweeps his second ball, from Tahir, for four and then guides Kallis to the vacant third-man rope. England need 125 for a famous victory. The second new ball is due in 10 overs.
3:29pm - WICKET! Broad c Amla b Kallis 37; Eng 208/7 - The left-hander top-edges a hook and Amla shows a safe pair of hands coming in from fine-leg. An entertaining 62-run stand ends and perhaps England’s hopes do too.
3:21pm - Prior plays Kallis, who has taken over from Morkel, off the back foot up the hill for three to take England past 200, which is greeted by cheers from the crowd.
3:14pm - Broad slices Morkel over point for two, bringing up the fifty partnership with Prior which has given England faint hope of victory. Broad has dominated the stand with 35 runs.
3:06pm - Broad gets under a cut off Morkel. Duminy, running from point, almost gets close enough to go for a catch. The crowd try to get a Mexican Wave going.
3:02pm - Morkel has replaced Steyn at the Pavilion End and goes round the wicket to Broad who, in the next over, slog-sweeps Tahir with JP Duminy doing well to cut off a boundary.
2:51pm - Prior opens the face to guide Steyn for four past the two slips.
2:47pm - Broad powerfully slog-sweeps Tahir into Amla’s helmet at short-leg. The ball loops in the air and wicketkeeper AB de Villiers dives in vain hope of taking a catch that would not have dismissed the batsman due to the ball striking the helmet.
2:37pm - Prior reverse-sweeps Tahir for his first boundary and drinks follow the end of the over.
2:33pm - Broad top-edges a pull off Steyn for a streaky four to fine-leg and then produces a commanding pull for six into the Grandstand.
2:28pm - Tahir goes round the wicket to the left-handed Broad, who gets an inside-edge that flies past the diving Hashim Amla at short-leg.
2:21pm - WICKET! Trott c Kallis b Steyn 63: End 146/6 - Steyn succeeds Philander and, with his first ball, draws an edge that Jacques Kallis does brilliantly to hold diving high to his left at second slip. With Trott gone, things are looking bleak for England. Stuart Broad gets off the mark with a four to third-man that heralds the 150.
2:14pm - Tahir delivers a maiden to Prior, who is then beaten by another fine ball from Philander. Trott and Prior are rotating the strike, but the run rate has dropped since Bairstow fell.
2:05pm - The sun is shining brightly now and the floodlights have been turned off. Philander strikes Trott high on the front pad and, when his lbw appeal is turned down, wants to review but his captain Graeme Smith is not interested. Hawkeye shows the ball going over leg stump and Philander completes a maiden.
1:56pm - Philander bowls a maiden to Trott and Tahir continues round the wicket with another run-less over to Prior.
1:49pm - WICKET! Bairstow b Tahir 54; Eng 134/5 - The leg-spinner goes round the wicket and Bairstow fatally plays back to a full ball that strikes his off stump. Matt Prior, possibly England’s last victory hope, comes to the wicket.
1:44pm - FIFTY! Bairstow (41b 8x4 0x6) - Vernon Philander begins the afternoon session from the Pavilion End and has an lbw shout against Jonathan Trott turned down. Bairstow then flicks to fine-leg for four to reach a deserved half-century from just 41 deliveries.
1:39pm - Imran Tahir continues from the Nursery End with the cloud now broken by some blue sky but the floodlights still on.
1pm - LUNCH: Eng 120/4; Trott 57 Bairstow 43 - Trott guides Morkel for four at a vacant third-man boundary shortly before lunch is taken. England need 226 more in 63 overs. Can they do it?
12:55pm - FIFTY! Trott (126b 6x4 0x6) - The right-hander nudges Tahir for two to backward point to reach a half-century. The leg-spinner's googly then beats Trott’s bat with the ball rebounding off pad to slip.
12:44pm - Trott opens the face to Morkel for a boundary that brings up England’s hundred. The hosts are giving themselves an outside chance here.
12:40pm - Imran Tahir replaces Kallis and Bairstow hits the leg-spinner down the ground for a one-bounce four. He then sweeps him to the boundary to bring up the fifty partnership of which he has made 36.
12:34pm - REVIEW - Following Kallis’ maiden to Trott, Morkel replaces Steyn and has an lbw appeal against Bairstow turned down. South Africa review but Hawkeye shows the ball only clipping leg stump so the on-field decision stands. He then pulls for four.
12:24pm - Bairstow edges Styen comfortably short of Smith and Kallis respectively at first and second slip and gets four runs. The right-hander then produces a textbook straight-driven boundary.
12:20pm - Trott aerially drives Kallis just short of Hashim Amla, who fields diving to his left at point.
12:17pm - Bairstow drives Steyn powerfully to mid-off where Morkel misfields to allow the batsman his first four. The right-hander then clips Steyn off his pads to the midwicket rope.
12:12pm - DROPPED CATCH - Trott drives Kallis square on the off side for four and attempts to repeat the shot, edging to the right of third slip where Jacques Rudolph cannot hold on one-handed.
12:06pm - Jonny Bairstow gets off the mark with a thick edge behind square on the off side for three off Steyn, who Trott then guides over the slips for four to bring up England’s fifty.
11:58am - WICKET! Taylor run out 4; Eng 42/3 - Trott flicks Steyn towards the midwicket rope and Taylor wants to come back for a fourth run, but Trott sends him back and the youngster is comfortably run out. England are in deep trouble now.
11:49am - After Steyn bowls a second maiden to Trott, Jacques Kallis replaces Philander at the Nursery End and soon beats Taylor with a sublime away-swinger.
11:44am - Philander draws a thick edge from Taylor, but it falls short of third slip
11:40am - Dale Steyn, who has replaced Morkel, bowls one at Trott’s hip and South Africa appeal loudly after the ball is taken by de Villiers down leg. They do not review and replays show it just brushed his thigh pad.
11:33am - Philander gets more exaggerated swing, beating Trott’s outside edge and veering the ball towards first slip. He takes a quick single later in the over.
11:30am - The crowd is now quite healthy. Just the areas of the ground for MCC members are fairly empty, with the exception of the pavilion.
11:26am - New batsman James Taylor gets going with two through the covers. Trott keeps ticking with three through midwicket off Morkel.
11:22am - WICKET! Bell c Smith b Philander 4; SA 34/3 - The right-hander attempts to drive off the back foot and edges to first slip where Smith initially fumbles but then holds on.
11:18am - Trott plays and misses with a cut at Morkel but then connects with repeat effort for an emphatic four. With England needing to score at almost four an over, the number three is looking to take advantage of every scoring opportunity.
11:12am - Trott slashes at Philander and edges just over third slip for four, the first boundary of the innings at the start of the 17th over.
11:11am - Morkel twice consecutively beats Trott, who then takes a quick single to keep the strike for the next over.
11:03am - Vernon Philander starts from the opposite end to which he had Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss lbw from yesterday evening. Jonathan Trott takes two to cover for the day's first runs. Philander swings one past Trott’s outside edge which also beats wicketkeeper AB de Villiers for a bye. With Bell facing, the same happens next ball but this time it goes for four byes.
10:58am - Morne Morkel begins, a couple of minutes before 11am, from the Pavilion End with a maiden to Ian Bell.
10:55pm - It is sufficiently gloomy for the floodlights to be turned on. There is a modest crowd in at present but others may join them. If you are in the vicinity, tickets are £20 for adults, £10 for over-65s and free for under-16s. They must be paid for in cash.
10:45am - I am afraid to say the Proteas' bowlers may well be licking their lips this morning. It is very overcast at Lord's at the moment, unlike the last couple of days when the sunshine has been glorious. That should make an already-crucial morning session all the more important.
10:30am - Good morning and welcome to Lord’s for the last day of the Investec Test Series between England and South Africa. The hosts, who need 330 more to win with eight wickets left, require victory to share the rubber and prevent the Proteas taking over from them at the top of the International Cricket Council rankings.