Stuart Broad revived memories of his destruction of Australia at Trent Bridge last year as he ripped through South Africa’s top order to secure the match and the series for England at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday. The England quick dismissed the entire South African top order to finish with figures of 6/17 in 12.1 overs. Remarkably the first five of those wickets came while he conceded only one run in six overs and that single run was the result of a dropped catch by Jimmy Anderson in the slips.
His performance sent the Proteas crashing to 83 all out, leaving England to make only 74 for victory which they accomplished for the loss of three wickets for an emphatic seven-wicket win. All three those wickets fell when the match was virtually done and dusted. England thus take a 2-0 series lead into the final Test match at SuperSport Park next Friday and regain the Basil d’Oliveira Trophy which they last won in 2005 under the captaincy of Michael Vaughan.
To complete a singular triumph for captain Alastair Cook he also made his first batting contribution of the series with 43 (70 balls, seven fours). When he was dismissed England needed only three runs for victory. After the Proteas had done well to restrict England to a first innings lead of 10 and then wipe out the deficit without losing a wicket before lunch the afternoon session saw England play near perfect cricket in which their four seamers impressed with their skill levels on a helpful pitch and their fielders snapped up almost all the chances, including two stunning efforts by James Taylor at short leg.
They took eight wickets in the session to settle the match. There can be no doubting the merit of England’s series win as they have dominated from day one with the exception of the last two days at Newlands and have the three leading runs scorers and the two leading wicket-takers. The one bright moment on the final day for the Proteas came from Kagiso Rabada who completed his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket and also showed an ability to stick it out in both innings with the bat.
His 16 in the second innings was the Proteas highest of the innings. The pitch retained its life unto the end and the Proteas were left to wonder what they might have done with a decent first innings lead. It put the partnership of 111 between centurion Joe Root and Ben Stokes into its true perspective.
Root was a strong contender for Man of the Match but in the end it had to go to Broad for turning the match on its head.