TELFORD VICE at Old Trafford
SOUTH Africa’s marathon tour of England ended at on Monday in what has become, for them, the unhappy familiarity of defeat.
The visitors, who played their first match here on May 19, lost the one-day and T20 series, and failed to escape the group stage of the Champions Trophy.
On Monday the test series, too, was tossed onto the scrapheap — England cleaned them up with a day to spare in the fourth match of the series to complete a 3-1 drubbing.
South Africa, who needed 380 to win, were dismissed for 202 to go down by 177 runs with Moeen Ali claiming 5/69.
The off-spinner took all of his wickets in the space of 40 of his deliveries, his bowling the major factor in South Africa’s death rattle of seven wickets for 39 runs.
The visitors crashed to 40/3 at lunch, lost three more wickets in less than five overs before tea, and their last four inside six overs of the third session.
South Africa needed 17 balls of the day’s play to end England’s second innings, which resumed on 224/8, at 243.
Morne Morkel claimed both wickets, Stuart Broad caught at point and James Anderson at short leg, to finish with 4/41.
But even in that shard of light there was gloom: the last time South Africa did not bowl on a day in the series was the first day of the second test at Trent Bridge.
It took England 22 balls to open the first crack in the visitors’ defence: Broad found Dean Elgar’s edge and the catch flew to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
The struggling Heino Kuhn, his left hamstring heavily strapped and his movement restricted, had insult added to his injury when England’s review after Anderson’s appeal for his wicket — for caught behind — was unsuccessful.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful, but England have wasted a review,” Michael Vaughan said on Test Match Special.
“I mean, it’s Heino Kuhn.”
Four overs later Kuhn proved Vaughan’s point when he steered Anderson to first slip.
What became the last ball before lunch was ruled, with technology’s help, to have grazed Temba Bavuma’s outside edge and earned a wicket, caught behind, for Toby Roland-Jones.
For all but the last 29 balls of the 36 overs bowled after lunch, South Africa had reasons to be not quite cheerful but not entirely despondent.
South Africa were 163/3, or still a long way from victory or even safety but significantly better off they had been at lunch.
Faf du Plessis had joined Hashim Amla, and stability came with him. But, with the partnership worth 123, Moeen trapped Amla in front for 83.
In his next over Moeen induced a rash drive from Quinton de Kock that was caught in the slips.
Theunis de Bruyn, static in the crease, edged the last ball of the over into the cordon to complete a raid by Moeen that saw him take 3/5 in 11 deliveries.
Du Plessis went for 60 an ominous 13 balls after tea, caught behind off Anderson driving at a wide one, to reduce South Africa to 183/7.
And that was just about that. Thirty-four balls later South Africa were all out and their long race was run, and lost.