South Africa inflicted England’s first defeat of the ‘Bazball’ era as they won the first Test at Lord’s by a crushing innings and 12 runs with more than two days to spare on Friday.
England were dismissed for 149 in their second innings before tea on the third day, with the Proteas effectively winning the game in six sessions after most of Wednesday’s first day was lost to rain.
Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj struck twice before fast bowler Anrich Nortje followed up with a superb spell of three wickets for no runs in 10 balls as the Proteas, leaders of the World Test Championship table, took a 1-0 lead in a three-match series.
England had won all four of their previous Tests under a new leadership of captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, after whom ‘Bazball’ is named.
Each of those wins, however, came after batting aggressively in the fourth innings, rather than having to set a total and before this match South Africa captain Dean Elgar questioned whether a policy of all-out attack would work against his formidable bowling line-up.
Maharaj, who didn’t bowl at all in England’s meagre first innings 165, sparked Saturday’s slump by removing Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope during a remarkable pre-lunch spell of 2-6 in three overs
Maharaj, brought on for the seventh over in a tactical coup by Elgar, struck with just his third ball when he had Crawley plumb lbw for 13 after the struggling opener missed a sweep.
Pope, whose 73 was the lone fifty of England’s first innings, was then lbw to Maharaj off the last ball of the session as he looked to work the ball legside, although it needed a South Africa review to overturn an original not out decision.
England, 38-2 at lunch, were 57-3 soon afterwards when Lungi Ngidi, the only one of South Africa’s four quicks not to take a wicket in the first innings, had star batsman Joe Root caught in the slips by Aiden Markram for just six with a ball that angled in and move down the Lord’s slope.
Jonny Bairstow came into this match having scored four hundreds in as many Tests this season, whereas South Africa have managed just four between them in their last 11 matches.
However, he became Nortje’s first wicket of the innings, caught behind for 18, the edge so clear that Bairstow did not wait for the umpire’s decision.
Left-handed opener Alex Lees, dropped on four, had ground out an unconvincing 35 when he too edged Nortje to wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne
Two balls later, England’s 86-5 became 86-6 when Ben Foakes fell for a duck, a careless waft outside off stump presenting opposing gloveman Verreynne with another simple chance.
Broad, with little to lose, hit out and managed to hook Nortje for six in sunny conditions ideal for batting despite taking his eyes off a bouncer after smashing two fours off successive balls earlier in the over.
It was just a matter of time, however, before Broad fell. Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who had taken an excellent 5-52 in the first innings, got Broad with a clever slower ball the tailender chipped to Elgar at mid-off to end an entertaining 35 – the joint top score of the innings.
England then lost two wickets in two balls, Matthew Potts bowled by Marco Jansen before Stokes (20) was brilliantly caught in the deep by Maharaj off fast bowler Rabada, the player of the match.
Towering left-arm quick Jansen, who earlier on Friday made 48 in South Africa’s 326, ended the Test in emphatic style by clean bowling last man James Anderson.