NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom: Vernon Philander led a fine all-round bowling effort as South Africa thrashed England by 340 runs in the second Test at Trent Bridge on Monday.
Victory saw the Proteas level the four-match series at 1-1 after they themselves had been well beaten by 211 runs in the first Test at Lord’s.
England, set a mammoth 474 runs for victory, collapsed to 133 all out 40 minutes before tea on the fourth day.
Man-of-the-match Philander took three wickets for 24 runs in 10 overs, including an early double strike.
That gave him five wickets in total in a match where he also made scores of 54 and 42 with the bat.
No England batsman made a fifty in a second innings where former captain Alastair Cook’s 42 was the top score.
The most made by any side to win in the fourth innings of a Test is the West Indies’ 418 for seven against Australia at St John’s in 2003.
But the more immediate task for England on Monday was to see if they could at least keep South Africa in the field.
They failed miserably, the hosts bowled out in 44.2 overs despite South Africa being without Kagiso Rabada after the fast bowler was suspended for swearing at England’s Ben Stokes at Lord’s.
A sign of the difference in batting application between the teams was that South Africa’s first innings 335 lasted 96.2 overs, while England were bowled out twice in 96.1 overs.
“We did our basics a lot better, put England under pressure for longer periods in the game,” South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who did not play at Lord’s following the birth of his first child, told Sky Sports.
Meanwhile a delighted Philander said: “All the senior players put their hand up and made it easy for us.
“Coming into the Test I was a bit cold, but I got my groove going and I’m feeling a lot better.”
For England captain Joe Root this chastening defeat, the hosts’ first loss in eight Tests at Trent Bridge, was in marked contrast to his first match as skipper at Lord’s.
“We weren’t good enough with the bat for the whole game,” he said.
England resumed with Cook and fellow left-handed opener Jennings both unbeaten on nought.
Philander, renowned for his ability to move the ball at a lively fast-medium pace, had a wicket with just his fifth ball on Monday.
South Africa-born Jennings (three) was undone by a nip back delivery that uprooted his off stump.
Gary Ballance, in his third stint of Test cricket and under huge pressure for his place, was then lbw to Philander on review for four.
Philander had taken two for eight in 19 balls, with Root once more coming in after a top-order slump.
Root had made 190 in his first innings as captain at Lord’s and top-scored with 78 in their meagre first innings 205 this match.
But he fell cheaply on Monday, Chris Morris producing an excellent yorker to knock over the Yorkshireman’s off-stump.
Cook’s near two-hour innings ended when he was beaten for pace by a well-directed Morris bouncer and gloved down the legside, where wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock held a fine catch.
It meant Morris had taken two for two in 20 balls, with Cook’s exit the cue for England to lose their last seven wickets for just 61 runs.
Only last year Stokes (258) and Jonny Bairstow (150 not out) shared a stunning partnership of 399 against South Africa at Cape Town.
But their stand on Monday was worth just 12 when Bairstow (16) dragged an intended drive off left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj straight to mid-on.
“I can’t believe I have seen that,” said angry former England captain Michael Vaughan, commentating on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special.
“All you need to do is dangle the carrot and they’ll go for it. Dumb batting! What is he thinking?” Moeen Ali hit six fours in his 27 before he too made a present of his wicket to Maharaj, sweeping the spinner straight to square leg.
Stokes at least gutsed it out for more than an hour while making 18 before he was caught and bowled off a low checked drive by Philander.
England lost their last three wickets on 133, paceman Duanne Olivier – only playing because Rabada was banned – ending the match when he dismissed Mark Wood and James Anderson with successive deliveries.
The series continues at The Oval on July 27. — AFP