England v South Africa: Dale Steyn sends England to innings defeat

 

First Test, day five, The Oval

South Africa 637-2 dec beat England 385 & 240 by an innings and 12 runs

Scorecard

Dale Steyn took five wickets as South Africa swept to an innings-and-12-run win in the first Test at The Kia Oval.

The pace bowler claimed 5-56 and Imran Tahir 3-63 to bowl England out for 240 shortly before tea on the final day.

Ian Bell's defiant 55 from 220 balls and Matt Prior's 40 failed to prevent England slipping to a first Test defeat at home since 2010.

Once they fell within six overs of each other, England were quickly finished off by a ruthless South Africa side.

Analysis

"You must sell your wicket dear when you are trying to save a Test. England need to be more switched on at Headingley because, ultimately, their success or failure will come down to the application of their batsmen."

Victory for South Africa - the last side to inflict an innings defeat on England, in early 2010 - capped a remarkable turnaround in fortunes after the hosts closed the first day on 267-3.

Steyn did the damage on Monday, removing Ravi Bopara half an hour into the day before dismissing Bell, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann to give him seven wickets in the match.

With Bell and Prior at the crease, confidence grew that England could achieve the unlikely and save the Test, the first in a three-match series that will decide the best team in the world.

Bell was particularly stoic, reining in any attacking instincts on his way to a hard-working half-century.

His steadying influence helped England recover from the early blow of losing the under-pressure Bopara, who followed up his first-innings duck by dragging a back-footed force off Steyn on to his stumps.

The ugly nature of the dismissal seemed to focus Bell and Prior on the task at hand and they knuckled down for the remainder of the morning session, taking the sting out of the seamers and using their feet to negate any turn from leg-spinner Tahir.

Bell did get a faint edge on one Tahir delivery, but stand-in wicketkeeper AB de Villiers spilled the chance, helping England reach lunch without further alarm.

However, Prior's departure sparked a collapse that saw England lose their last five wickets for 37 runs.

The sweep shot was redundant until Prior attempted it against Tahir, succeeding only in gloving the ball to Jacques Kallis at first slip.

The importance of the wicket was not lost on South Africa, who took the new ball four overs later and set about finishing off England's tail.

Steyn, bowling with great hostility, drew Bell into playing at a wide one that found Kallis at second slip.

England v South Africa

19-23 July: First Test, The Oval - South Africa won by an innings and 12 runs

2-6 August: Second Test, Headingley

16-20 August: Third Test, Lord's

Broad was caught down the leg side after South Africa successfully reviewed a not-out decision, Swann drove tamely to extra-cover and James Anderson was trapped in front by Tahir.

The second match of the series starts at Headingley on 2 August, with South Africa knowing a victory will see them overtake England as the world's leading Test team.