Stuart Broad strikes South Africa in the afternoon, England clinch series win with 7-wicket win
It was all decided in one single session which went by at the speed of lightning, one which was lorded over by Stuart Broad.
The afternoon session on the third day of the 3rd Test at the Wanderers was stage to one of Stuart Broad’s typical giant-killing spells, reducing South Africa to rubble from what had seemed like a comfortable position. Like he had turned up unexpectedly to slew Australia in Trent Bridge in 2015, Broad bowled an unplayable spell during which he conceded one run and took five wickets.
After England’s tail had been cleaned up in the morning session on Day 3, mainly on the strength of a Kagiso Rabada 5-wicket haul, the scales had been balanced with England only 10 runs ahead on first innings scores. Johnny Bairstow had added 45 useful runs with some correct batting, but nobody was prepared for the imminent Broad-storm.
Not even after lunch, when South Africa’s opener went in to bat with a lead of 6 runs with all 10 wickets intact.
Bowling at perfect rythm, Broad cleaned up the wickets of Dean Elgar, Stian van Zyl, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma in a single spell, after which hurricane the Proteas score read 40/5.
Ben Stokes, the tales of whose batting exploits in this series have reached far and wide already, generated considerable swing in his spell of 2/24 as well, strengthening his claim of being the most promising all-rounder of recent times.
Kagiso Rabada’s 16 was ironically the highest score from the home side as they capitulated for 83, only 4 runs more than their worst Test score since apartheid. Faf du Plessis, who had somehow survived Broad’s wrath before tea, also fell to him for 14 shortly after resumption for the final session of the day.
England needed to reach a target of 74 to clinch the 3rd Test and the series, and it was suddenly clear that the Wanderers Test was another match to get over inside three days. The clouds over Africa keep getting darker.
It looked as if England would race to a 10-wicket win with Alastair Cook and Alex Hales at the crease, but late wickets by Dean Elgar and Chris Morris meant that Joe Root and James Taylor needed to come out to take England to victory.
England have now claimed the Basil d’Oliviera Trophy with one match to spare. South Africa's winless streak in Tests now extends to nine games. The hosts last emerged triumphant against West Indies at Cape Town.
Brief Scores – England 74/3 (Cook 43, Hales 18, Elgar 2/10) and 323 (Root 110, Bairstow 45) beat South Africa 83 (Rabada 16, Elgar 15, Broad 6/17, Stokes 2/24) and 313 by 7 wickets