Proteas go top after Lord's nail-biter

England

England and South Africa contested one of the most exciting conclusions to a Test match in recent memory, with the Three Lions chasing the massive 346 runs set for victory to within 51 on day five at Lord's, falling all out on 294.

England and South Africa contested one of the most exciting conclusions to a Test match in recent memory, with the Three Lions chasing the massive 346 runs set for victory to within 51 on day five at Lord's, falling all out on 294.

The victory gave South Africa a 2-0 series win, and catapulted them to the top of the ICC Test ranking, displacing the defeated England, who had held the number one spot for only 12 months.

At one stage, with Matt Prior in the middle and bashing the old ball around the Home of Cricket, it looked like England could pull off their highest ever fourth-innings chase and level the series, but Vernon Philander used the new nut to dash the crowd's hopes.

It all seemed to be going swimmingly for the visitors in the morning session as they took two quick wickets (Bell and Taylor) to reduce England to 45 for four, but Jonny Bairstow and Jonathan Trott made fifties each as they fought what seemed like the inevitable.

Bairstow, making his second fifty of the match, batted at better than a run a ball and set the stage for the chase. He and the other middle to lower order batsmen made a mockery of the top order's failure, which skipper Andrew Strauss will do well to address, both personally and from a team perspective.

When the two Jonathans departed for 58 and 63 respectively before tea, Stuart Broad continued the assault, making 37 runs in a flash and putting on a partnership of 62 with Prior. They had a fair deal of luck during their knocks, with Prior dropped in the slips by Jacques Rudolph, before falling just short of a diving Hashim Amla.

Once Broad went out, caught in the deep off Jacques Kallis, Graeme Swann also added to the score with a thrilling 41, before being run out brilliantly by Imran Tahir, the score on 208 for eight.

He and Prior had put on 74 together, at a run rate of nearly seven, and it looked as though the 'chokers' tag would be trotted out when reporting this match.

Prior, who ended up with 73, tried in vain to usher the innings forward, falling to Philander's swing and pace with the new ball, the score on 294. The crowd visibly deflated when he walked off, as they had genuinely believed (as did many people watching all over the world) that England could have pulled this off.

The wicketkeeper was named man of the series for England, having scored four fifties and a 40 in the series, by far the most consistent of the English batsmen.

Fast bowler Steve Finn was no match for Philander and fell with the next ball, caught by Kallis n the slips, leaving Big Vern stranded on a hat-trick ball, but having claimed a five-fer.

The Proteas celebrated joyfully, pulled out the stumps and did a lap of honour, before Smith scribbled 'We miss u Bouch' on his white shirt before the trophy presentation.

Philander was handed the Man of the Match award for his seven wickets in the match, while Hashim Amla was Man of the series for the visitors after his 311 not out at The Oval and 121 at Lord's.

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