England registered a dominating nine-wicket win over South Africa on Day 5 of the low-scoring third and final Test match, completing a come-from-behind 2-1 series win, here on Monday.
Despite the loss, South Africa are still second on the World Test Championship 2021-23 standings with a point percentage of 60 but the gap between them and the rest of the chasing pack in Sri Lanka (53.33 percent), India (52.08 pc), Pakistan (51.85 pc) and West Indies (50 pc) is now diminishing. Australia sit comfortably on top with 70 pc.
England, who not too long ago were languishing at the bottom of the standings, continue their rise in the WTC23 table. They maintain their stranglehold of the seventh spot with 38.59 percent and are starting to build some distance from New Zealand (25.93 pc) and Bangladesh (13.33 pc).
Needing all of 33 runs to win, it took England less than 30 minutes on day five to wrap up the Test and series victory.
Kagiso Rabada got the only wicket of the innings with the scalp of Alex Lees, who missed out on a half-century by 11 runs. The pacer could have had another wicket in the first over of the day but Kyle Verreynne dropped a regulation catch to let Zak Crawley off the hook. Crawley hit the winning runs and finished the game off in style with a four.
Notably, only 151.3 overs were bowled in the game, making it the fourth-shortest men’s Test match in history and the shortest since 1912. It wasn’t until the third day of the Test match that there was some action on the field — the first day was washed out due to rain and the second day was suspended due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
However, all it took was six sessions and 25-odd minutes for England to get a result in the match. The pacers led the way for the hosts in the first innings where South Africa were knocked over for 118. Ollie Robinson secured his fifth five-for in Tests and was well supported by Stuart Broad’s four-wicket haul.
It looked like England were on course to obtain a huge first innings lead but South Africa fought back well through Marco Jansen (5/35) and Kagiso Rabada (4/81) to restrict the lead to just 40.
The Proteas looked a lot more assured in their second innings before the wicket of Dean Elgar triggered a massive collapse. South Africa, who at one point were 70/1, were bowled out for just 169.
Chasing 130, Zak Crawley got England off to a flier with a 36-ball fifty and put the hosts on the verge of wrapping up the Test in two days before bad light forced for early stumps to be called on day four with the home side just 33 runs away from a win.
Brief scores: England 158 & 130/1 (Zak Crawley 69 not out, Alex Lees 39; Kagiso Rabada 1-57) beat South Africa 110 and 169 by 9 wickets