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South Africa Defeats England by an Innings in First Test

July 23, 2012

Dale Steyn took five wickets as South Africa beat England by an innings and 12 runs in their opening cricket Test, boosting its chances of taking over the top world ranking.

England was dismissed for 240 in its second innings, on the fifth day at the Oval in London. South Africa had declared on 637-2 in reply to the hosts’ first-innings 385. Man of the match Hashim Amla hit 311 not out for the visitors, Jacques Kallis 182 and captain Graeme Smith 131.

“It’s certainly an extremely proud moment for all of us,” Smith told the post-match ceremony after his team went 1-0 up in a three-game series. “It took us a bit of time to get going. All credit to our bowlers, they finished it off on a really good batting wicket. And I must give credit to Hash, it was an incredible achievement.”

Resuming on 102-4 today, England saw Ravi Bopara bowled by Steyn for 22 as it reached 177-5 at lunch. Matt Prior and Ian Bell batted solidly to put on 86 for the sixth wicket before Imran Tahir made the breakthrough, having Prior caught by Kallis for 40.

Steyn then had Bell caught by Kallis for 55 and scoreless Stuart Broad caught behind by AB de Villiers. That left England on 210-8.

Steyn took his fifth wicket of the innings as Graeme Swann was caught by Alviro Petersen for 7, and Tahir wrapped up the victory by trapping James Anderson (4) leg-before-wicket just before 4 p.m. Tim Bresnan was not out on 20. Steyn finished with 5-56, while Tahir was 3-63.

‘Lot of Pressure’

“I don’t think shocked is the right word,” England captain Andrew Strauss said. “After day one, South Africa played some outstanding cricket and earned the right to get on top, and they didn’t allow us to get back into the game. Losing four wickets last night put us under a lot of pressure today.”

Amla yesterday became the first South African to score a triple century in Test cricket, leaving top-ranked England fighting to avoid defeat.

“I just enjoyed my game and fortunately things fell into place for me,” Amla said. “Batting is all about hanging in there and making as many runs as you can and fortunately this time it went my way.”

South Africa, the No. 3 Test team in the International Cricket Council rankings, could leapfrog England by winning the series, which continues with games at Leeds and at Lord’s in London.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at

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