England beats South Africa in 2nd Test

DURBAN: Offspinner Graeme Swann claimed five wickets for the second time this series as England beat South Africa by an innings and 98 runs in the second test on Wednesday.

South Africa was dismissed for 133 in its second innings after adding just 57 runs before losing its last four wickets just 70 minutes into the final day’s play.

England captain Andrew Strauss was delighted with his side’s performance.

“This was not far off the best performance I’ve seen from this team, certainly away from home,” Strauss said, but he urged his team not to get carried away.

“We’ll have to keep our feet on the ground in Cape Town,” Strauss said. “We had some fantastic performances here with the two century-makers Ian Bell and Alastair Cook, and Graeme Swann has bowled well on wickets on which there has not been a huge amount of turn.”

South Africa captain Graeme Smith acknowledged that his team had simply not been good enough.

“England outplayed us the whole middle part of the test and they deserved their victory, but hopefully we can bounce back quickly,” said Smith. “We have to look at ourselves in the mirror… we weren’t up to standard here. We weren’t as precise as we needed to be with the ball.”

Swann finished off the game by trapping tailender Dale Steyn lbw for three runs to finish with figures of 5-45 and claim the man of the match award for the second time in the series.

Swann has taken 14 wickets in the first two tests.

“It’s been a bit of a dream the last 12 months. The pitches in South Africa have been slower and turned more… we didn’t expect that, but it means I get to do a lot of work,” Swann said.

South Africa staggered to 76-6 by stumps on the fourth day needing 156 runs to make England bat a second time.

England’s first success of the morning came after just 11 balls when Swann forced Morne Morkel back onto his stumps and trapped him in front for 15 with a quicker ball. Morkel had batted grittily for 51 minutes starting on Tuesday afternoon and hit three fours.

Next to go was the last recognized batsman Mark Boucher, giving seamer Stuart Broad his fourth wicket of the innings.

Boucher gloved the ball down leg to wicketkeeper Matt Prior, but England had to wait for third umpire Steve Davis to call it out after on field umpire Amiesh Saheba originally called it not. Boucher’s 29, with three fours, came in 91 minutes.

Paul Harris batted for an hour to make 36, the highest score of the innings. He hit five fours and was the ninth man out when he mistimed a flick to the leg-side off James Anderson and was caught by Broad (4-43) at mid-on.

Eight balls later Swann struck the final blow by getting Steyn.

After the first test in Pretoria ended in a draw, Wednesday’s win puts England 1-0 up in the four-match series, with the third test starting in Cape Town on Jan. 3.

South Africa will reflect that that they were simply outplayed by England, whose bowlers were more effective. The Proteas top six batsmen, too, will realize that they owe the team a big effort in the third test.

Much speculation has surrounded the composition of the Proteas attack in Durban, where veteran seamer Makhaya Ntini was retained in spite of the encouraging debut of Friedel de Wet in the Pretoria test.

There will no doubt be renewed calls for Ntini, who went wicketless in Durban, to be replaced by De Wet.

Asked if South Africa had the ability to take 20 wickets to win a test match, Smith said: “We came close (to 20 wickets) in Pretoria. Obviously we have to make the right decisions with selections for Cape Town, and see how we make it work there.”