Team effort grinds hosts into the dirt

South Africa 343 & 133 England 574-9 dec (Eng won by an innings and 98 runs): Fine performances by Bell and Cook exemplify touring side's united approach

Occasionally, there comes along an immaculate exhibition. Had a panel of experts been asked to sit in judgement and award marks for England's performance in the second Test against South Africa, only those for whom life is always a bowl of rotten tomatoes could have gone below the maximum.

It was the sort of gloriously efficient display that cricketers perpetually imagine and prepare for but which is inevitably spoilt as early as the toss. Not this time. From the first morning of the match – except at the toss, as it happened, which they were probably grateful to lose – England were in control of affairs.

They duly completed victory by an innings and 98 runs yesterday barely an hour into the fifth day when Graeme Swann speared one through Dale Steyn's defences to win a straightforward lbw verdict. It was all that Swann and his England team-mates deserved. If they were assisted in their endeavours by a brittle performance from South Africa, hesitant and imprecise by turns, it was also propelled by a collective effort.

Swann finished with 5 for 54 from 21 overs of off-spin which were never less than searching and were usually a good deal more. After his four first-innings wickets he was a shoo-in for his second successive man-of- the-match award and the half an hour of gleeful stand-up which always follows.

Stuart Broad ended with 4 for 43 and had six wickets in the match. This joint effort was something of a reprise for the Swann-Broad duo. At The Oval last August it was they who had brought Australia to their knees. But this whole performance was altogether more clinical, unmatched by anything that England have achieved overseas in recent years. It was their first Test win in Durban since 1964, when they won by an innings and 104 runs.

This England are rapidly becoming greater than the sum of their parts, down almost entirely to the ethos forged by the leadership axis of captain, Andrew Strauss, and coach, Andy Flower. If this was almost a perfectly executed performance, they are not yet a perfect team.

As they had last summer against Australia, England assembled this demonstration after getting out of the first Test with a draw by the skin of their teeth. One more wicket at Centurion last week and they would have been in much different order here.

But their ability to regroup, to continue to trust in each other – and that means recognising the frailties as well as the strengths – has been a feature of this team under Strauss and Flower. It is an essential component which is often missing.

Swann has taken 54 Test wickets in 2009, more than any England spinner before him. Broad has taken 47 wickets and they are second and third in the world list, behind only Mitchell Johnson, of Australia, who has 63. Between them, Swann and Broad have taken 50.5 per cent of England's wickets this year.

While Strauss was at pains to point out yesterday that everybody in the team had to perform properly for the result that was achieved at Kingsmead – and they did – it was always likely to be the Swann and Broad show yesterday. So it proved.

Swann, sticking to routine, struck in his first over. He had just had Morne Morkel put down by Strauss at slip but then forced him on the back foot with something quicker and won an lbw appeal. Broad had Mark Boucher caught down the leg side off one that lifted although it took a review, requested by England, to confirm that Boucher had indeed gloved it.

For reasons known only to himself Swann declined to ask for a review of his first lbw appeal against Steyn – replays showed the ball would have done serious damage to the middle of the leg stump – and it seemed that his fourth haul of five wickets might elude him.

When Jimmy Anderson was recalled and had the cheekily resistant Paul Harris caught at mid-on only one wicket was left to fall. Swann had to act quickly and did so with another awkwardly drifting ball to Steyn that always seemed likely to pierce the defences.

On the first morning of this match, England had South Africa reeling at 10 for 2 after incisive opening spells from Anderson and Graham Onions. By the afternoon they made further, significant breaches through Swann, and South Africa were 170 for 5.

Always, England looked authoritative, a point reinforced when they had to bat following an irksome 10th-wicket stand of 58 by the home side. Strauss shot out of the blocks and then England's most vulnerable batsman, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, both made centuries.

If they were of contrasting vintage, they were both notable for the casting aside of personal demons which was required. These innings were of considerable importance to the idea of England as a team. The two men who have perhaps contributed least lately contributed most. Somehow it encapsulated what Strauss's England are about.

Key moments: How the action unfolded on day five at Kingsmead

9.32am: Captain relieved

In the day's second over, Morne Morkel is dropped by Andrew Strauss at slip off Graeme Swann but is leg before to the next ball, sparing the captain's blushes.

10.04am: Review upheld

England ask for a review of a caught behind decision against Mark Boucher and have their appeal upheld. A glove was discernibly involved.

11.10am: Silly spinner

Swann, who has previous, declines to ask for a review of a rejected lbw appeal against Dale Steyn. Replays show the ball was hitting leg stump halfway up.

11.36am: Harris falls

Harris is out to the recalled Anderson.

11.42am: Swann seals it

It is all over, Steyn is lbw, the 10th of the match. England have their first win at Kingsmead for 45 years and Swann has his fourth five-wicket return in a year.

Durban scoreboard

Durban (Final day of five); England win by an innings and 98 runs; South Africa won toss

South Africa: First Innings 343 (Smith 75, Kallis 75, de Villiers 50, Swann 4-110).

England: First Innings 574 dec (Bell 140, A N Cook 118, Collingwood 91, Prior 60, Strauss 54)

South Africa: Second Innings (Overnight: 76-6)

†M V Boucher c Prior b Broad 29 65 balls 3 fours

M Morkel lbw b Swann 15 40 balls 3 fours

P L Harris c Broad b Anderson 36 50 balls 5 fours

D W Steyn lbw b Swann 3 25 balls

M Ntini not out 1 3 balls

Total (50 overs)133

Fall: 1-27; 2-37; 3-40; 4-44; 5-44; 6-50; 7-86; 8-108; 9-129.

Bowling: Anderson 8-2-24-1; Onions 4-1-12-0; Swann 21-3-54-5; Broad 17-3-43-4.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) & A M Saheba (India).

TV replay umpire: S J Davis (Aus).

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week