PRETORIA (Reuters) – Mercurial paceman Kagiso Rabada produced the second best match figures by a South African to propel his side to a consolation 280-run victory over a feeble England on the last morning of the fourth and final test on Tuesday.
The hosts needed a little more than an hour on the final day to reduce England, who won the series 2-1, from 52 for three to 101 all out with Rabada returning match figures of 13-159 to drive home his rich potential.
His figures are second only to Makhaya Ntini’s 13-132 against West Indies in 2005 as the 20-year-old became the youngest South African to take 10 wickets in a test match.
Although the series had already been decided, the victory is a welcome one for South Africa after a run of nine games without success lasting more than a year had seen them dethroned from the top of the ICC test rankings by India.
Chasing an unlikely victory target of 382 on a wearing wicket, England’s hopes of batting out the day were undone by a combination of rash stroke-making and excellent swing bowling.
A forecast of thunderstorms later in the day should have been an ample incentive for the batsmen to dig in and play for time, but they instead opted to go on the attack and were soon undone by a rampant South Africa attack.
James Taylor (24) got a snorter from Morne Morkel (3-36) that brushed the glove and was caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock to kickstart a procession of England batsman.
Joe Root (20), who had already been dropped by De Kock off Dane Piedt, drove wildly at the spinner and was caught at slip by Dean Elgar.
Rabada then got in on the act as he was made to celebrate his record-breaking 10-wicket haul twice — first having Jonny Bairstow (14) caught at slip off a no-ball and then inducing another edge from the very next delivery to De Kock.
Man of the series Ben Stokes (10) was caught at deep midwicket off Morkel as he walked into a short-ball trap, before Rabada cleaned up the tail in efficient style for innings figures of 6-32.
Chris Woakes (5) was caught by De Kock, Stuart Broad (2) at slip by AB de Villiers and James Anderson (0) trapped lbw.
The teams will now play a five-match one-day international series starting to Feb. 3, to be followed by two Twenty20 games.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by John O’Brien)