England thrash Proteas in first Test

30 December 2015

England players celebrate // Getty Images


England wrapped up the opening Test against South Africa early on day five

India v South Africa Tests, First Test


England have moved swiftly to a big win over Test cricket's top-ranked team, sweeping aside South Africa's last six batsmen in a 241-run victory in the first test.

Spinner Moeen Ali trapped AB de Villiers lbw for 37 in the first over of the last day, and England accounted for South Africa's struggling batting lineup for 174 in its second innings.

England took six wickets for only 38 runs in 24 overs on Wednesday.

Chasing a first series win over South Africa in more than a decade, England took a morale-boosting lead in the four-match series, with the second test in Cape Town to follow on Saturday.

England set the Proteas an almost unreachable target of 416 to win, or four-and-a-half sessions to survive for a draw. South Africa never came close.

"Not a good Christmas, that's for sure," South Africa coach Russell Domingo said.

"We didn't play half as well as we can."

Quick bowler Steven Finn finished with 4-42 and Ali 3-47 in the second innings to complete England's dominance in Durban. Ali had seven wickets in the match.

England's batting was also far superior, making 303 and 326 compared to South Africa's two poor totals of 214 and 174. England's significant victory was only its second win in its last 16 tests away from home, and places it perfectly for a strong showing in the second match of a four-test series in just three days.

"Let's not get too carried away, but it would be great if we could get our noses ahead in that game and continue to put pressure on South Africa," Alastair Cook said.

The speed with which England dispensed with the Proteas on Wednesday morning was astonishing, and underlined the doubts hanging over the world's No. 1 team, which has struggled through most of 2015 and will lose its top ranking if it loses this series.

England's big win in Durban had repercussions beyond just this match, with South Africa likely to lose top fast bowler Dale Steyn to a shoulder injury for the Cape Town test and the makeup of the rest of the team generally unwell.

De Villiers, South Africa's best player, said this week that he is struggling with fatigue, the Proteas' batsmen are badly out of form and were exposed again by England, and there are murmurs of unrest in the squad because of selection policies.

England had been ahead for most of the game after making 303 in its first innings and bowling South Africa out for 214, but the tourists stamped a big early mark on the series in a ruthless spell on Wednesday morning.

Top Stories


Gritty Wade leads Tigers' final charge

Aussies vow to maintain aggression

Wade runs continue to flow in Shield final

Kohli to snub Afghan Test for county stint