England folded in an inglorious heap on the fourth afternoon, losing a Test here for the first time in 10 years to leave the four-match Test series with South Africa tied at one match apiece.
Redemption belonged to South Africa after they’d been smashed at Lord’s where an error-strewn performance saw the team lambasted by many commentators both here and at home.
They bounced back here beating England by 340 runs with the bowlers producing a magnificent effort on the fourth day.
While there’d been plenty of talk from the English players about batting out six sessions, ultimately they could barely last two.
Resuming after lunch on 79/4, England lost Jonny Bairstow to the ninth ball of the session when he casually lofted left arm spinner Keshav Maharaj to Chris Morris at mid-on after scoring 16.
Bairstow’s dismissal was symptomatic of England’s batting problems in this match, in that they are far too attacking and are not willing to bat time and absorb pressure against the bowlers.
There was a brief flurry of runs from Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali - the latter hitting Maharaj for three consecutive boundaries - but then Moeen, having survived a caught behind against Maharaj after reviewing, swept the spinner straight to Heino Kuhn at square leg.
Stuart Broad played a similar stroke, the ball flying further to Morne Morkel on the deep backward square leg boundary.
In between Stokes, who’d fought his own attacking instincts, fell to a magnificent caught and bowled by Vernon Philander. The big English all-rounder was standing way out of his crease and pushed the ball firmly back to the bowler, who stooped low in his follow through and made an incredibly difficult chance look ridiculously easy.
England lost their last three wickets for no runs in four balls with Duanne Olivier returning after struggling in the morning to wrap up the match when he removed Mark Wood and James Anderson with consecutive deliveries.
England were shot out for 133 in just 44.2 overs and in combination with the first innings efforts meant they batted for a total of 96.1 overs in the entire match.
The win was South Africa’s first at Trent Bridge since Graeme and Peter Pollock inspired a famous triumph here in 1965. Given Graeme Pollock’s remarks about transformation and South Africa being a “middle of the road Test team,” the irony will not have been lost for many watchers in South Africa.
The players will have 10 days off before the series resumes at The Oval on July 27. Some members of the coaching staff will return home for a few days as will Hashim Amla to visit his family.