LONDON – South Africa suffered their first Test defeat at Lord’s in 57 years by going down to England on Sunday.
The Proteas capitulated on the final afternoon of the fourth day of the first Test when they bowled out for 119, handing England – being captained for the first time by Joe Root – a 211-run victory and 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
On a worn pitch that was offering plenty of assistance to the spinners, and with lots of uneven bounce, South Africa’s batsmen failed to show the necessary application.
Set a nigh on impossible 331 to win, the Proteas lost their first three wickets for 25 in 13 overs before tea.
Heino Kuhn (9), stand-in skipper Dean Elgar (2) and JP Duminy (2) all gifted their wickets to the English with some poor strokeplay and decision-making.
After the interval the England spinners, Moeen Ali and Liam Dawson, turned the screws, with the latter removing Hashim Amla with a lovely bit of bowling as he got the ball to spin past the outside edge of Amla’s bat, trapping him plumb in front lbw for 11.
There was a brief bit of respite for the visitors when Quinton de Kock, promoted to No 5, and Temba Bavuma added 36 for the fifth wicket.
But with the ball spinning and bouncing viciously, it was only a matter of time before both were going to get a ball that would lead to their downfall.
De Kock was bowled off his leg for 18 by an effervescent Moeen, who then produced a quicker, flatter delivery that Bavuma tried to pull but missed, and he was bowled for 21.
The South African tail-enders threw their bats around, but before the scheduled close, England finished off the match with a flourish.
Moeen ended with 6/53 to go with his four wickets in the first innings giving him match figures of 10/112.
Along with the 87 runs he scored in England’s first innings, he was an easy choice as Man of the Match.
The defeat brought to an end the Proteas’ excellent record at the “Home of Cricket”, particularly in the last 23 years since readmission. They’d won four of their last five Tests, and last suffered a defeat here in 1960.
The second Test starts at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Friday.
South Africa will have captain Faf du Plessis back for the match – he was having a net at Lord’s on Sunday – while they will have to find a replacement for fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who was suspended after swearing at Ben Stokes in England’s first innings.