England wins by an innings and 53 runs against South Africa
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England wins by an innings and 53 runs against South Africa

Agency News

Port Elizabeth, Jan 20: The finish wasn't as clinical as they'd have liked, yet England completed victory by an innings and 53 runs in the third Test against South Africa to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Keshav Maharaj entertained the home crowd with a rollicking half-century, which included three fours and two sixes in a Joe Root over that cost 28 runs. He added 99 runs for the final wicket with Dane Paterson, but that only delayed, rather than denied, the English celebration.

England began the fifth day at Port Elizabeth on Monday, four wickets away from victory.

Three of those came in the first hour of the morning.

South Africa, whose batsmen had failed to offer much resistance in getting to stumps at 106/6 on day four, continued to crumble. Vernon Philander fell to Stuart Broad in the first over of the day, handing Ollie Pope his sixth catch of the match at short mid-wicket. Kagiso Rabada swung his bat before becoming Mark Wood's third scalp, while Dom Bess returned to bowl out Anrich Nortje.

Maharaj and Paterson, though, were defiant, quickly doubling the South African total.

Having survived a couple of close calls, Maharaj took on Joe Root and the new ball. Three fours in a row were followed by slogged sixes over mid-wicket, and four byes, to make it the joint-most expensive over in Test cricket. Sam Curran too was attacked, as Maharaj took his boundary tally to 10 fours and three sixes, an ICC report said.

It took a run-out to finally end the stand. A direct hit from Curran from mid-on caught Maharaj just short, cutting short his knock at 71.

South Africa folded for 237, only a little better than their first-innings 209. Pope, whose century in England's only innings and partnership with Ben Stokes that had lifted the visitors to 499/9 declared, was named Player of the Match.

Root finished with a career-best 4/87 in the second innings.

Having ensured they can't lose the four-match series, England retained the Basil D'Oliveira trophy and consolidated their position on the ICC World Test Championship table.

Brief score:

England - 499/9

South Africa - 209 & 237 (UNI)

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