South Africa (313 & 83) lost to England (323 & 77-3) by 7 wickets

England wrapped up an uplifting victory by 7 wickets inside three days at the Wanderers, taking an unassailable 2-0 Series lead in the process against South Africa’s cricketers. Despite the hosts seeming to have regained the initiative after dismissing England quickly in the morning session, they wilted disappointingly in their second innings and were all out for just 83 runs. That allowed a relatively comfortable amble to a paltry winning target for Alastair Cook’s side.

Match-winner Broad

Stuart Broad turned in yet another match-winning spell with the cherry in hand to decisively turn the match and series England’s way in Johannesburg.

His scintillating burst of 5-1 in 31 balls saw the home sides’ chances dissipate rapidly on day three, as they posted a total that was never likely to trouble England second time around. Broad finished with fabulous figures of 6-17 as his smart caught and bowled dismissal of Faf du Plessis completed the rout.

Root scored winning runs

After his terrific century in the first innings, it was perhaps appropriate that Joe Root had the honour of hitting the winning boundary. His entertaining partnership of 111 on day two with the ‘go to man’ Ben Stokes (58) began to swing the game England’s way, as they ultimately gained a slender advantage of 10 runs at the half-way stage.

Stutter towards the end

Yet they still stuttered towards victory at the end, losing three wickets in the process after a solid 64-run opening partnership.

Alex Hales fell on 18, Nick Compton seemed to lose his senses to hole out in the deep for a duck and then captain Cook succumbed on 43. Finally, their nerves were eased as Root and James Taylor staggered over the winning line at 77-3.

The late wickets mattered little in the bigger picture, yet Hales and Compton would have both been disappointed not to make it to the end unscathed.

They will both hope for better fortune in the effectively dead ‘rubber’ at Centurion on Friday.

Finn injury

The same can’t be said for Steven Finn who limped out of the match during the second innings with a side strain and seems unlikely to play in the fourth and final Test match.

SA bowlers unavailable

South Africa can rightly point to the unavailability of their two main bowling weapons for most of the series as proving to be decisive factors in the outcome.

Without Vernon Philander so far and with limited access to Dale Steyn’s armoury, their replacements have come up just a little short in the final analysis. Consider England without Broad and James Anderson and their value becomes clear.

Brave new world for England

Whether the South African duo would have made the difference we will never know, but the efforts of Stokes and Root (110) in the first innings seemed to re-invigorate the visitors and continued the brave new world under head coach Trevor Bayliss. One wonders how good this young side can become when they mature in a few years’ time.