England lose number one status to South Africa after series defeat
Despite a fantastic last day offensive from England, they have lost to South Africa in the final test, 2-0 in the series and their top spot in the ICC Test Cricket rankings.
Both team’s first innings went as expected with South Africa taking 309 and England having a six run lead of 315. A big score for Hashim Amla (121), who was dropped twice, in South Africa’s second innings, leaving England chasing 345 to win.
England lost its opening batsmen in Strauss and Cook late on day four in its second innings, which opened the door for South Africa to take the victory on day five. However, a good partnership between Trott and Bairstow stretched the Proteas to work harder in the field.
Day five left a large crowd at Lords, coming in late in the day to watch the entertainment being given in what potentially could have been a victory for the home team. The last day gave everything that test cricket can offer from no ball wickets, dropped catches, great shots and a result that could have gone right to the final ball.
A fantastic performance from Steven Finn who took eight wickets through the game gave England hope, but South African man of the match, Vernon Philander, also took seven wickets to hit right back. As well as his wicket tally, Philander also got runs in the first innings with a 61. It can be seen during this test that South Africa was better on all three fronts compared to England who especially disappointed with its fielding with many dropped catches.
It leaves a lot to be desired for this England team who left out a talisman in Kevin Pietersen for this final test. On the other hand, South Africa looked powerful and clean cut throughout the series and deserve to win. With a test series coming up against India in November, England may be looking to reshuffle a team which looks tired and unmotivated.
Stuart Banfield, cricket correspondent