Proteas bounce back: Bowlers demolish England lower order for 1st Test victory

South Africa's Kagiso Rabada (C) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of England's Sam Curran (R) during the fourth day of the first Test cricket match between South Africa and England at The SuperSport Park stadium at Centurion near Pretoria on December 29, 2019.
South Africa's Kagiso Rabada (C) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of England's Sam Curran (R) during the fourth day of the first Test cricket match between South Africa and England at The SuperSport Park stadium at Centurion near Pretoria on December 29, 2019.
Image: MARCO LONGARI / AFP

South Africa comprehensively thrashed England by 107 runs in the Boxing Day Test on Sunday afternoon with a day and a session to spare in Centurion to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

The Proteas only needed two sessions of the fourth day of action to restrict their arch-rivals to 268 in 93 overs and record the morale-boosting victory before tea and set the tone for the rest of the series.

England started the day on 121/1 but trailing by 255 runs and their mission proved to be too much as Kagiso Rabada‚ Anrich Nortje‚ Dwaine Pretorius and Keshav Maharay wreaked havoc with their batting order.

Rabada ended the second innings with four wickets‚ Nortje with three‚ Maharaj with two‚ Pretorius with one‚ while Vernon Philander finished empty-handed but his control was faultless.

Philander was the star of the first innings where SA crucially restricted England to 181‚ wherev he claimed four wickets to be followed by Rabada with three‚ Nortje with two and Pretorius with one‚ while Maharaj was empty-handed.

Nortje and Pretorius started the demolition job in the morning session when they removed opener Rory Burns (84)‚ who was looking solid at the crease‚ and Joe Denley (31).

After the lunch break‚ SA took firm control of the proceedings with the important wickets of Ben Stokes (14)‚ Jonny Bairstow (9)‚ captain Joe Root (48) and Sam Curran (9) who tried to resist.

The first casualty after the lunch was all-rounder Stokes who departed with only 14 runs to his name when he was bamboozled by the spin wizardry of Maharaj.

Rabada joined the party with the new ball to claim his first wicket of the day when Zubayr Hamza reacted quickly to catch Jonny Bairstow at gully as the South African bowlers began to tighten their grip on proceedings.

The biggest breakthrough of the session was achieved as Nortje removed the mightily dangerous Root‚ whose dismissal meant that he has failed to score a half-century against the Proteas in a Test match for the first time.

Rabada registered his second wicket when he dismissed Sam Curran with De Kock claiming the catch behind the stumps‚ and Nortje dealt with Jofra Archer having scored only nine runs.

Shortly before tea‚ Radaba accounted for Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad as SA completed a memorable victory.

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