The first Test was over, done dusted and the ceremonials completed before lunch on the final day. If England expected resistance from a team that at the very last had batted through 140 odd overs to try and save their previous match, then they found little.
The totemistic AB de Villiers, on whom all South African batting hopes always seems to rest, only lasted as far as the third ball of the day, and beyond that it was embarrassingly processional. Asked to make 416 to win, and 85 for one at one stage, South Africa were all out for 174, to lose by 241 runs, a huge margin given the state of the pitch.
The teams now go to Cape Town for the second Test which starts at Newlands on 2 January, aware that England won their previous Test at Durban by an innings and then struggled to cling on to a drawn series. This South African team is not a patch on that one however, their No1 status telling more about the fickleness of the rankings than their current ability.
To Stuart Broad went the final wicket, after 100 minutes of play, Morne Morkel lbw to a ball slanted in at him from round the wicket. It was reviewed, as it might as well have been, but not with any great degree of conviction. After a brilliant bowling performance from him in the first innings, it was Broad’s only wicket of the second, the spoils instead going to Steve Finn, who finished with 4 for 42 to complete a fine comeback from injury, and Moeen, who took 3 for 47 and 7-116 in the match. There was a wicket apiece for Ben Stokes and for the persevering Chris Woakes, and, as a counterpoint to his mistake the previous evening, a stumping for Jonny Bairstow, the first by an England keeper in the three years since they were in India.
The day could not have started better with de Villiers shuffling on to the back foot against Moeen, round the wicket, and the ball turning inside his bat to hit him in front. The inevitable review by the batsman was in vain and de Villiers had gone without adding to his overnight 37.
Immediately without any addition to the score, Temba Bavuma advanced uncertainly down the pitch to the off-spinner and was beaten on the outside, Bairstow whipping off the bails. When the nightwatchman Dale Steyn had his off stump extracted from the ground by Finn, and Kyle Abbott was lbw to Moeen in similar fashion to de Villiers, South Africa had lost five wickets for seven runs, the stuffing knocked right out of them.
Moeen’s offspinning counterpart Dane Piedt hung in for 27 scoreless balls before he edged Woakes onto his pad and was caught at short leg. Morkel’s dismissal left JP Duminy, who had unfurled two boundaries through extra cover and straight back past a flagging Finn, unbeaten on 26.