INNINGS DEFEAT: S. Africa beat England at the Oval
LONDON: SOUTH Africa yesterday took a one-nil lead in the three-match series against England, beating the hosts by an innings and 12 runs and securing their first win at the Oval after a masterful display of top order batting.
Hashim Amla's unbeaten 311, ably supported by 182 not out from veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis and 131 Graeme Smith took the Proteas to 637 for 2 before they declared, setting England a target of 252 to make them bat again.
But with the hosts resuming on 102 for four, England were always facing an uphill battle to save the game and despite some resistance from Ian Bell (55) and Matt Prior (40), saving the task ultimately proved impossible.
The victory is South Africa's first in 11 matches at the Oval and they had previously lost all three Tests at the south London venue since returning to international cricket in 1991.
The last time the two teams met in England in 2008, South Africa edged the hosts 2-1 but England have been unbeaten at home since then, rising to No 1 in the world rankings under captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower.
South Africa, though, have not lost an away series since they were beaten in Sri Lanka in 2006. They are currently ranked third but will take the top place from England if they win the series.
Scores: England 385 (A. Cook 115, J.Trott 71, M.Prior 60, M. Morkel 4-72) and 240 (Bell 55; D.Styen 5-56, Tahir 3-63); South Africa 637-2 dec. (H. Amla 311, J.Kallis 182, G.Smith 131). AFP