January 20, 2020
England 499 beat South Africa 209 & 237 by an innings & 53 runsLead series 2-1 before fourth and final Test in JohannesburgThe victory was so easy, despite a cheerful, preposterous last wicket partnership of 99, that it becomes hard to assess. At Cape Town England had to graft, dig deep and snatch every chance to win. Here they dropped half a dozen chances, with Ben Stokes the unlikely yet most regular culprit – though he does stick himself wherever he thinks the ball will go – and still they won by an innings and 53 runs.
England thrash South Africa by an innings and 53 runs to take 2-1 lead
The mopping-up operation on a breezy day was clumsy but not too stressful, partly because the sun deigned to make an appearance again. Joe Root opened with Stuart Broad, who for the second morning in a row dismissed Vernon Philander in his first over, with Ollie Pope taking his sixth catch of the match. Root himself decided to partner Stuart Broad at the start, which made sense given his success on Sunday, though it was surprising and ultimately embarrassing that he should bowl unchanged for 80 minutes without success. His last over yielded 28 runs (including four byes); it also removed the smile from Root’s face and equalled the most expensive one delivered in Test cricket.
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