JOHANNESBURG // Fittingly, it was England's two tormentors who finished the series arm-in-arm, receiving the joint man-of-the-match award. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel had bowled the home side to the brink of victory in the last Test in Cape Town only to be thwarted by Graham Onions. There was, however, no stopping them yesterday to ensure South Africa retained the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy. Steyn picked up one more wicket yesterday and Morkel collected three, to finish with seven each in the match, as South Africa wrapped up a crushing victory of an innings and 74 runs by bowling England out for 169. Only Paul Collingwood (71) saved England from an even heavier defeat. Mark Boucher, the Proteas wicketkeeper, led the tributes to his side's new-ball pairing. "I'd rather be catching to them than facing them," he said.
"They are still very young and need to do a lot of learning but will learn very quickly because they are those sort of guys. They have the potential to be up with the best that have ever played the game." Morkel and Steyn finished the series with 19 and 15 wickets respectively, prompting their captain, Graeme Smith, to claim the in-form pair's achievement was one of the decisive factors in his side's series fightback. "Dale's performed unbelievably well for a period of time now and deserves his ranking," he said. "He's led the attack well but Morne, coming back from being left out of the side, has worked on his game and come back a far better bowler. He was really able to have a good series. To have two good spearheads of pace and bounce is great on a wicket like this."
There was certainly no back-patting in the England camp. Andrew Strauss, the England captain, was furious with the way his side batted in both innings. Kevin Pietersen (12) and Matt Prior, for a duck, once again fell cheaply yesterday and along with Jonathan Trott and Strauss, himself, will need to re-assess their games after disappointing tours. "Only three batsmen had a decent series," admitted Strauss referring to Alaistar Cook, Collingwood and Ian Bell. "The rest of us didn't and you're not going to win a series if that's the case. I don't doubt the quality in our batting line up but not enough of us could prove it." South Africa needed just one session yesterday to complete the job but England had actually started the day well, with Collingwood pouncing on anything short as Morkel and Steyn were unable to get the early wicket. But that proved be a false dawn as Pietersen ended his fallow tour with yet another loose shot, handing Parnell his second wicket.
That gave Morkel the scent of victory and he came charging in. Collingwood twice survived lbw shouts from Morkel and Parnell - the former making an unsuccessful referral attempt. But Ian Bell was next to fall. The on-song Morkel got one to lift off the pitch and England's No 6 could only fend to Jacques Kallis at second slip. Prior lasted just two balls before an ugly pull shot resulted in him top-edging Morkel to Smith. Morkel was rampant and he picked up Stuart Broad after he gloved one to Boucher, despite Broad embarrassingly asking for a referral. Collingwood and Graeme Swann provided some resistance but Steyn and JP Duminy put England out of their misery. email@example.com
England 180 & (second innings, overnight 48-3): Andrew Strauss lbw b Parnell 22 Alastair Cook c Smith b Morkel 1 Jonathan Trott c De Villiers b Steyn 8 Kevin Pietersen c Boucher b Parnell 12 Paul Collingwood c Morkel b Duminy 71 Ian Bell c Kallis b Morkel 5 Matt Prior c Smith b Morkel 0 Stuart Broad c Boucher b Morkel 1 Graeme Swann c De Villiers b Steyn 20 Ryan Sidebottom b Duminy 15 James Anderson not out 1 Extras: (6lb, 1w, 6nb) 13 Total: (all out, 42.5 overs) 169 Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-21, 3-48, 4-84, 5-103, 6-103, 7-104, 8-134, 9-154. Bowling: Dale Steyn 14-1-64-2 (2nb) Morne Morkel 16-5-59-4 (3nb, 1w) Wayne Parnell 8-1-17-2 Ryan McLaren 3-1-13-0 (1nb) JP Duminy 1.5-0-10-2. South Africa 423-7 decl.