Famous victory beckons as Swann strikes for England

South Africa collapse to 76 for 6 after sparkling spinner and Broad capitalise on first-innings lead of 232

England yesterday enjoyed one of the great days of Test cricket. From morning until the curtailed evening, everything went right and by the close of the fourth day of the second Test they needed only four South African wickets to take a crucial lead in this series and were ahead by 156 runs.

Had it been a simulation of how events in a Test match should go for a team seeking victory it could hardly have been more perfect. The tourists took their lead to 232 before declaring with one wicket left – itself always slightly irritating for the opposition – and then made swift and incisive inroads into South Africa's acclaimed top order.

Ian Bell, the much criticised batsman who in some opinions was playing for his Test career, established England's dominant position before Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad (right) dismantled the home side's aspirations of securing a draw on a benign pitch.

Bell made 141, his ninth and most significant Test century. He batted for five hours and was rarely troubled after the first carefully negotiated dozen of the 227 balls he faced. Swann, who has taken to Test cricket as if he was born for it, and Broad, who is vying with him to be the new poster boy of a renaissant English game, each took three wickets as South Africa wilted under the immense pressure of being so far adrift.

Bell recognised what a seminal innings he had played, while Broad and Swann were both prevented from commenting on the virtues of their performance by an England management determined to finish the job but whose protection of their players missed the point. "We'll be all ready and raring to go from ball one on the last day," Bell said. "But it's not the type of pitch where you can chase it, we have to put the ball in the right place and not make things too complicated."

If Bell, who had not scored a hundred for 20 Test innings since July last year against the same opposition at Lord's, was rebuffing much of the criticism which has been levelled at him, Broad was laying a bogey. The last time he bowled at the Kingsmead ground, he was struck for six sixes in an over by India's Yuvraj Singh of India in a Twenty20 match.

It was a performance which not so much blotted out the past as paid no heed to it. In nine overs of deadly accurate, simple bowling, Broad took three wickets for 18. "We actually joked about the six sixes before the game and that sort of thing doesn't faze him at all," Bell said. "Stuart will run in for England all day, he's just got that sort of character. With his height and the length he bowls, he's tricky for any batsman, a bit like Glenn McGrath."

For Swann, it was a normal day at the office. As is the norm he struck in his first over and breached South Africa's defences to the point of utter panic. He put Ashwell Prince's immediate career under threat by having him caught at silly point, bamboozled Hashim Amla with one that turned and finally ensnared the opposition's last hope, their captain, Graeme Smith.

Broad accounted for Jacques Kallis and in successive balls A B De Villiers and J P Duminy. It was highly charged and it put England, against the side that lays claims to being the best in the world, in a wonderful position.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project