By BV Swagath
South Africa held onto a 51-run victory in the Lord’s Test to complete a 2-0 Series win. As a result of this series win, South Africa have now replaced England as the World No.1 Test Team. England went down fighting and almost scared South Africa until the second new ball was taken to wrap up things. The hosts were bowled out for 294 in 82.5 overs.
England dramatically changed the match in their favour through a superb attacking partnership between Matt Prior and Graeme Swann. It was only a run out that could break this terrific partnership which put up 74 runs in just 11 overs! Swann smashed 41 (from 34 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes) before he got run out at the bowling end trying to take a silly run from point.
Matthew Prior, the only hope left for England had two great escapes – first caught off a noball from Morn Morkel and then a close stumping call after getting beaten out of the crease by Imran Tahir. However, Vernon Philander removed Matt Prior with the second new ball by forcing an edge off his backfoot drive to the slips. Prior scored a heroic 73 from 130 balls with 8 fours. In the very next ball, last man Steven Finn edged a full delivery from Philander into the slips. Vernon Philander finished things with 5 for 30 and a match-haul of 7 for 78. He also scored crucial knocks of 61 and 35 to get the Player of the Match award.
The Player of the Series were given to Hashim Amla for South Africa and Matt Prior for England.
Update at Tea on Day 5: South Africa are left to take three more wickets in the final session as England slipped to 221 for 7. The hosts are still far away from the target of 346 and it should be a matter of time before the Proteas bowl them out.
It was a tough session for South Africa as they had to work hard to get three wickets in the afternoon session. The first big breakthrough in the session came early when Jonny Bairstow, after a quick fifty, went back instead of coming forward to a full ball from Imran Tahir. The ball stayed low to beat his defence and hit the off stump. Bairstow scored 54 from 47 balls with 8 fours in a fifth wicket stand of 89 with Trott.
South Africa finally sensed victory when Jonathan Trott’s resistance came to an end in the 52nd over. Dale Steyn, who came back for a new spell, got him out with the very first ball which kicked up out of nowhere to force a well set Jonathan Trott (63 from 159 balls with 7 fours) to edge him to slips. While it was a brute of a delivery from Steyn, it needed a brilliant diving catch from Kallis to his left at second slip to see the exit of Trott.
The Proteas then had to face a bit of heat as Stuart Broad joined Matt Prior to begin a counter-attack. Broad scored a quick 37 (from 42 balls with 2 fours and a six) before he perished top edging a hook shot off a bouncer from Jacques Kallis to fine leg. Englandclosed the post lunch session at 221 for 7 with Prior on 35* along with Swann (12*) at the crease.
Update at Lunch on Day 5: England are staring at defeat after losing two wickets in the morning session on Day 5 of the Lord’s Test. South Africa dominated most of the morning session. However, the last few overs before the break saw Jonny Bairtow hit a flurry of boundaries to score an unbeaten came of 43 from 36 balls (with 7 fours). Bairstow is giving company to the solid looking Jonathan Trott, who has moved onto 57 (from 131 balls with 7 fours). The hosts are hanging in there at 120 for 4 in 40 overs with 226 more runs to score for an unlikely victory.
Resuming the final day at 16/2 in 13 overs, England lost an early wicket in Ian Bell (4), who was caught edging his flashy cut off Vernon Philander to first slip. The next wicket was a bonus for the Proteas as little James Taylor (4) getting run out when Jonathan Trott turned his back at him in a fourth run from deep mid wicket. England slipper to a disastrous 45 for 4 before Bairstow joined Trott to repair the damage till lunch.