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SA vs Eng: Plays of the game

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REUTERS

Hashim Amla celebrates reaching his triple century during the first cricket test match against England at the Oval.

The Proteas thumped England by an innings and 12 runs. Here’s a look at the numerous highlights of this historic victory.

* Innings: – Amla was simply monumental. 789 minutes, 529 balls, 35x4 and 311 runs. South Africa’s first Test triple hundred was an achievement of such epic proportions that many in the Proteas team were still in awe of it on Monday after they’d wrapped up a comprehensive victory. Others, as Amla said, may surpass it, but to be the first secures his place in the history books.

* Spell: Steyn with the second new ball just wrought devastation on Monday. There’s something really mean and nasty for opposing batsmen – when he gets a sniff of the opposition’s vulnerability. He enforced his will on proceedings, forcing an error out of Bell, squeezing Broad and then getting Swann caught on the drive. That spell was 4-1-8-3. He finished the match, on a pitch described as docile by many former players here, with figures of 51-13-155-7.

* Catches: There were seven for De Villiers, along with one drop on Monday, some fumbles against the seaming, low-bouncing ball and also out of the rough. Coach Gary Kirsten, though, said he was very satisfied. “It wasn’t easy to keep out there, and he did a very good job, given all the circumstances.”

* Quote: “This has been a hammering. I spoke to some of the (England) players (before the start of play on the fifth day) and they’re not sure how this has happened. Sure they lost to Pakistan in the UAE, but this is at home, and this kind of defeat hasn’t happened to England at home in a long time.” – Former England captain Michael Vaughan speaking on Test Match Special on the BBC. The last time England lost by an innings was also to South Africa, in Johannesburg in 2010. The last time they lost at home by an innings was against Australia at Headingley in 2009.

* Hero: Steyn was superb on Monday. On that pitch, which England bowling coach David Saker described as being “sub-continental”. Steyn found life where England’s quicks simply couldn’t.

* Villain: Prior’s wicket on Monday started the final collapse. It was an injudicious sweep against Tahir when he’d been so disciplined during his 132-minute innings. Ultimately, however, this match turned on the wicket of Kevin Pietersen on the first day. England were ready for him to take over and dominate, but he needed to show far more care than was the case last Thursday. That hook shot which he gloved through to the ‘keeper came two balls before the second new ball was due. England were 250/2. Just imagine if Pietersen was still batting on Friday morning.

Cape Times


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