South Africa v England: Tourists oust world’s best with clinical haste

England's bowler Chris Woakes, right, celebrates after dismissing South Africa's batsman Dane Piedt on the fifth day of their first test cricket match at Kingsmead in Durban, South Africa. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
England's bowler Chris Woakes, right, celebrates after dismissing South Africa's batsman Dane Piedt on the fifth day of their first test cricket match at Kingsmead in Durban, South Africa. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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England blew South Africa away with ease on the final morning of the first Test to end 2015 with a crushing 241-run victory in Durban.

The result had been expected overnight but the clinical haste with which the tourists brushed aside the world’s number one side before lunch was a sight to behold.

They needed just 24 overs to pick up the required six wickets, with Stuart Broad pinning last man Morne Morkel lbw to leave the Proteas 174 all out.

Steven Finn finished with four for 42 and Moeen Ali three for 47.

The day started in the best possible fashion as South Africa’s best hope, AB de Villiers, fell lbw to Moeen’s third ball of the day.

And there was even partial redemption for Jonny Bairstow, who responded to his missed stumping of De Villiers late on day four by whipping off the bails to see off Temba Bavuma for a duck.

Remarkably, that was England’s first such dismissal since Matt Prior and Graeme Swann combined to stump Cheteshwar Pujara in November 2012.

England’s dominance belied their modest record on the road: this was just a second win in their last 16 away Tests, and only the second time they have started an overseas tour with victory in 11 years.

But hopes will surely be high that there is more to come in this four Test series.

South Africa have been fraying at the scenes here, with baffling selections, dropped catches, concerns over captain Hashim Amla’s form and fitness doubts over Dale Steyn.

In short, they look prone for more of the same.

For England, Nick Compton’s resilience at number three, Finn’s heartening return to from a foot injury and Moeen’s controlled showing with the ball all represent major plus points.

If there was one lingering worry at the start of play, it was the presence of De Villiers at the crease overnight.

Those concerns were removed in a hurry by Moeen, whose third ball of the morning took a puff of dust out of the surface, turned sharply and kept low.

De Villiers had shuffled across his crease and, with leg stump in view behind his pad, looked bang to rights.

He reviewed - out of shock, necessity or both - but replays showed the ball clipping.

What followed in Moeen’s next over was, arguably, an even greater moment for the tourists.

Bairstow reacted with genuine anguish on the fourth evening when he failed to stump De Villiers, a miss that drew further unwanted attention to his patchy glovework.

But England’s 38-match stumping drought ended when Bavuma stumbled out of crease and was beaten on the outside edge.

Bairstow gathered safely this time and flicked the bails with relish.

South Africa, though, must have serious concerns over Bavuma, who seems over-promoted and under-qualified as a Test number six.

At the other end Finn was rewarded for a sharp opening burst with the wicket of nightwatchman Dale Steyn, pegging back off stump in satisfying fashion.

Finn, having taken three wickets on the fourth evening, was charging in with pace and precision but could not pick up a deserved fifth wicket.

But there was a first for Chris Woakes, who had been unlucky in the first innings and will probably make way for James Anderson should he be passed fit for Cape Town.

Dane Piedt lasted more than half-an-hour without scoring before being caught at short leg off bat and pad.

Morkel and JP Duminy (26no) delayed the inevitable for seven overs before the returning Broad trapped the former in front of the stumps to put his side 1-0 up.