England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day

South Africa hold nerve to take No. 1

The Report by David Hopps

August 20, 2012

Comments: 362 | Text size: A | A

South Africa 309 (Philander 61, Duminy 61, Finn 4-75) and 351 (Amla 121, Finn 4-74) beat England 315 (Bairstow 95, Bell 58, Morkel 4-80, Steyn 4-94) and 294 (Prior 73, Trott 63, Bairstow 54, Philander 5-30) by 51 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Imran Tahir throws down the stumps to run out Graeme Swann, England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day, August 20, 2012
Graeme Swann was run out after giving England hope of a dramatic run chase © Getty Images

South Africa displaced England at the top of the Test rankings with a 51-run victory in the third Test at Lord's to secure a 2-0 victory in the series. It was a thoroughly merited victory by a side that had dominated the series but England, forced by desperate circumstances to play with daring, went down with a spirit that for a partisan crowd made their failure easier to bear.

For South Africa's captain, Graeme Smith, there must have been just a few flutters of doubt before the greatest triumph of his formidable reign was confirmed and he received the mace from the ICC chief executive, Dave Richardson. He has had too many disappointments for there not to be. It was appropriate that the moment he knew victory must belong to South Africa was when Matt Prior was ninth out for 73 and he plunged for the red ball at first slip with hands like an apple catcher.

One ball later came South Africa's victory, Steven Finn pushing at Vernon Philander and this time Jacques Kallis holding on at second slip. Philander, who until Lord's had been largely overshadowed. finished with 5 for 30 and had top-and-tailed England with each new ball in turn. Good runs as well made him a worthy recipient of the Man-of-the-Match award.

England had tried, and failed, throughout the series to overcome South Africa with tight disciplined cricket. They had been rolled by an innings in the first Test at The Oval but, in the closing moments of another defeat at Lord's, they had at least piqued their superior opponents with adventure. Perhaps it carried a significant message that their strategy had been too narrow. Perhaps it was nothing more than a last fling.

What could not be disguised was that England's reign at No 1 has been nightmarish: six defeats in 11 and Test series defeats against Pakistan and South Africa, this latest setback representing their worst home defeat since the 2001 Ashes series. Despite that, the captain, Andrew Strauss, is still held in high regard, although he will want this praise to centre upon run-making, a united dressing room and tactical acumen rather than his undoubted managerial skills.

At tea, England needed 125 from 33 overs with three wickets left and the new ball 10 overs away and calculated that the difference between old ball and new had been so pronounced in this Test that those 10 overs should be met with all-out attack. Prior and Graeme Swann added 62 from 8.4 overs, but Swann perished before the new ball, skilfully thrown out by Imran Tahir at the bowler's end as he tried to steal a single through gully.

Prior survived Duminy's catch in the deep when Morne Morkel overstepped and survived again when AB de Villiers narrowly missed a stumping chance off Imran Tahir, both on 67, but from the moment the new ball was taken, the match shifted South Africa's way.

It was Jonny Bairstow whose ebullient half-century - 54 from 47 balls from the depths of 45 for 4 - first sought a route to victory, an overgrown path strewn with pitfalls, a fourth-innings target of 346 of a magnitude England had never achieved. Tahir, bowling his legspin around the wicket into the rough, scuttled one through his defences three overs into the afternoon session as he trusted to the back foot.

Broad was in jaunty, stand-and-deliver mode, a suitable approach considering his long-standing run of failures playing in more orthodox style, never better than when he pulled Dale Steyn into the grandstand for six. Another hook, an excellent bouncer delivered by Kallis in the penultimate over before tea, brought his downfall as Hashim Amla took an assured catch at long leg.

Jonathan Trott was the mainstay of England's subjugated top order, making 63 from 159 balls, an innings ended by Steyn in mid-afternoon, courtesy of a fast catch, diving to his left at second slip, by the evergreen Kallis. But until his ambition was recalibrated by the example of Bairstow, Trott had been in danger of burying deep into his own brain. The situation demanded that he played well out of his comfort zone and he gave the impression of attacking zeal without really moving the score along, playing and missing regularly.

Any batsman had a right to struggle against an attack of high quality in what, while the ball retained its hardness, were favourable bowling conditions. South Africa had had his measure throughout the series and it showed.

Trott was also stung forward by a mix-up that led to the run-out of James Taylor. This was England's nadir, for which Trott had to take the majority of the blame.

When Trott clipped Steyn wide of mid-on, and Amla chased towards long-on, the lack of running urgency suggested that both batsmen had settled for a dawdling three. In fact, were it not for an outfield slowed by repairs after the Olympics archery, it would have been four. The final arrow was about to plunge deep into England's ambitions that they might square the series.

Steyn, the bowler, was so convinced all meaningful action was complete that he collected his sun hat from the umpire before the call of "over." But Trott turned in invitation of a fourth. Taylor, who was running to the danger end, accepted with alacrity only for Trott to turn his back and leave Taylor stranded as Steyn transferred to the wicketkeeper.

England's 16 for 2 from 13 overs overnight was no sort of platform. Trott and Ian Bell had clung on during the fourth evening in expectation of a more comfortable morning. But the morning was overcast and the ball hooped around for every South Africa pace bowler in turn. Instead of easing into the task, they began as if disorientated by an unwanted alarm call.

Bell did not manage to add a run, his score 4 from 37 balls when he drove without conviction at Philander and was caught by Smith, second attempt, at first slip. When Taylor became the fourth batsman to fall, England had scrambled 29 in 13 overs, aware of the target but unable to develop any coherent approach to it.

England's spirit persisted. Like Bairstow and Broad before him, Swann, ideal for such an escapade, played with dash. He sauntered down the pitch to hoist Tahir's legspin for six, and pulled Kallis high into the Mound Stand. Prior passed 50 by twice reverse sweeping Tahir and serenely drove Morkel over mid-on. It was fun but, in the final analysis, perhaps it did not mean all that much.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

@Wefinishthis on (August 23 2012, 09:21 AM GMT) Pretty much the same batting line up which chased 300+ vs SA last year

Posted by Wefinishthis on (August 23, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

MattyP1979 you're having a laugh, this is Australia's most brittle batting lineup in decades, the openers Cowan (inexplicably averages in the 20's, less than our best fast bowler James Pattinson) and Warner (averages in the 40's but is wildly inconsistent and is still adapting to tests), Ponting is old and for the past few years has averaged roughly 30 without a single hundred to his name until he faced the pathetic Sharma at home. He's changed his technique and he's useless at short stuff now (he used to be the best at it). Clarke and Hussey are the only two proper test batsmen in the team but Hussey is past his best as well and Clarke bats too low. Now somehow they will have to face the no.1 ranked bowler in the world (Steyn) and statistically the no.1 bowler in the world (Philander) along with the very capable Morkel and Kallis. Our best batsmen in D.Hussey, J.Burns, K.Patterson are not even in consideration. Mark my words, get used to some more batting collapses from Aus against SA

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

@Meety - CTD re your 11 for India , I'd definitely have 2 spinners for a start. Right now my 11 would probably be Cook,Trott,Bell,Taylor,Bairstow,Prior,Woakes,Swann,Anderson.Onions, Monty. Obviously if KP patches things up he'd be there - possibly ahead of Bell or Taylor. Re Bopara , part of me thinks he'd do well in Indian conditions and his bowling may even come into use there so I can see the logic in having him over Bell but I just doubt his mental toughness esp overseas. TBH I'm not at all convinced about Bell either but that call (Bopara or Bell) is more about who is the least bad. I feel bad about not having Broad in there as he's prob my fav player but this is my honest best side for the job. Onions/Finn is the opposite of the Bell/Bopara selection in that whoever is not selected is unlucky. The only guy I might bring in as a batsman is Compton but I think he's injured right now anyway. I actually wonder if Taylor might come up trumps in India

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

@Meety on (August 22 2012, 07:16 AM GMT) Good morning - As I posted on another thread I'm not a huge Strauss fan as a captain as I feel that while he's a great guy and decent captain in that sense I feel he's too defensive which is fine when it works but showed how unadaptable he is when it didn't. Also , as pointed out previously I think he looks to have hit the end as a player. Re captaincy , re Cook , I wonder if he may just be another Strauss - ie must go with 6/1/4 , must open with Broad because it's what we do? I'm not sure whether the formation is Flower/Strauss/ both or one selecting and the other just agreeing with him

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

@praveen4honestremark on (August 22 2012, 09:35 AM GMT) of course you didn't lol

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

@karthik_raja on (August 22 2012, 10:18 AM GMT) Believe it or not I didn't deliberately leave India out of the conversation although it seems to have got you foaming there. I have never once said India were not deserving of being number 1. I only answered your comment re SA because - before this series - IMO they were not deserving of number 1 status. Now they are. End of

Posted by HaddockinOz on (August 23, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

Clearly and sadly, James Taylor is not up to test standard, it's a shame but understandable, that Ian Bell was not a little more positive against the older ball on day 4 as he has the class to have got England closer to the target before the new ball ended the brave chase. A good game however. Who also thinks that hawkeye is flawed? some balls that are shown to be hitting the stumps, would not hit a 4th stump allowing for bounce, deviation, distance to travel etc. LBW's being given nowadays to orthodox left arm spinners is incredible! I spent 36 years screaming at umpires to give me "plumb" LBWS when bowling SLA, only for my appeals to be disdainfully refused as not out as "you can't possibly expect LBW's from bowling around the wicket"! HAHA. I'd love to bowling nowadays, I'd be taking at least 25 wickets more a season!

Posted by karthik_raja on (August 22, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

@JG2704 on (August 21 2012, 13:24 PM GMT) Well.. So, u accept that SA deserve top ranking and Eng were also deservedly placed @ top. How about the third country, I mentioned in my comment. U r simply hesitant to mention that. right..?? Typical English attitude. It is this kinda attitude from fellow English friends which literally tuned many Ind fans against Eng supporters. Get well soon my dear mate.

Posted by Mr.Moody on (August 22, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

well done SAF you are deserving Test No.1 side. Amla Steyn Kallis you beauty!!

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (August 22, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

@JG2704 on (August 22 2012, 08:32 AM GMT)..Plenty of guesses?? ah again. I told it would we 3-0 in favor of SA and that was my one and only final predication for this series and i never appeared any of columns until the final result of 3 tests came out. Tough luck mate, :)...bye bye.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 22, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

@CSKftw on (August 21 2012, 17:00 PM GMT) As I said , you interpret things how you want to interpret them.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 22, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

@praveen4honestremark on (August 21 2012, 17:39 PM GMT) 2nd test could have gone either way. There was certainly no way of saying for sure it would have gone to SA. I'm disappointed with England but there you go. I'm pretty sure you'll have made plenty of predictions against England which have been nowhere near the money so I guess if you make enough one will come true eventually

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

Kudos to SA., Magic of Gary Kirsten started workng. He was the back bone for Indian cricket to achieve no 1 spot in Test and also played instrumental role in India winning WC in 2011. His next agenda would be to remove the chockers tag from SA.

Posted by Knowledge_Speaks on (August 22, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

Strauss means Clarke!! Only focusing relations with the Selectors/Managment. No matter if team's performance is effected. KP is Ketich is Gayle

Posted by IndiaNumeroUno on (August 22, 2012, 7:29 GMT)

I'm really glad England lost the #1 spot. We will now be spared front page blow ups and oodles of nonsense articles about how "technical expertise" enabled an army of backroom staff to create the so called "world beating team" every day in the media! Hurrah!!

Posted by Meety on (August 22, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

@JG2704 (cont.), If you combine Broad's SL/India/Bang AWAY record, he only has 10 wickets in 5 Tests. So I'd probably, go with Brenan or Finn. I think Bresnan has the ability to be the main pace man for Eng in Asia, as I think he'll do more with the older ball than Broad or Finn. I select Woakes primarily as a batsmen who should be able to bowl 10 to 12 quality overs per day over there, (I am assuming Swann if fit, & Panesar will bowl over 50 between them).

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

Congratulations SA. It's a musical chair this #1 position, but by far the best team in current form.

Posted by Meety on (August 22, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

@Xolile - why on Earth would you select 1965 as a benchmark? At least go to 1962 - to make 50yrs. Why not just start since readmission since you obviously are trying to get the best ratio result for Safrica? FYI - since readmission, it's Oz 2.9, SAfrica 1.9. @JG2704 - would you have Strauss as captain for the India tour? It's probably a trickier question than at first apprearance. Strauss has a good record (surprisingly) in India (50+ I think). A potential problem for England is, I am fairly sure Taylor struggled on a Lions tour of Asia earlier this year & may not be a good option. I wonder if this would be a good XI: 1. Strauss, 2. Cook, 3. Trott, 4. Bopara/Bell, 5. Bairstow, 6. Woakes, 7. Prior, 8. Broad, 9. Swann, 10. Anderson, 11. Panesar, 12th Bresnan/Finn. I actually am not convinced of either of the players @ #4, & would probably like to see (as you also mentioned), Compton. I am unsure how Broad will go in India, although I do believe he gets under their skin, (only ONE Test)!

Posted by dariuscorny on (August 22, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

@Harmony111 where are you,its been ages since we saw your comments,would hv been delighted,if you gave one shot here

Posted by maddy20 on (August 22, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

@bMike We have drawn the last 2 series vs SA one at home, one away. England on the other hand had been the most graceless no.1 team ever. When India was no.1 /on the verge of being No.1, they beat every other side barring Aus(They nearly did them but for the Sydney test and lost 2-1 by a close margin) and SA(with whom they fought damn well and held them to a draw). England on the other hand has not won a series against any team other than West Indies at home. Thrashing 3-0 by Pak in UAE, 2-0 in SA and an impending 4-0 in India where they have not won a single ODI against the home team in the last 10 games and won 1 test in 20 years(that too in a drawn series). True the last 1 year has been tough for us and it is only natural for a great side to be knocked down but I bet all my money that by the time they tour SA , we will be a challenging side again. A mediocre team like England does not have any thing as a transition phase because they are always pathetic.

Posted by Romenevans on (August 22, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

Even if SA was never there as a NO.1 team in ICC ratings, they were till the best and most settled team...now they are officially awarded as No.1. So that doesn't really make any difference. A proud SA fan from India.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (August 22, 2012, 4:44 GMT)

@MattyP1979, u must be joking right, mighty Australian batting?!!!. Which team are u talking about? This is the weakest Ausralian batting lineup in the last 20 years. On current form SA should beat them easily

Posted by Chris_P on (August 22, 2012, 1:18 GMT)

@chokkashokka. Did you even watch the 2nd test? England was 120 runs away with 6 wickets in hand. 5 batsmen yet to be dismissed have registered test centuries & you call this saved by the rain? I almost coughed up my cornflakes when I read about your claims to the biased English posts on this site & then stated this didn't happen when India played at home! Too funny!

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 23:05 GMT)

Now Eng discovers the imp of legends & drawbacks of keeping youngsters like taylor in team............................. Taylor replaced Peterson & scored at avg 15 & SR 30..............whereas Peterson scored at avg 55 & SR 70 clearly this 55-15= 40 runs was the margin of victory for SA Simple............................................................................................................Eng selectors & board must be held resposible for this humiliating defeat & decline from top Test spot & must RESIGN as for the best interest of team's victory selectors & board must yield before legends. Sports r played by 11 players & they r the most imp people not the selectors or the board ........

Posted by martinlee on (August 21, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

Ii don't think England deserves world no.1 spot because they have not yet won a series in sub continent conditions. When they toured UAE last time we witnessed what happened. And ofcourse they are still unable to win in india, srilanka and pakistan. I personaly think that the only team which deserve no.1 spot is australia..and they have proved that....they were able to win games in every part of the world...{not at the moment}...But now things have changed a lot who ever comes at num 1 spot...soon will be replaced by another...so you can't say...which is the best team at the moment.....England played most number of matches at home condition to gain num 1 spot and they got it.....To be number 1 ..play and win every part of the world and all will accept that...untill then don't think u r the best.....feel shameee

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 21, 2012, 20:46 GMT)

Maybe England should have played in someone's "backyard". They might have had a better chance.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (August 21, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

Deserved. And probaly still deserved even if we got over the line. Great game.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (August 21, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

Well played SA, deserved to win this match and the series. SA have got the mighty Oz next, and I just cannot see how the SA attack is going to get through that impressive batting card. Eng have Ind and their formidable bowling unit. Although we got 300 in every innings against this SA attack in Eng I just cannot see us batting Ind into total submission with the firepower at their disposal on flat wickets. No.2 in the world is probably a fair reflection. A loss at home but its going to get easier....can other teams say the same?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 18:18 GMT)

i love SA team specially G. Smith.. Well done SA. i was fully supporting SA team throughout the series.. InshaAllah they will also get T20 trophy.

Posted by pawaramol22 on (August 21, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

whoa so many England haters..

Posted by lankanlioncric on (August 21, 2012, 17:39 GMT)

south africa has a good team n they deserve to be world no 1.

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (August 21, 2012, 17:39 GMT)

@ JG2704...You were laughing at me when i predicted South Africa will win the series....remember the old days???You asked me that "will you come back with your honest remark after the series"?? Yes, i am here to say, i was wrong in predicting 3-0 in favor of SA, it was 2-0 at the end. The honest remark is that " Rain in 2nd test match saved England from 3-0 loss". Ok mate, as you challenged i kept my word and came back and commented. See you :)..bye

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

Front-Foot-Lunge : "ifs and buts" dont win you test matches, players do. If only Zaheer Khan wasn't injured or if KP was given out in the Lords test the result of the whole series against India could have been different. We dont deal in ifs and buts. The reality of the situation is England have lost 6 for their last nine games against quality opposition. England's futile thrash yesterday afternoon, when the pressure was off and they had nothing to loose and everything to gain, showed, England have reverted to type, gallant losers but losers never the less.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

Why so much fuss over a domestic mach folks? After all, South Africa A has beaten South Africa B :)

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

@Gerard Pereira on (August 21 2012, 16:46 PM GMT): Come next Ashes, you will see who is the boss. Strauss may lose some of his teeth against Pat Cummins. England was very lucky to have an Australia which was going through the rebuilding phase and an India which was in serious need of rebuilding. English fans pray for some face savers in the coming India tour, the payback awaits you.

Posted by CSKftw on (August 21, 2012, 17:00 GMT)

@JG2704 India's margins of defeat may have been higher than England's defeats to Pak but Ind lost to the no2 team in their own backyard while Eng lost to the no5 team at venues familiar to the no5 team but semi-neutral venues. What's worse, a no1 team that loses to the no2 team 0-4 or a no1 team who loses 0-3 (in a 3 match series) to the no5 team and then loses to the no2 team 0-2(at home)? Keep in mind that I'm not suggesting the current Indian team is better than the current England team, we will know which team is better a couple of months from now. I'm merely saying India were a more deserving no1 team while they were no1 as compared to England during their reign as world no1.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 16:59 GMT)

finally SouthAfrica is dominating"""NO 1""" in all three formats of the game!!! Excellent Performance. I am a Pakistani and a huge fan of SouthAfrican Cricket. I think SouthAfrica deserve Worldcup Title more than any one.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

Charles_Fortune_Favours_the_Brave: I agree South Africa ahead by a whisker, but if I remember rightly they could not put a very poor Australian side to bed in a home series.

Posted by CSKftw on (August 21, 2012, 16:41 GMT)

@kunderanengineer You say England fought hard to try and keep their title unlike India who meekly surrendered it. Well of course they fought hard because the series was played in their country unlike India who lost their title away. I'm not trying to defend India's incompetence on bouncy tracks, I'm just saying that had this series been played in conditions not favorable to England, they would have struggled to compete too. Their 0-3 humiliation at the hands of Pakistan proves my point. Also the only game where England did compete was the 3rd match, the first match they were totally annihilated and SA would have won the second match had there not been rain delays.

Posted by jb633 on (August 21, 2012, 16:28 GMT)

@ I love ice creams- I take it you didnt see this game. England played top cricket for a lot of it but came up just short. I think the only other side that would have gone for it like that would have been Australia. During the recent SL vs Pak series SL completley bottled a chase that was far easier than this one. Eng were faced with a top class bowling attack and made an effort to go for the win. Even at Headingley they made the effort. The brand of cricket England play cannot be criticized, more simply they were beaten by a quality team. I think most SA fans will not be leaving this tour thinking that Eng played negativley. Fair play to SA for the win. Ang good on England for the efforts made.

Posted by peter4135 on (August 21, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

South Africa deserve more support from their home fans but that will never happen because of the extremely high prices of pay tv...until more people can afford it,it will remain a 3rd rated sport in SA

Posted by AKS286 on (August 21, 2012, 16:13 GMT)

Eng no 1 era is ended by THE AFRICAN DEADLY BARRAGE any pitch anywhere. Eng knows that if they make pacey pitches (which were used against ind,Oz, wI,etc) then result will be more brutal. ENG cleverly avoid those pacey pitches. but as i said about AFRICAN DEADLY BARRAGE any pitch any place. i don't undrstand why indian fans mention india in SA vs ENG?

Posted by i.love.ice.creams on (August 21, 2012, 15:39 GMT)

There isn't much left for the critics to yell at the English but I'd like to point out that having destined to lose the #1 thrown even after managing a draw, it would've been worthwhile for them to fight and play fast enough, attempting to secure a nearly but not completely impossible win. . They never chased like going for a win but only aimed at a draw which is sad.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

well done sa u r truly wrld champs

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

jb633, Wow you are a morden day Nostradamus, any chance you can help me with some lottery numbers.

Posted by Crick.lover on (August 21, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

@ChrisLawNZ - It looks as though NZ is soon to become the South African C team!

Posted by kunderanengineer on (August 21, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

As an Indian fan I have to say that I am really embarassed at some of my fellow countrymen taking potshots at the English team (in complete contrast to the classy low key celebrations by the Saffer fans). If the Indian teams that toured England and Australia last year had shown just one-tenth of the fight put up by this England side they would have earned the respect of cricket fans all over. At least the England side that toured India last October were able to win a T20 match in India; the Indians won nada in England and Australia and struggled even against the county teams in England. So rather than celebrate the failures of others and bask in other peoples' glory we should be focusing on the pathetic display by our own team outside the subcontinent. And for those who think that the coming series with England is going to be a cake walk for India, I wouldn't be so sure.

Posted by Charles_Fortune_Favours_the_Brave on (August 21, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

@ Gerard Perreira - What you failto remember is that i nthe past few years, SA has beaten both Pakistan and Bangladesh away, and twice drawn away in India - the only side we haven't beaten on the sub continent itself is Sri Lanka. So perhaps we ARE more deserving of the number one status than most?...

Posted by BellCurve on (August 21, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

For the last 47 years (from April 1965 until August 2012) SA has had the best W/L ratio of all Test teams. The list looks as follows: 1 SA 2.02; 2 Aus 1.84; 3 Pak 1.21; 4 Eng 1.08; 5 WI 0.93; 6 India 0.91; 7 SL 0.84; 8 NZ 0.58; 9 Zim 0.17; 10 Ban 0.04. Notice the massive gap between SA and Aus at the top and Pak in 3rd place. Any all-time Test XI should be packed with players from these two countries during this era. SA thoroughly deserve their No1 ranking.

Posted by Arthur_13 on (August 21, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

Great to be number 1 (finally) the choker tag avoided finally, and the future looks bright. Now to stay there. Hopefully SA work at it and dont take it for granted so so that sometime in the future people may look back at this SA cricket team and give them the due credit that they deserve.

As regards England no disgrace to lose, although the circus (KP!!!) and bad decisions (dropping Swann- inexplicable) did not help (meant that Eng were never settled) 2-0 was harsh but fair. The future does look bright though if they can sort themselves out - great bowling attack (they knocked SA over almost twice) and some very bright batting prospects (Bairstow, returning KP and sorry Strauss, i think you are the weak link batting wise) Sort yourselves out as the world wants strong test playing teams!!!

The best part is what a great advert for test cricket.

Posted by Raja4mIndia on (August 21, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

@Its time to face difficulties for english team and need to be ready mentally for the coming difficult tours.

Posted by desi-blue on (August 21, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

Bet Nasser Hussain was pleased with the ENG fielding because not so long ago he had some choice words for the fielders from the Indian side..lol...btw how good is a certain Mr Gary Kirsten???..first guided IND to no.1 in tests,then led them to the world cup and now has guided SAF to no.1 as well...hands down the best coach in international cricket today......

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (August 21, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

ovzdatta151 on (August 21 2012, 08:13 AM GMT)..Yes indeed you are right and mentioned good incident about English team when played in India.

Posted by kunderanengineer on (August 21, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

The better side did win the series but I think the 3rd test was a lot closer than the figures indicate and England should be given a lot of credit for not folding up their tent when they were down 45 for 4. I have new-found respect for Prior in particular for his fighting spirit and very savvy wicketkeeping. As for SA's Man of the Match I think the question on many people's mind before the match- "What's wrong with Big Vern?" has at least temporarily been put to rest. Overall a great advertisement for test cricket. It's such a crying shame that these 2 teams don't face each other until December 2015 (that's over 3 years from now!).

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (August 21, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

The definition of a number 1 is being the best, not necessarily a world-beater. South Africa has been a number 1 team for a while, I don't care for the flawed rankings, which kept England at number 1 in spite of being white-washed by relatively lowly (6th ranked) Pakistan. SA will lose the odd game and even an odd series (I hope Pakistan can beat them) but shall remain at number 1 as long as they win more than the others - beating every team every time is not a realistic scenario for any team. Even in the heydays of the brilliant West Indian team (who remained number 1 for 15 years) they could not beat Pakistan in any of the 3 series they played against them.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

GOOD…GOOD…GOOD. So England lost at their own home. A place where England does 'well'…. Like all other teams. Except they only lost to India in '07 and lose to Australia every year because Australia plays them every year or two or four. Exactly a year after they took the no.1 from India they have lost it. JUST A YEAR. In the one year they held the top spot they lost 5-0 to India in ODIs (remember its still a 100 overs unlike T20) and somehow drew 1-1 to Sri Lanka, lost 3-0 to Pakistan ranked No.5. Does a Top ranked team lose like that? So IS IT a Top ranked Team? NO for Godsssake! The only team to have held the No.1 spot for such less time. India held that spot for 2 YEARS playing a variety of opposition. They beat South Africa in South Africa and would have won that series had it not been for a single...a single Jacques Kallis- Mark Boucher partnership. So the India Born Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander do it for SA.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

england have always been the pretenders, never the best, in the long run. only clive lloyd's windies and the legacy later on handed to viv richards and steve waugh's aussie and the legacy handed to ponting(not in his final term) were great teams. india achieved the no.1 spot then england and now south africa, but the journey to being no.1 is so exhausting that it is difficult to maintain it...lets watch south africa in australia...it will be a good series as the series between england and south africa.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 21, 2012, 13:24 GMT)

@karthik_raja on (August 21 2012, 10:08 AM GMT) SA now deserve the number 1 ranking. Unfortunately for England they performed brilliantly to get to number 1 but have played like a lower tier side ever since. No objections , no excuses.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 21, 2012, 13:24 GMT)

@CSKftw on (August 21 2012, 07:56 AM GMT) Both as bad as each other. India obviously lost to a higher ranked side so in that respect it was obviously not so bad but when you look at the margins of defeat India's were much heavier against England

Posted by lankavigi on (August 21, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

I think the ashes should be expanded to include South Africa. The top three test nations in the world . Teams like India, Sl and new zealand can only dream of getting the test mace. Pakistan have a really good chance to cement their position in the top 4. England, australia, SA and Pak are the only good teams remaining in test cricket. The rest are simply USELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 21, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

Mark, what happened to Fortress England? Smith has put another English captain (the 3rd) to the sword.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

im so happy for south africa,congrats. that's true,i never considered England the best team in the world.South africa go go go!!!!!

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 21, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

How terrible are England? Their lack of depth is there for all to see. It is only made worse by the fact the barmy army know nothing about cricket and are embarassing to listen to. England don't play in the spirit of the game; starting with Prior. Howd the imports go for you England?>

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 21, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

South Africa dominant in every facet of the game. England truly are terrible and now even their imports can't prevent their slide due to an imense lack of talent.

Posted by lankavigi on (August 21, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Lost hope in SL cricket, but am now enjoying SA cricket. The best in the world with loads of top player. The greates ever in the world, Jacques Kallis. Absolutely the best!!!!!!!! Am even planning to change my display name!!!!!!

Posted by 360review on (August 21, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

@England fans, brace yourself for what you gave Indian and Australian fans. It is payback time and more to come. Any lame excuses for loosing the 3rd test just shows ignorance and shying away from the facts.

Posted by Shafaet_001 on (August 21, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

@Enigma734: As far as i know odi ranking is updated after each match unlike test ranking which is updated after a series. Eng are fractions ahead of saf in odi at this moment,so a series win should put saf on top.

Posted by bigwonder on (August 21, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

@bMike, someone got whitewashed in UAE recently (I am not going to say who either) then lost another series at their home and still dreams about getting back to number #1, ha ha ha , what a joke for a ranking obsessed team.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 21, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

Fourth place it is then!! Ha ha. Seriously, how can a team rise and fall in these rankings so quickly? They don't mean a lot, unless you get a truely outstanding team like SA who are clearly no.1. But then you don't even need rankings to tell you that.

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (August 21, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

@ChokkaShokka,no side z wrld beatr nowadays,can u mentin if there z any? I realy respect and suport saffas bt honestly speakng,i dn't thnk that it would b easy to win test series against pak in subcntinent n uae,dubai,for any team be it sa,aus,eng,wi,or even india,bcoz on flat tracks our batsmen r vry competitive jst like d indians(especialy in tests) while our spinrs r gd enuf to wrack any big team especialy non.subcntinental.

Posted by CandidIndian on (August 21, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

JG2704-Very nice to see you too ,like you mentioned correctly players were eager to win instead of blocking everything to keep loss margin at 1-0.Its a sign of a good test team with required positive mindset for future games and in my personal view England lost the series but not the respect.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

Cannot but agree fully with "IRON COBRA", "As for England, what goes around comes around. Arrogance never lasts. They were never really the #1 team."

England test selectors & board were so arrogant & unconcerned abt Englands success that they went in the last test(LORDS) without their best batsman"KEVIN" for years & architect of many England successes in recent years.. They forced him to withdraw or dropped him.. I don't know if it was a conspiracy.. If Kevin Pietersen was there in the team, England had all the chances of winning the final test, drawing the series 1-1 & retaining their no.1 test spot.. But, it was not 2 b & England board/selectors' old historical Imperialistic instincts prevailed & they're having a long tug of war with their best player "KEVIN".. If I'm English selector, I wud invite him to play 20-20 world cup in SL & let him opt out ODI format & pick & choose his matches.. In any case, he shud b a permanent fixture of their Test team, as he's their best playerAMEN

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

South Africa has now a much wanted variety in their bowling attack which they were lacking sicne the retirement of Shaun Pollock. With Philander coming in as a geniune Swing bowler and Imran Tahir coming in a leggie, they are now looking like a complete team. I hope they don't lose they way just like India and England did. For SA, the real test will be winning in the Sub-Continent. If one goes by the test results in the last 5 years, it is very clear that every country is getting better and better in thier own back-yard but are unable to do well outside their terrain (barring for this English team which did well in Aus).

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

The rankings are a sham England could never be considered the best team in the world even when they held the number one ranking. In fact there is no team right now that can be considered head and shoulders above the others. even the South Africans have got to go and beat Sub Continental teams in Sub Continental conditions. Steyn and Morkel have all played in India and failed to impress. Tahir looks ordinary. Just a coat of varnish separates the top five teams.

Posted by jb633 on (August 21, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

continued.. Sri Lanka will have an almighty struggle once their 2 big guns age and they will struggle to win in both home and away conditions. The lack of seam bowling will ensure Pakistan will be the team to watch out for. Azar Ali and Shafiq will stabilise their batting and they will torment sides with their bowling attack. Azar Ali will become their new Yousuf and will score boring, but big hundreds home and away. Junaid Khan will master the art of reverse and provide them with a threat in seaming conditions. I expect big things from Pakistan. Bangaladesh will improve dramatically and will win a couple of major series at home. Tamin will begin to mature and will start to score more match winning hundreds. If they produce a crumbling deck they have good chances to win home series with Shakib and Razzaq bowling long spells. I expect the next 5 years to be an intresting one for test cricket and the survival of this format. Lets hope T20 is a flash in the pan.

Posted by martin000 on (August 21, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

Seems like SOME Eng fans are reaping what they have sowed some few months back :P.. Grow up guys & (Some English Commentators).. Be humble and polite even if u r on top.. One day you have to come down:)

Posted by jb633 on (August 21, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

My predictions for test cricket in the next 5 years. SA will hold onto the no 1 spot for 2/3 years until they tour Asia where they will come unstuck without a top class spinner. WI will become the new India. They will be formidable at home with crumbling tracks and play 2 spinners. Narine will bag heaps of test wickets and they will eventually build a fortress based upon their spinners. England will hover around 3rd/ 4th losing series in Asia but winning at home. India will continue to lose test match series and the majority of their big guns will discard test cricket and venture round the T20 leagues making millions. New Zeland will become the laughing stock of world cricket as their big names are lost to the IPL and will prop up the test rankings. They will only play 2 test match series at home and 5 T20's. Aus will undoubtedly make a resurgance and will be pushing for the first place spot once their yougsters mature a bit. They will have 2 hard years but will recover.

Posted by Sugath on (August 21, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

Well you can see what would have happened if Peterson was there instead of Bell. England would have won the match easily. So much for ECB arrogance. What a shame

Posted by bhopinder on (August 21, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

They deserve to be no. 1 team in test ...not too far from no.1 for ODI ranking , I am sure they will acheive it also after Eng ODI series ... they have been playing quality cricket , i wish they win world cup too...very best for SA to be consistent and be at no.1 in both ODI/test cricket ..

Posted by indiasupbangalore on (August 21, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

As an indian supporter it feels so good that england are no longer number one team, I was routing for SA all along, the wound inflicted by england to india last summer will be returned back this winter.

Posted by g.narsimha on (August 21, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

SWWASTIC-123-U R TOTALLY wrong maan INDIA will regain no-1 ranking by AUS tour of INDIA NEXT year , ENG-no way can win in INDIA mark my words my dear , our youngesters thrashed them 5-0 in odis ,3-0 white wash in uae ,no way they can win at our place our young team is more than enough , if they can boast of their 4-0 win at THEIR home , than why cant we think of our home .

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

Congrats to South Africa on winning the series.Cherish the moment guys.What place better than Lords to create history. Mark Boucher's eye injury didn't affect their performance instead they were determined to win the series and dedicate the win to him.Well done Graeme Smith and congrats on becoming the most capped test skipper Well done to the England team.They fought the match till the end when not many anticipated them to do so.Thanks a lot guys for the wonderful and entertaining series.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

The end of the chokers tag - finally!!

Posted by beyondanything on (August 21, 2012, 11:02 GMT)

That's it. Its all over for ENGLAND. End of their "short time" glory. I believe for another decade from now, they will be in the receiving side. Bye Bye England...

Posted by SuperSharky on (August 21, 2012, 11:01 GMT)

Congratulations Graeme Smith, Gary Kirsten, Allan Donald & Co for taking your country to number one! This was a brilliant Test Series and great cricket from both countries. It's a pity these two nations doesn't play each other more often. It was also a great fightback from England in the last Test. Thrilling to see how Prior, Swann and Bairstow went all-out with a Graeme Gooch and Andy Flower approach. Proteas was glad their wasn't another KP "on song innings". And this was another nerve wrecking Test finish like that Test at The Wanderers last year 21st Nov. Ponting scored a valuable 62 and Mitchel Johnson and Pat Cummins took Australia to a narrow victory, after their demolishing Cape Town defeat, to level the series against the Proteas. Now for the ODI's that will start Friday. I don't think it can match-up to this exciting Test series, but I'm sure the Proteas would love to take revenge after reminding them of their last 5-0 whitewash ODI defeat against England in England.

Posted by dogcatcher on (August 21, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

To all the press and ex oz bowling coach lauding Englands attack as the best ever and media calling the english side one of the best ever , I hope you have crawled back into your holes. The English side is very good and has great talent. The SA attack is very good and side too but even so no where near the majesty that was the West Indies or the late eighties/ nineties Australian sides. SA has a lot still to prove and if still at the top in 5/6 years time we can start echoing those words. Until then they are a very good side.

Nice win chaps and great determination by the English to make the last day into a close game.

Posted by edgie on (August 21, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

At least we alll know now who Dale Styen was refering to as his new "bunny". Stand up, Jonathon Trott, take a bow.

Posted by CSKftw on (August 21, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

@bMike Considering how England haven't won a series of any kind in India since 1985, how they lost 0-5 in an ODI series in India to the same Indian team they beat 3-0 in an ODI series in England a month earlier and how easily they were thrashed 0-3 in a test series by a team ranked no.5 in conditions similar to those they'll face in India, it's perfectly reasonable to believe they will do it again. England and India are both teams which rely heavily on conditions. At the moment India are slightly worse than England in adapting to alien conditions since they were whitewashed twice in recent times, however England have not done well in the subcontinent in a long long time and India are a lot more dominant in India than England are in England, as proved by the SA series.

Posted by edgie on (August 21, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

Way to go my boys!!! Show them poms how it's done with both bat and ball (and fielding too). Now to defeat the Aussies in their backyard, again... And for those who think the Protea's cannot do it, the last time the Proteas beat England at home, they went on to beat the Aussie's in their backyard that same year!! and that was not that long ago either...

Posted by Chesty-la-roux on (August 21, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

yorkshirematt, no you can not, but you can drop to 4th place by losing in india.

Posted by warnerbasher on (August 21, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

Folks even as an Aussie I find this unbelievable but according to the way the ICC rankings are done if( a big if)Australia beat South Africa in Australia we return to number 1.

Posted by Gappistan on (August 21, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

Take a bow Gary Kirsten.. The real superstar behind the number one test team.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 21, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

It was an achievement for England just to get to no.1. I think other England teams would have lost a few series in that successful period between 2009 and 2011, so they are'nt necessarily a bad team suddenly now they've lost to the true no.1 team. Just not as good as they thought. By their own admission they needed to keep improving to stay no.1, but they went backwards as soon as they got there, especially the opening batsmen.

Posted by shetakebanti on (August 21, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

well done Proteas ,,, hats of to Amala & philander but it all a team effort India Hav to learn from africans

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

They Truely Deserve it....unlike England and India..

Posted by Marcio on (August 21, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

@Sandeep Albert Mathias, another point to note is that Australia won 4 of the 7 internationals on the SA tour - drew the tests and T20s, and won the ODIs - so it can't have been just luck.

Posted by Tamil_SL on (August 21, 2012, 10:22 GMT)

What happened to all the people who were saying that England are here to stay after they removed India from No.1 spot ? Only Aus had a long stay at the no. 1 spot. All other teams win a series and lose a series.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

@yohoo , Dhoni equals to Dinesh Ramdin when comes to test cricket Prior used to be very bad before. Now he is one of the best WK because sangakkara is no longer keeping

Posted by BigDataIsAHoax on (August 21, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

Congratulations to South Africa!! We have a genuine #1 side here. Hope they keep the standards high. Special praise to Gary Kirsten and Alan Donald! Donald is one of my top 3 favourite fast bowlers along with Dale Steyn and Wasim Akram and I'm really happy that he has made an actual difference to this bowling attach which was head and shoulders above the English attack (only good at home...er...used to be) . Notice how Morkel is hitting better lengths than ever before. As for England, what goes around comes around. Arrogance never lasts. They were never really the #1 team. Happy to see sanity prevail in the end.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 21, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

Can we get back to no.1 IF, and it's a very big IF, we somehow manage to win in India?

Posted by karthik_raja on (August 21, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

Well. Fantastic match. SA deserves #1 spot. Eng put up a good fight. Congrats to SA and hard luck to Eng. I guess at least now, my Eng mates will agree with wt I have been repeatedly saying in these forums. "Eng is definitely a good test side but not as BEST as they seemed when they played Ind last year. Ind were deservedly ranked #1(check from '07 to '11 - in case some1 wants to) till they lost it. Eng were also deservedly #1. And SA is now the current #1 without any argument." Any1 still objecting with this? Looking forward to Ind-Eng series.

Posted by DeathKnell on (August 21, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

__PK on (August 20 2012, 22:39 PM GMT) - you would never hear that from Aussies, because they have long rope to climb back.. unlike Eng that was hanging by a thread ever since they got #1 (even getting to no#1 was shooting a dead duck again & again).. that was the best that cud have happened to Eng (& it happened - points poured in when they beat a tired & listless India then & shot eng up to #1).. if they did nt reach #1, then they would not have reached there - no matter what (u know what has happened after all)...so no wonder Strauss says that, but above all I respect Strauss - he is a very fine gentleman in that squad...

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

SA deserve to be no.1 and they have shown it to the world.....gr8 series for them. they have simply outplayed the overrated England team....shame on them even they were even compared to Aus and WI team....ppl who compared this England team with those gr8 teams a hard tight slap on their faces by S Africans....well done SA they really deserve it they have beaten Aus in Aus in 2008 and hopefully they will repeat it in the coming series ......

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

England stayed at the top for One year from Aug 2011 to Aug 2012. While India stayed at the top for 1.5 years from Dec 2009 to July 2011.

While at the top Indians never lost a home series( Lost only a test ). while Poms lost the home series against the Proteas badly.

Its shame that people started comparing the current English Team with the Great West Indian Team of 80's and the Great Aussie team from 1998 to 2007.

Posted by ChrisLawNZ on (August 21, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

South Africa A team triumphs over South Africa B team - Big deal!

Posted by cric_fan_ on (August 21, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

@Munkeymomo ha ha that's one way to look for balance but I know whose comments to read when I want to laugh and whose to read when I am looking for unbiased perspective on the game. But whether there is some bashing going on or some honest views being shared, comments here are always entertaining to read.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (August 21, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

@front-foot lunge, man u r a real comedian! England head and shoulders above the rest eh? LOL.

Posted by atthipatti on (August 21, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

With all this happening and sinking in...I wonder where my friend Mr. 5Wombats is hiding in his burrow? I must appreciate some of the Eng fans here really being men enough to be gracious in their defeat and acknowledge the oppositions's success....

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (August 21, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

One day into holding the no.1 spot and my beloved SA is already being threatened by a few ozzie upstarts sharpening their knives for the tour later this year. Just a friendly reminder to my ozzie friends that we (SA) beat Oz in Ozzie and fairly convincingly too. That was a very good Ozzie team then, now its looking a bit thin in batting but has some raw talent in the bowling dept. SA on the other hand has only improved its personnel since and not lost any key players....Game on, I cant wait for this series against Oz, which will be far more challenging than the England tour.

Posted by SamonandTrout on (August 21, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge, you must be joking right? Or perhaps trolling. Any match has whatifs, sa could do the same thing, what if kallis and peterson didnt get bad decisions, or the couple of catches sa dropped. Catches win matches, they are part of the game, the players are responsible for them, they aren't luck!

Posted by bMike on (August 21, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

@pitch_curator: Just few months ago someone was flatted, got hammered & got 4-0 whitewash in England (I don't say anything about 4-0 whitewash in Australia) and now thinking about beating England 2-0 ha ha ha . This could be the biggest joke ever

Posted by JG2704 on (August 21, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

@jb633 on (August 20 2012, 23:37 PM GMT) I don't think England will shy away from home truths even now. Obviously I agree with your 5/1/5 and despite KP looking unlikely to ever play for Eng and if rumours on reasons are right then correctly so. I actually trust none of our batsmen right now but if you had to push me I'd either have Compton as an opener or move Trott up and bring in Taylor. I'd even make Bell prove himself - if there's a lions tour to a SC country or if he can play some club cricket somewhere that way - because he was worse than anyone in UAE. Re bowlers , I think I'd go Woakes , Swann , Anderson , Onions , Monty

Posted by JG2704 on (August 21, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

@CandidIndian on (August 21 2012, 02:16 AM GMT) Really nice to see you back again. I do feel that Eng as a whole went in with a safety first mindset but guys like Jonny,Broad,Swann,Prior showed that they actually wanted to win the match - no matter how unlikely it would be

Posted by JG2704 on (August 21, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

@anuradea on (August 21 2012, 03:04 AM GMT) Yeah right , because WI were immense when Gayle was in the side weren't they ?

Posted by i_dieforcricket on (August 21, 2012, 9:08 GMT)

Congrats to the South African team. In the past decade, in any team have deserved this No.1 sport apart from Australia, it's them. Being an Indian i was very proud when India was at the top. But honestly we never had the bowling to be No1. The moment Zahir was injured our team looked half in size. The moment England stepped into the sub-continent their real class came out. Now here is a team which looks like a real No.1 team and at the same time beatable and compete able not like the Australian team of the last decade which always looked unbeatable. All the best to South Africa.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (August 21, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

Top class Test cricket. England with nothing to lose attitude, really lifted the last day. Johnny Bairstow was the one who gave them belief and Prior, Broad and Swann followed up with refreshing bravado. Another twenty runs before the new ball and every S African would have started to mention that dreaded word: CHOKE. Well done, Vernon Philander, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith. S Africa thoroughly deserves the mace.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

Gr8 going guys ... Well played & had a good entertaining match :)

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 21, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

While 50 runs is not a huge win, it is undoubtedly significant. There are plenty of ways England could have won this match, but there are also plenty of ways they could have lost by a greater margin. In the end, they just weren't good enough to beat a SA that made the most of their opportunities and undoubtedly played very well. England have to improve in a lot of areas, not least of which is in their catching. Even with below par batting and bowling, if their catching had been up to scratch they could have at least drawn the series. As far as rankings are concerned, even a drawn series in India will hurt them and I just don't see them winning. England need to forget rankings and just concentrate on improving their game. If I see improvement in India then I'll be happy. If they continue to improve then the results will come at some point and, as has been said before, the rankings will take care of themselves.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (August 21, 2012, 8:31 GMT)

@cric_fan: Balanced comments section? Oh you mean taking an average? Haha, guys like Front-foot-lunge being on one extreme, overrating England, and then guys like RandyOz baiting England fans. Take the average and you get a balanced view! Haha, I know what you mean though, I rarely read the entire article any more, the comments section is much more fun anyway. Always a bit of banter about.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (August 21, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

South Africa fully deserved it, well done them. England would have stood more of a chance if they had held their catches. Bowling performances were good in the second two tests, Anderson once again not getting the wickets he deserved but Finn picks them up. Broad was slow and is perhaps in danger of being dropped. Batting wise England were completely outclassed. Amla, Kallis, Smith and even Petersen, who has struggled against county bowler this year, performed brilliantly. Englands top order were missing. SA Fielding was much better, the batting was much better, the bowling was better in the first test, evens in the second two. Swann is still better than Tahir, though I rate him a little higher after this series, I still don't think he is a top test spinner.

Long story short, it was fun while it lasted, SA fans, enjoy your time at the top, you deserve it.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Congratulations to SA they deserve this no.1 spot, as far as england concerned they dont deserve the no.1 spot, when they took no.1 spot from india they talk too much specially Ian botham he wrote that "india dont deserve no.1" now today as an indian i will say england dont deserve that spot

Posted by A_Yorkshire_Lad on (August 21, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Congratulations to the Proteas on their series win and ascendancy to top spot. We have been outplayed by a better side , it's as simple as that. Although we put up good (and better than expected) fight yesterday the writing has been on the wall since the 2nd and 3rd days at the Oval and I don't think bemoaning the odd dropped catch would have made that much difference - the abscence of KP might be a different matter ! Either way , congrats to SA.

SpecialSauce - i agree , here's to more 5th day down-to-the-wire nail biters !

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 8:19 GMT)

First up congo to SA team..they are the team to beat!!!. The writing was on the walls when SA arrived, they wud sntach the No1 position. To be farnk the matches that Eng team won ( I guess all the test matches ) they have won to attain tat position was in their own backyard. SA might have a tough series in AUS, but as of now English fans would have to wait for their No.1 position for a long long longgggg time. I think the next test series in Ind Vs Eng in Ind. Get ready to be white washed Strauss and Company. My year end prediction ..Eng team wud rank NO. 7, jus above newzleand LOL!!!!.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 8:15 GMT)

First of all well done to SA a deserved series win. To all those England bashers do you actually know anything about Cricket? England got there on merit and while they were at the top for a shade over a year they have the talent to be back before next year is finished. Lots of things going on within the English camp and once they are sorted out they will be back and stronger (Bairstow). For SA they need to find replacements for Duminy, Rudolph & Tahir to stay @ No1 for any length of time not forgetting their aging players. As for the others forget it all the other Test nations would have crumbled @ Lord's enjoy your reign SA.

Posted by ovzdatta151 on (August 21, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

@praveen4honestremark : I really liked your comment bro. Way back in 1993 when England team visited India when they got white washed by our spinners. They blamed everyone from food to our people and weather too. At least our Indian team is not fussy. Most of our players belong from simple middle class family. The humbleness comes naturally to our players.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (August 21, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

Oh the droped catches, the KP drama, the olyimpics, the weather, what a great fightback, so proud of the boys, Australia are rubbish, India are rubbish........ which translates into we got beaten 2 nil congratulations South Africa

Posted by Andross on (August 21, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge relegated India and Australia, and then were rolled by Pakistan... Riiight.

Let's face it, South Africa won 2-0 vs England in England, they're a head and shoulder above YOU now, and don't think that Australia and India won't be looking to pull the ground back

Posted by PrasPunter on (August 21, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

Dear Front-foot-lunge, you can describe in what ever way you want about a so-called great team's success against Ind and Aus, but the bottom-line is that it is easy to reach the peak, but to stay there needs bigger things, which only the WI and Aus teams of the past had. True champions stay there but the also-rans simply get whipped out as we have just seen - right ? Take a break and chill-out before witnessing similar things in india come November. Even if your team manages a draw in india, it will be quite an achievement , isn't it ? God bless Australia !!

Posted by CSKftw on (August 21, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

To be honest England's only noteworthy accomplishment as no.1 was beating India 4-0, although mind you they only became no.1 after winning the first 3 tests against India. Regardless of that, they lost 0-3 to no.5 ranked Pakistan in a 3 match series. Those accusing Indian fans of selective memory seem to overlook this fact, when was the last time a no.1 ranked team was whitewashed by a team that was ranked no.5? What's worse, no.1 team being thrashed 4-0 by the no2 team in their backyard or the no.1 team being thrashed 3-0? Many of England's wins while they were no1 came against weak teams like the WI and SL and they were beaten comprehensively at home 2-0 by SA who India managed to draw both home and away. India also never lost at home, so if India were pretenders England are far, far worse. India at least had the excuse of coming off a world cup win but England don't. This is no excuse for India's woeful form however, they still have to prove themselves, and so do England.

Posted by mthi4life on (August 21, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

SA have a tour in Australia next which is going to be tough.It is more harder to stay at the top than to get there,But I believe that this SA team has the ability to do great things to come

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

poor England couldn't hold the first rank even for a year....

Posted by cric_fan_ on (August 21, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge That's the last excuse you have or will you come up with more for example KP saga. If you can't take catches you deserve to loose, it's not SA's fault if Eng fielders have buttery fingers, they should've had more catching practice in that case. And if you have watched the game SA too dropped catches but their fans aren't complaining instead SA still dislodged Engish wickets. And I don't see any SA fan coming out and whining about peterson and kallis' decisions. A team wins or looses in the field by performing not outside by it's fans giving excuses for loss.

Posted by TsoroM on (August 21, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

Well played SA, the boys dominated England in this series. And they deserve to win it and be number one. Good showing from Bairstow, Prior, Broad and Swann with the bat yesterday afternoon, even though there were a few nervous moments for SA, it was gonna take a miracle for England to win there... South Africa played really well as a unit. Batsmen whether in the top or middle order scored runs for us. All bowlers came to the party and scored some useful runs in the lower order and again hats off to the Big Vern! What an incredible asset to SA cricket, good to see him fire with the bat as well. Now lets wait and see how we'll go in Australia. I'd like to see history repeat itself. Nail England then Australia in the own turfs like we did in 2008 and really hold on to that number 1 spot coz we deserve to be there.

Posted by cric_fan_ on (August 21, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

There is a lesson to be learnt for cricinfo(and other tv commentators) too, I was getting bored to death by articles like fortress England, team to rule for next 10 years, one of the all time great teams(wait, they did include this team in the 5 all time great teams didn't they) so much so that I stopped reading the cricinfo articles and sticked to read the comments section only because I knew there are some commentators there which give honest, balanced and true picture of events. I hope cricinfo take this as positive criticism and doesn't come up with articles like Eng is in pretty bad shape or SA is all time great team, because if they are their performance will show it. Eng wasn't a great team but the aren't a bad team either it's just SA is a better team. I hope to read some balanced articles from cricinfo in the future.

Posted by hnlns on (August 21, 2012, 7:36 GMT)

I think this must be one of the most absorbing test matches in recent times at Lords, where surprisingly the pitch provided for test was one of the best advertisements for test cricket. Traditionally, Lords had been producing very tall scores by one team and then the opponent used to struggle to match that. This test was very very well balanced right from day 1 and remained that way on all 5 days. Let there be more of such test matches in future. Hope the other test centers in England throw up similar tracks that provide an even contest between bat and ball. Nobody wants to see one-sided contests.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 21, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

Woe for the dropped catches. England would've won by a mile had Amla and Viller's dolly been caught, and would have made for the best test match for decades, highlighting just how close the two teams are. England weren't going to play for the draw, and fell going for the win which shows the fundamental competitiveness that's made them so successful in the last three years, like when they consigned Australia and India to the mediocre average-ranked doldrums they've been in for an age now. We just witnessed a series against the world's best two cricket teams. And they're head and shoulders above the much mocked, ordinary sides that languish below them.

Posted by Johnny_129 on (August 21, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

Was England's reign at at top longer than India's??? India did well to stay top for quite a while - not as long as Aus or WI. Remains to be seen how long SA can withstand the pressures - they had a very short stint the previous time! If Gary Kirsten had remained India's coach, I am sure they would have remained number 1!

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (August 21, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

It is a message to English that when your head reaches way above your achievements then you cannot understand where you stand and others stand. Appreciate where it is due. But you have always criticized us Indians whatever may be situation, starting from wins and losses to DRS. For every small thing we are pointed out. Instead you should have concentrated on understanding where you stand in International cricket starting from cricket started and then you have not got this humiliation at home even though after having good bowling strength. It is just that that ego had hurt you back and realise where you stand in International arena from cricket started.

Posted by Wefinishthis on (August 21, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

As I confidently predicted in my comment way back in March 24 2012 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/new-zealand-v-south-africa-2012/content/story/558519.html), SA would become no.1 and it was only a matter of scheduling that England held it for as long as they did since it felt like an eternity waiting for this series. I have in reality been predicting this ever since Philander's debut for SA and have consistently rated him and Steyn the top two bowlers in the world, so I sit bemused why people are surprised that the four players I picked Kallis, Amla, Philander and Steyn were four of the main contributers in this series. I don't understand how people can't predict obvious results like this, it makes for a great cash cow.

Posted by Enigma734 on (August 21, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

just for fun, i went and checked the ESPN ICC cricket rankings. did you know that SA has the following (Test - SA 120 , Eng 117) T20 (SA 130 , Eng 129) ODI (SA 121 , Eng 121) so effectively SA is outright number 1 in T20 and Tests, and joint 1st in ODI's making them number 1 in all formats...is this correct or am i mistaken, can someone please enlighten me if i'm wrong. is SA win the ODI Series, they should be number 1 in all formats? now thats something that would lead to a team becoming legendary (ala west indies and AUS)

Posted by akpy on (August 21, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

yorkshirematt...thanks !! I wish there are more sensible 'true cricket fans' out there who can be patriotic and support their country whole heartedly but not demean and put down other teams, but rather enjoy good contests like this series...India used to tour quite well in the 2000s till these last two tours to england and australia where after being in the contest for some initial periods in the first two tests, they were blown away bcos they didnt have the bowling depth...and of course, their batting did not live up to its normal levels..this happens in cricket and hope ind-eng have an exciting series in november..hope you are visiting to see it..cheers

Posted by SpecialSauce on (August 21, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

At the end of the day the winner was test cricket great nail biting way to end the series well done to both who know what may have happened with KP or at least without the KP drama IMO we have around 4-5 teams that can compete against each other (SA ENG AUS PAK SL) at last without one nation domination and as an Aussie as much as i enjoyed those golden days it did get dull cause you just expected to win, So here's to enjoying much more nail biting 5th day finishe's for all cricket fans cause at the end of the day that's what we all want not done and dusted in 3-4

Posted by Loyd4148 on (August 21, 2012, 7:06 GMT)

As a South African, I would like to congratulate the boys on a thorough series win. It think you showed guts and determination throughout this series. Everyone played a part in this series victory, with Smith leading from the front, and i also think the way he captained in this series was excellent. Our batting looked solid once again and the guys delivered. It was not just one batsman that delivered, all the guys got stuck out there, even our bowlers tried their best not to trow their wickets away. This series victory was really a team effort, our bowlers were all outstanding because if one bowler was struggling with his line and length, other would continue to bowl attack lines and remain patient. I think even Tahir did well given the fact that he was not even given a chance before the series started by some Eng fans, and media in particular. I think if the guys can continue to play for each other and as a unit, as they've shown, then there are lots of positives that they can achieve

Posted by yoohoo on (August 21, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

@Patchmaster - Dude, first accept KP as part of Eng team before you praise him. I love KP too, but frankly the English have never included him in their team (he is always been an outsider for them). Finn is a potential, and that is all he is (just like philander, or Umesh Yadav or Pattinson), long way to go to prove his stripes. Prior is good, but not the best. Devilliers is the best WK-batsman in the world and Sangakarra comes a close second (though he doesn't keep nowadays). Prior - McCullum - Dhoni, kind of fall in a similar range. They are good sometimes / someplaces, and not so good other times.

Rest of the batting is mostly one-dimensional, cant play overseas and all kind of bowling. They are suited for home though. As I said Eng are an average team (not bad), that was over-rated. If KP was present in this match, Eng would have drawn it.

Posted by cric_fan_ on (August 21, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

The crown of thorns err.. the no.1 spot comes back to SA, may be they have learnt something from their previous experience of holding the position and might be difficult to be dislodged from there this time.

Posted by thegoodgame on (August 21, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

What an exciting and enjoyable series this has been! Top class sporting entertainment right till the end. Well deserved #1 for SA - and well played England too. I hope the Indian administrators take some cue and work on building some bowling strength - right now its useless! If you cant get the opposition out twice - then you're no good. Well deserved #5 :-(

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

To all the other people with short memories. South Africa DEFEATED AUSTRALIA IN AUSTRALIA, the last time they played each other there. Australia had to struggle to win their ONLY Test match against South Africa in 2010, and had it been a 3 Test series, they may have lost the 3rd Test (but we may never know)

Posted by yoohoo on (August 21, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

@Shaheen Taori - India was not lucky to reach No.1, Eng was lucky as has been proved over the last few months. India held on to the No.1 ranking by beating SA multiple times in tests (both in india (1-1) and in SA(1-1)). They also beat Aus in Perth, and won a series against Eng in Eng (1-0 in 2007).

At home India beat aus 2-0 & 2-0 and Eng 1-0 (2008). I am not even listing the other teams here. Sure, england beat an aging India side with some inexperienced bowlers (Kumble had retired, bhajji had declined and zaheer was injured). And India correctly lost their No.1 title in that series, they were past their prime. But as long as they held it (for close to 3+ yrs) they held it properly by beating everybody, and only losing one series (2-1 in aus) due to extreme controversies (refer umpiring in 2008 sydney test).

You might like to feel that this english bowling is great, the fact is that they only delivered on pitches that are made to suit their bowling against weakened teams.

Posted by CSKftw on (August 21, 2012, 6:52 GMT)

So what if India had a poor bowling attack compared to England? They still managed to hold the no1 rank for a significantly longer period and had a higher peak rating than England. England have only ever been competitive in one form of Cricket over the years, only recently have they started doing well in T20's, they haven't won a single ODI world cup despite hosting more world cups than anyone else. India has been competitive in all formats and were in fact the better no.1. They may not have been as balanced a team and had to rely on their batting to carry them but they still got the job done, better than England. Compare India's win/loss record with England's while they were no.1, England lost about 6 of their 11 matches.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

@Mark tayler. Cook & Anderson are definitely NOT South Africans. But, Trott & Prior are. Take out the runs made by SA's in the English team, what is left? I am glad that England is developing their OWN bowlers. Bairstow shows that they can do the smae thing in batting too. But will they. Especially when a guy from ZIM is wielding so much power?

Posted by Rohit... on (August 21, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

I believe that a CLEAN SWEEP was at hand, if KP was dropped for the 2nd test as well.------------ England is following the WI way- Drop the best batsman to show who the boss is. --------------- I don't think that England can survive without KP especially when they have to tour the subcontinent now where none of their batsmen can face spin save for KP.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 6:38 GMT)

@Natesan333 Incidentally, the shortest reign at No. 1 in Tests was South Africa, when they lost that position to India. However, that was because South Africa beat Australia 2-1, before India humiliated them 2-0 and beat Sri Lanka later on by the same margin. But you gotta hand it to India, for a team that 'did not deserve' to be World No.1, they competed wherever they went until England 2011, when what happened to them also happened to England soon after.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

Hahahahahahah,No 1 spot for England didn't last very long.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

@Shaheen taori...agree that India didn't have that quality attack...but still the fact they were able to retain their title for 19 months after becoming no1 speaks a lot about their character as a team... India might not be as deserving as SA are but sure did more justice to no1 title than England who immediately after getting that silver mace lose to lower placed Pakistan... India on the other hand held draw with SA on both away n home series (that too after conceding the lead)

Posted by cric_fan_ on (August 21, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

congrats to both SA and Eng for producing such a test match, full of entertainment. Overall, barring the first test the difference between the two teams wasn't much but that's how SA play, their strongest performance comes in the first test and then they slide down. Throughout the series Eng was doing the catching up job, trying to come ahead of SA from behind, except for the first morning of the 3rd test when they had SA 54/4. Looking at this series Eng threatened SA whenever they played positively and aggressively like Bairstrow, Prior, Swann and Broad batted in this test and KP in the previous one. It shows the flaw in Eng's strategy most of the times they play defensively waiting for things to happen which doesn't work against top teams. Had Strauss been more aggressive while bowling by providing aggressive fields , more catchers to the bowlers the result might have been different, something for Eng to think about.

Posted by Cricfan_99 on (August 21, 2012, 6:31 GMT)

@__PK - Yes our team has lost once to Australia and SA at home, But they weren't #1 when they lost.. we havent lost a single series at home while being #1... as for the defeats - considering 2 lost home series in a span of 1986-2012 is not bad at all, not even the all invincible australia can boast of such a home record...

Posted by martin000 on (August 21, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

@Captain_Oblivious, why don't u look after your team's batting woes?? You Aussies can no longer be on top of the game atleast for the next few years coz of your batting.. the sad thing is that you guys don't even have any promising batsmen in BBL and you bench strength is the worst of all... lolz

Posted by RK204 on (August 21, 2012, 6:18 GMT)

oh no!!!!!!!!!!! feel bore to watch test match..........................lol....................who cares no 1 or 2..........................SF is now no 1 bcz ENG let them to be so.......... & another thing now the game is on..........they have now their competitor to fight ..........otherwise at this moment there is a few team who really cares about test matches ..........pls don't mind i may be wrong...good luck ENG & SF

Posted by armourofgod on (August 21, 2012, 6:17 GMT)

@captain_oblivious....Please also take a look at so called Aussie batters...except hussey i cant see any one

Posted by paraman_pathanapuram on (August 21, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

@Captain_Oblivious... u called our bowlers poor... ok but these poor bowling line up never lost a home series in the last decade .. do u call the English bowling line up strong ?? the same lineup which could manage only 2 wickets in an entire match?... well SA is a stronger team ok fine...then what happened to them when they toured UAE and got whitewashed by no 5 ranked team?? isnt that a disgrace ?? coming to India's overseas performance India have won test series in every test playing nation other than Australia and SA....we drew the last test series in SA in 2010-11 against the same team which defeated England now.... If u are an Aussie and a test cricket follower u might remember how Steve Waugh's invincibles escaped with a draw against us when we toured there in 2003 and remember what happened in the fastest pitch in the world Perth in 2008... and also rmember what was the result when Australia toured India last couple of times? 2-0 in 2008 and 2-0 in 2010..can we call that 4-0 ?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 21, 2012, 6:12 GMT)

Good effort from the England lower order but too little too late after the poor performance from the top order. It might not have taken too much for England to get home, e.g. take one more catch or get one more decent innings from the top order or on less run out, but they certainly did get their share of luck too. Congratulations to SA on a deserved win. England have some real soul-searching to do and I'm not sure a tour of India is the best place to regain form and self-belief. Will Strauss be on that tour? Will KP? Hopefully England can do well in the upcoming ODIs and at least restore a little confidence.

Posted by Knowledge_Speaks on (August 21, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

@Patchmaster .. OHH REALLY? what is your team ranking in ODI? Let us all know that if it is better than india.

Posted by Chan_4321 on (August 21, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

England deserved the defeat for dropping KP....Well done SA

Posted by Cricfan27 on (August 21, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

Congratulations South Africa for becoming the best test team in the world ranking. Australia and South Africa are always the top 2. They achieved the position by their performance.

Posted by Ayush_Chauhan on (August 21, 2012, 5:58 GMT)

@Patchmaster... Prior is good.. but best in the WORLD... <<cough....DHONI....cough>>, <<cough....DeVillers...cough>> But I agree with you on Finn, he does look the real deal

Posted by cricket4ever6 on (August 21, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

Congratulations SA! I started admiring SA as a test team starting with the tours they made in India. Despite India being at its rampant best, with Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag at their peaks, SA came very close to winning the series. No other non-subcontinental team had challenged India near the top as well as SA did. From there to the thrashing of Aus in Aus that I thoroughly enjoyed, with Duminy's masterclasses and Graeme Smith playing injured, I've been impressed with SA ever since. Hashim Amla proving as immovable a batsman as a Dravid or Laxman in crunch situations has put SA over the top IMO. When Eng became No. 1, we saw some comments about true dominance ala Aus, taking the crown from Ind who were only pretenders, etc. Good to see there is none of that now that SA has taken the top spot. They well deserve it, more so than Eng if I may say so.

Posted by Jack_Tka on (August 21, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

An amazing day 5. But I have to admit, that Broad started to hit Steyn just for his own amusement rather than to win the match. And suddenly Eng found them nearing the set target. Its not that Eng were playing to win till Broad heroics with the bat. Anyways, congratulations to SA. Eng lost the series in their homeground. Being rank #1 shouldn't have lost the series, atleast drawn it. Like somebody mentioned in the comments section...this Rank#1 think would be moving around from team to team for another 2-3 years.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 5:34 GMT)

I am an Indian but I am really amazed how few of the people here are trying to prove that India was a better no. 1 team than England. With it's C-rated bowling attack, India was still lucky enough to reach no. 1 spot, thanks to their solid middle order. But the test of a true great team is how they perform under pressure. How hungry they are for success. I still remember a test in Westindies last year. It was quite a gettable target. But as they were leading 1-0 already in the series, they decided not to chases down that. That very much summs it up. When Finn made that comment that we still can win, I thought these are just tactics to stay positive. But I was really impressesed by the way they fought. In the end SA reachly deserved the no. 1 title, but England can take heart loosing it to SA only after figthing it till the very end.

Posted by valleypf on (August 21, 2012, 5:34 GMT)

Of course SA beat England. They supplied 14 of the 21 players!

Posted by amilag on (August 21, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

Unlike low quality cricketer, cricket and fan from Indi. these two teams battled it out hard and played one of the best test tournament ever played. Hat off to both teams. It was wonderful, the way both teams appreciated each other's good game at the post match presentation. Had it been dhon. , he will blame the pitch, umpires, DRSs, injuries bla.bla..bla..

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (August 21, 2012, 5:22 GMT)

Congrats to SA, they seem to have a team for all conditions( including the subcontinent), to remain No1 for quite some time as long as their tendency to choke doesnt get the better of them. @Captain_Oblivious I think u shud worry about ur own team which is as average as most of the other teams going around

Posted by Farce-Follower on (August 21, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

@ Captain_Oblivious : As an India, I have no problem agreeing with you. This England team will pose severe problems for India. They definitely are a team of fighters. With VVS and Dravid not around, Indian batting is very weak, while bowling is erratic. And the captain is bankrupt as far as Test cricket is concerned. Good time for Poms and Aussies to be visiting India.

Posted by pitch_curator on (August 21, 2012, 5:04 GMT)

@ bmike -- FYI when India last toured South Africa, the series was tied at 1-1 (same when South Africa toured India). So, based on your logic, India would beat current England side 2-0. Right? lol. England are the most over rated team ever to reach #1 rating. Swan is one of the best spinners in the world..hahaha. Look at him getting thrashed in the 1st test. Waiting for him to come to India to give confidence to our youngsters. hahaha..

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

I am happy and relieved that South Africa did not choke. Their belief and skill held out...but only just. The fat lady had gone to sleep while the script was almost rewritten. I have no nails left and needed to take medication to get to sleep. England supporters should be proud of the way their team fought and came very close to pulling off the 'impossible'. The 2-0 score line does not show how closely the second and third tests were. Well done to both teams for producing one of the most exciting contests I have ever seen.

Posted by aryan_ab on (August 21, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

@mikey76: Do you really follow the Indian domestic cricket and its setup? I would better not comment on domestic english cricket as I dont know much about it. Same way, I am sure you dont know what talent is coming up in India. so just wait and watch.

Posted by MAK95 on (August 21, 2012, 4:59 GMT)

SA are a great team and they deserved the no 1 ranking. England also did well to drag to the last session after what had earlier happened in the match. they were outplayed, but showed something to the world about positive approach, losing with dignity rather than play out for a draw, so hats off to them as well.

P.S.: India were in even worse state when they lost their no 1 ranking. so nothing to be so happy about, you people. India are about as close to coming back to the top as Australia is to losing its test status.:P

Posted by Porky_PigTheToon on (August 21, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

@ Topic ..... The team that can't even Draw (let alone Winning) series in its own home should be The Most Over-rated team of all time. So is England ! I'm Happy for SA. They have the most balanced side but still the difference between this SA and The Mighty Australian Team of Waugh / Ponting era is Spinner. Aus had Warne and SA have ordinary Tahir. If this SA team plays in sub-continent, their bowlers will struggle as fast bowlers don't get much help there and SA don't have good spinner(s) to pick wickets. But still this SA team can play better Cricket than other teams in different conditions. So Congratulations SA.

Posted by BlorScouser on (August 21, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

Well played South Africa. The series was fascinating and shows how test cricket can be enjoyed if the conditions and administrators are willing to support it. On another note, a small part of me wanted SA to choke on the final day, but they were way too professional to let those demons back in. Looking forward to Sa winning in the sub-continent. As for England, they need to resolve the Pietersen issue amicably.

Posted by Porky_PigTheToon on (August 21, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

@ Captain_Oblivious - So called bowlers ? The same so-called bowlers who, last time Australia toured India, got your all batsmen out and handed your team Australia 2-0 whitewash. Isn't it amazing that even on flat tracks Zaheer Khan get all those crucial wickets and your so-called "Fast Bowlers" look clueless ? LOL . . . Mate, u better worry about the (in)ability of your batsmen to play spin. WC T20 is not far. :)

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

Sry ECB......SA have thrashed you.....Sry to hurt feeilings but its true..... so never be overconfident about ENGLISh players......

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (August 21, 2012, 4:43 GMT)


Posted by SAboucher on (August 21, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

Dear "Captain_Oblivious"...true it is that India never had a quality bowling attack to cement them as no1.But they always maintained the highest supremacy in their own backyard.Pommies were ofcourse beaten fair and square by the best team..but remember its on their own backyard which is a disgrace for a team who were tipped to rule the cricket for eons to come..ainitt? Its all about the over rated batting line up...They rightly dont deserve the rank -1....India too didnt deserve it I must agree..But English are for more humiliation on december..

Posted by jango_moh on (August 21, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

@Captain_Oblivious... eng did deserve their #1, and so did IND when they were #1 for almost 2 years!!!! the reason u see many indian fans overreacting is because many commentators (english) had suggested multiple times that ind did not deserve #1, and the rankings are flawed, but once eng became #1, they kept repeating stuff like, "eng are #1 and they reached there bcos they played good, and noone can take that away from them etc"... and im not making this stuff up, i get sky sports commentary, and its very biased, esp Ian Botham... personally, i think eng were pretty good and deserved to be #1 for the almost 1 yr they were... but overall id rate SA definitely as the best team rite now... although they still hvnt won in india yet... also, eng may hve a chance in india now, with dravid and laxman not there... might be tough.. nywys, letsee...

Posted by chokkashokka on (August 21, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

This headline is so misleading.....England got walloped at home .....2-0 and if it wasn't for the rain, the result would have been 3-0. This No 1 side lost every test match it played against Pakistan - not exactly a world beating side these days. There is very heavy bias in favor if England at this website ....just look at the live commentary. Compare that to the commentary for sub continental teams. It has been like this over the past year or so. Can't wait for the !o. 2 test side to visit the sub continent this winter.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

England reached the top using the home conditions to their advantage beating Australians, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, West Indians and Indians, losing against Pakistan in the UAE and now against South Africa in English home conditions. Any team will be extremely good in their home conditions and when they play well in overseas conditions then the team could be rated higher. India also reached the top using home conditions to their advantage. This way, the Australians and South Africans are really pretty good in both home as well as away matches. South African deserved to be on the top. Congrats South Africans!!! Looks like Gary has a magic wand in this hand and he is converting all negatives in to positives using this magic wand. Continue with your good work South Africans and I wish you guys good luck!!! All the best in the coming years as well!!!

Posted by getsetgopk on (August 21, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

A piece of commentary on Cricinfo after the match "5pm: The kings are dead, long live the kings! A dramatic, pulsating, sweat-drenched Test has ended with a 51-run win for South Africa, sealing the series 2-0 and plucking the No. 1 ranking from England's cold, dead hands." England is a well and true home of Test cricket, they may not have players as talented as some of the other teams but their resolve and passion for the format is UNMATCHED. Well played SA and many congratulations for a wonderful game, Eng, you fought bravely and we are all proud of you. From a Pak supporter!

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (August 21, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

There are a few English fans, who are still celebrating 4-0 win against India!!!Believe me, Englan's was at its peak and now they are where they should be...They will sink further when they will tour India. I predict, Aus will regain the Ashes easily

Posted by kaidranzer on (August 21, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

Well played South Africa. The tense finish was a bit unexpected but the result isn't. To be fair, it was all started by Bairstow. Kudos to him for an ultra-positive style of play. Trott seemed to be playing for a draw. Who knows, with KP in the team England might have just crossed the line. They went down fighting and that's how its supposed to be. I have a new found respect for this team. I admit that the Indian team never showed this kind of heart in England. Blame it on Dhoni and his "cool" demeanor. I think India will have a hard time beating this England team in the upcoming home series especially if KP is back. Hats off to both the teams.

Posted by krvij on (August 21, 2012, 4:15 GMT)

SA is no 1, I think the whole world accepts it...i do...they deserve it by all means. A good sports team, not arrogant and not over confident. I hope and wish they remain no 1 for long!

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (August 21, 2012, 4:12 GMT)

Well played SA and Congatulations for being the no.1 test team.@ captain oblivious, The same English fans were ditching at Indians for their poor performances in England last year..But England looked poor against SA in their own backyard.India with their poor bowling still managed to hold on to no.1 for 20 months and won more series than England during their no.1 rank. As no 1 Test side: INDIA 22 mts, 9 wins, 7 losses, 6 drawn (win% 40.91) and ENGLAND 11 mts, 3 wins, 6 losses, 2 drawn (win% 27.27). What you ditch out ,always comes back at you sometimes .It will be good if both sides stop gloating and looking at their team failures instead putting each other down.

Posted by JustOUT on (August 21, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

Wow.... what a moment for Proteas fans this is.. Absolutely soaking in the victory and No.1 They are the deserved recipient of this ranking. Its an amazing feet to maintain undefeated test record in away series. Ppl say they won all the matches at home series and became No.1, but this SA side is total opposite and nobody can claim that they are lucky to be No.1 Great achievement. England is the next best team which reflects the ranking too. As far Indian fans, I don't think India can win series against England at home after the retirement of Dravid & Laxman. They were the pillars when the top order succumbs at times, but without them, the indian middle order is very weak and more over their fast bowling dept is a big worry.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 4:01 GMT)

To all English Fans:Its not just India but any team will struggle against top class pace attack..a lot of fuss was made about India's dismal performance in England last year..but no one spoke a word about the English white wash in Pakistan and India.. historically when it comes to play spin it now very predictable what England will deliver..India has not lost any home series after 2004..and England has not won a series on Indian soil since 1984..so the stats says it all who is the most overrated team..

Posted by jasonpete on (August 21, 2012, 3:58 GMT)

Well played SA.you are the deserving no.1 team who wins matches consistently away from home .Eagerly waiting for summer cricket between aus and SA.who knows aus can back to no.1 again by series win?not sure about the result but it will be a cracking series for sure.Congratulations SA .cheers

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (August 21, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

Congrats to SA. It is a hit at the face of English fans. We mentioned that Eng. doesn't deserve no:1 status because of its inability to win abroad. Just like what English called to Indian team is applicable to them too. Now, Eng lost no:1 status at home which is a shame compered to Indian lose at away. Hope England fans got answer for the question - why their team called as 'lucky' no:1?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

A test match to remember and entertain after such a long time thanks smith and co fr an superb match to watch....

Posted by Korg on (August 21, 2012, 3:50 GMT)

Well fought England !! The NEW BALL only saved SA from defeat. I can say - New ball bought No.1 to SA. The character, England had shown till the end to win the test was Great (not to draw). SA were never been good in this type of situations to pull the things back.This time they are a bit lucky to have new ball at the right time. Anyways, Congrats SA. Now, you are being HUNTED.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

Well done SA . It was a very professional perfomance .They have deserved to be at the top for the way they have played test matches away from home . They would be on top for some years to come definitely .

Posted by Bogelking on (August 21, 2012, 3:40 GMT)

The dream run has ended for the Britons. Thank you SA for giving the Brits a rude awakening regarding the fact that , a superb bowling attack and a glorious batting mainstays could beat the "mighty", "high rated" team in their so called own-" green tinged courtyard". SA was better in the series and they deserve the laurel of the numero uno status. Now there will be humongous task upon Graeme Smith to possess the golden mace as much as possible as he can. But Kudos for England who showed some fighting spirit in the run chase, rather getting bogged down seeing the target. Tough tour ahead for the England team of India, and let us see how they fare well in this humid and placid wicket conditions.

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (August 21, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

What goes around comes around....

Posted by Patchmaster on (August 21, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

@ YooHoo, so let me get this straight, you say that Anderson and KP and Prior and Finn are all over rated - even though they'd all walk into the Aus team ? Anderson is one of the best swing bowlers in the World, Finn is a real gem of a young find, KP is great, and Prior is best wicket keeper batsmen in the World - yet you say they're all over rated ? You need to watch more cricket mate.

Posted by Captain_Oblivious on (August 21, 2012, 3:24 GMT)

LOL, all these Indians are at it again dishing it to the English. I'm an Aussie and admit that England deserved their No.1 ranking. Now they've been beaten by a better team that looks set to finally deliver on its vast talent, with much-needed mental toughness. India in its entire history has only had a team considered the best for a couple of years at most with a poor bowling attack, so I'd suggest that you guys should stop gloating about the English being beaten (but not disgraced) by an excellent side. Look at your own team, especially the so-called bowlers...

Posted by CSKftw on (August 21, 2012, 3:17 GMT)

Hats off to the way Prior, Broad and Swann played though. While it may not have been the smartest choice, their decision to keep attacking relentlessly and risk losing 2-0 rather than play passively for a draw made the game exciting and showed how desperate they were to retain the no1 position, they nearly got there as well. As much as I dislike their media, fans and most of their players for going overboard whenever they achieve something of note I admire the way they fought to the very end. In November they tour India and SA tours Aus, now India don't have Dravid and Laxman anymore and they don't have a spinner like Ajmal either and considering how deep England bat that series may not be a cakewalk for India despite England's horrendous record in India. Australia also managed to draw 1-1 when they toured SA few months ago and with the added pressure of being number 1 SA may have a hard time in Aus.

Posted by Siva-The-Human on (August 21, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

haahaahaaahaa. Now worlds know who is most overrated team in the world. India got white wasehd in foreign soil only not in home soil but what about the so called best team in the world haa haa haa. Thanks SA you have torn the veil of Eng and shows they are just pussy cat meowwww haahaahaahaa.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (August 21, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

What a final day of test cricket in deciding test was on show by two great teams South Africa and England. Prior has stamped the authority as he is the best wicket keeping batsmen in test. Bairstow and Taylor are the future of England cricket and they should get atleast 3 series on trott to prove themselves and command there position, Finn has shown he is the better bowler of the lot england have and i think it will be good to keep KP away and build a team for future with this kids playing in unity. I hope Strauss retires and hands the Captaincy over Cook. Root can replace strauss at the top as Strauss carrier is over he had the dream to see England at top he made it. Now England should start rebuiding when team is going good or they will face the same fate Australai and India are facing. South Africa you were superb, Philander prove his worth and Bowler of the series was Morkel. Rudlof and Tahir had some quite performances but they will get into the form soon.

Posted by landl47 on (August 21, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

Congratulations to SA, a very well played series and a deserved victory. This was an excellent game, with today just as good as the other 4 days. Although SA were never seriously threatened, England did enough to make it exciting, and for just a moment, after tea, it looked as though they might get close. A pretty good effort after 4 of the top 5 batsmen made 12 runs between them. The new ball always loomed, however, and sure enough the Proteas took care of business with the new nut. The second and third games of this series (the first was too one-sided) were a great advertisement for test cricket, with the teams very evenly matched. England didn't take their chances, SA took theirs and that was the difference between the sides. It will be very interesting to see how SA gets on in Australia later in the year.

Posted by anuradea on (August 21, 2012, 3:04 GMT)

Well done SA. to become No. 1 is a great achievement. Keep it up. England, if you want to be No. 1 again and stay at #1, schedule all your tests from may to July at home!!!! And get Pieterson in and look what happend to WI without Gayle, you will have the same fate if you do not bring him in.

Posted by Just_love_it on (August 21, 2012, 3:01 GMT)

So how many years..... oopppss sorry i mean how many months England lasted as #1 ? :) Well done SA u deserve it and u earned it in oppositions backyard which makes it more sweet !

Posted by johnnycash on (August 21, 2012, 2:56 GMT)

Well played South Africa. Well doen to England to fight to the last day. Hammond.....don't take it too hard old chap.

Posted by yoohoo on (August 21, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

Well, England are now officially the shortest duration No.1 Title holders !!! and Losing their ranking at home, what a shame.

It was an over-rated team through and through.

Posted by CSKftw on (August 21, 2012, 2:48 GMT)

I don't see anything wrong with how Indian users have reacted to this. Throughout India's reign as no1 they were accused of not deserving the rank and of the BCCI buying it and the world cup and even the ranking system was accused of being flawed. Before SL toured Eng last year when India were still the no1 side there were articles on this very site about how England were the real no1 team and so on. Although India lost 0-4 to the no.2 ranked team on their home turf, England lost 0-3 to no.5 ranked Pakistan and had that series been a 4 match series, would have lost 0-4 and now they have lost a 3 match series 0-2 at home, something India never did while they were no.1. Of course India lost to Australia as well but they weren't no1 when they did so. Bottom line is, if India was a weak and undeserving no1 England have been worse, as evidenced by what I stated above and the fact that they have been able to hold the no1 rank for only half as long as India could, with a lower peak rating.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 2:48 GMT)

Ha ha ha, now england and their supporters will come up with lot of excuses, well england has lost the series in their home tailor made turf, well more to come fast track bullies, welcome to india, ready for the nightmare

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 2:33 GMT)

Would have been interesting to see the role Kevin Pieterson might have played in this match, especially in the run chase in the second innings. With the exception of maybe Prior and Bairstow (who despite looking a little unconventional in his technique definately possesses a bit of grit), there are few batsmen in this English line-up that can really 'up the ante' when required. Obviously the reason for Pieterson to be left out was not due to his cricket, but one wonders how this match would have gone with his presence in the middle. Full marks to S Africa though - great test match and great series win - deserved no. 1 ranking.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 2:32 GMT)

So now that the mediocre-at-best English team are beaten in their own backyard, what excuse do they have? I have cringed every time they whined when they lost against the Aussies, then came Indians. The typical idiotic phrase that all yahoos use "Indians play on the flat pitch, let them come abroad". Um, did you notice that they have done quite well outside, however, you guys when travelling to India are clueless? There's no such thing as "flat pitch". Every country has a pitch based on their liking. None is better than the other. So stop whining. I hate to sound like I am rejoicing but I am glad now they can get this "No. 1" title that lasted less than Strauss's batting form out of their head, and focus on what they should be doing -- play better cricket WITHOUT whining. And someone please tell Broad that he is a good bowler, but if he needs to even try to be a great one, learn some humility from a few of the flat-pitched blokes. Well done SA, and hope they can retain it this year!

Posted by Romenevans on (August 21, 2012, 2:29 GMT)

I heard swanny started writing a book as soon as he reached the pavilion about his RUN OUT! ROFLMAO!

Posted by Romenevans on (August 21, 2012, 2:26 GMT)

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwn! Fasten your seat belts poms, Its India in INDIA next. LOL!

Posted by CandidIndian on (August 21, 2012, 2:16 GMT)

To be fair ,England fought well in this match,they almost pulled out the victory from the difficult situation .When you are no 1 every team tries to give their best against you, that's what SA did and unfortunately England couldn't catch up but its good that they didn't surrender.In my personal view England did not play badly,they were up against a team in better form this series and that happens in cricket.As far as SA is concerned they deserve the mace,as they have been very consistent ,beating no 1 team in the world at their home is big achievement.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

A great series requires two very good teams. It is not a shame to play hard and loose- someone has to. England tried hard but fell short.Thats life. The series was a boost for cricket, tests in particular. The debate about three or five - an odd number is good enough- here three. The calendar is so full, so many players prone to injury and if one is going to encourage other cricket playing nations to improve & showcase their talents they need to be accommodated as well.What was a dying game is now on a roll and a money maker for the players.

Posted by Hammond on (August 21, 2012, 2:13 GMT)

That run out was the pivotal moment. Great test cricket though, it was a privelage to see two teams of that quality having it out at Lords. Test cricket truly is the pre-eminent version of our sport. Bairstow was awesome in this test as well, I think he will kick on to be a great find for England.

Posted by ashes61 on (August 21, 2012, 1:41 GMT)

Many congrats to S Africa for a well deserved series win. And what a wonderful final Test to conclude this (too short) series! It was a very, very good Test before day 5 & today clinched it as one of THE greatest Tests for me. On the edge of my seat all day, disappointed that the run chase finally fell short, but in a minute or so felt only exhilaration at having witnessed such a match and such a 5th day! S Africa were the deserved victors but what a day for cricket - especially Test cricket!! Did you notice that ( at the most tense moment of proceedings, with ENG amazingly defying the odds and with the very series in the balance) Prior & de Villiers couldn't help sharing a joke and laughing as Prior took guard again? And it seemed as if the smile never left Swann's face. The skill, the nerve, the drama, excitement & vitality of the 15th day of a series which went to the last hour for its climax - fantastic. Rarely have I been so proud of an ENG effort, yet so pleased for our opponents

Posted by WindiesWillow on (August 21, 2012, 1:34 GMT)

Happy for SA. A team that deserves to be No. 1. I think they will hold on to it longer than Engalnd and India.

Posted by Sinhaya on (August 21, 2012, 1:17 GMT)

Sad England lost. I thought England was creating history by the way Prior and Swann batted. Crazy needless run out of Swann made the difference. England are no doubt a great side but without KP their batting looks a bit shaky. Anyway, Bairstow was fantastic and seems least bothered and scores very freely in troublesome situations.

Posted by dsig3 on (August 21, 2012, 1:10 GMT)

Top 7 batsmen in series were South African. Not all were playing for South Africa though. Bairstow and Finn are the only positives out of this for a true English supporter. I think England need to hire some more foreigners to boost their stocks.

Posted by UK_Chap on (August 21, 2012, 1:08 GMT)

No comments from the "Front_Foot_Lunge" in this series, I wonder how he`s doing these days........

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

Well done to South Africa. Convincingly outplayed England. However I am perplexed how Hashim Amla had to share the 'man of the series award' with Matt Prior. Sure Prior was consistent, but he was on the losing end of the series and was competing against a man who scored a triple hundred and a century at Lord's. It is nothing short of ridiculous that he should have to share the honours with Prior

Posted by mudassar786 on (August 21, 2012, 0:52 GMT)

Imagine they had someone like Ajmal in their side,,,,, wow what a team they would be then, well anywayz congrats to S Africa. England are still a v good team an will bounce back for sure. great game also

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 0:50 GMT)

I wanted SA to win this series and become no.1. However, after seeing what Johnny, Trott, Broad and Swann did Today, I admit they showed why they were number 1 team. I wish India showed it in the last English Tour. If the opportunities given by SA batsmen were taken, probably England would still have been number 1.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 0:45 GMT)

Though I will gladly take my cap off and salute South Africa unreservedly as the best team in the world right now, a few things are bugging me? Notably what this has to do with anyone else? Fair enough, if you are Pakistani, you can carp all you like. But India? Was that 4-0 drubbing last summer a figment of my imagination? As for England's inabilities abroad? You do remember the last Ashes series. And as for those that won it. Cook and Anderson aren't very South African to me.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

England cant even win a single match in their home. ENG Fans who blame IND for failing to win in overseas, first ask ur team to win in home against SA. Dont talk about history and give excuses for your team's poor display.ENG is a poor and mediocre team. It is proven by SA. Had SA played against IND in IND, we would have surely level the series 1-1 as we have famously done before and retained No 1 . No team would have lost No 1 status in their home. Congrats SA :) ...

Posted by jango_moh on (August 21, 2012, 0:34 GMT)

congrats to SA!!!! great display of consistent pressure... eng did try(although they had no other choice due to loss of early wickets).... @Chris_P, i dont know which indian fan ur referring to, but i agree that india is quite weak since last yr especially abroad, even more now with a few greats retiring, but neither or anybody can take away the fact that in the last 10 yrs, we have done significantly better than most other teams away from home.... before last yr, india beat eng at home, drew in SA with the same team that is playing now(except philander), drew against a strong AUS, won tests in NZ, WI, SL.... so what we got from all u guys since last yr has been MEMORY SELECTIVE as well.... ENG is a pretty good team, but not a great one, except for winning the Ashes against a weak AUS team, where have they won abroad???

Posted by thebrotherswaugh on (August 21, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

@Hammond, foreign born English team members; funny, isn't that your pipe dream. What the bulk of the ENG supporter base fail to understand in respect to the so-called ignorant comments about the ENG side is that their arrogance galvanised a lot of opinions against them. Yep, you were a very good cricket side up until attaining that #1 rank, but then it all went to custard. Ego took over from common sense - look at the comments from your journos and most fans prior to this series - 3 nil vs PAK conveniently erased from the memory, and you were still the favourites, with a better, more rounded bowling attack? The bulk of your fan base bought into the hype - I thought we were talking about the 'great' OZ side when I read some of these articles, all of 8-months into the reign at the top. AUS never got beaten 3 nil from 3 away from home in that period, and we're talking around a decade. The better side prevailed, even though you improved in the 2nd/3rd tests. Humble pie taste sour, eh!!!!

Posted by the_blue_android on (August 21, 2012, 0:30 GMT)

@sheila_4 - I'm sure Strauss and Co feel 3 tests are more than enough. I think they are a OK with 0-2 than a 0-4!

Posted by bMike on (August 21, 2012, 0:30 GMT)

Congrats both South Africa and England for playing competitive cricket. England lost to South Africa 2-0 & India lost to England 4-0. So if current Indian team plays with South Africa it would be the all time biggest thrashing. You know who will be thrashed lol

Posted by Lakpj on (August 21, 2012, 0:28 GMT)

SA deserves they were the best team. as for England they rode on as the number1 after so many victories at home and an ashes series against a weak Aus team. Ironically Eng lost at home to loose their No1 ranking. Unlike India and Eng hope SA can maintain this No1 rank for some time.

Posted by the_blue_android on (August 21, 2012, 0:28 GMT)

England( aka CWXI) has players from all over the world and still cannot win in home conditions! Last time SA visited India, we at least drew 1-1!

Posted by Meety on (August 21, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

@OzzyHammond - "...Funny that no-one is talking about foreign born English team members now..." - what like Cook was the leading England run-scorer in the series?

Posted by manojnair73 on (August 21, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

what happened to M Vaughan and N Hussain they all are silent???? England only can do something in their own country if they lucky. there was too much talking they white washed the indian team, reallty check they played an injured indian side and they won. and what happened they went to india they lost badly and even against Pakistan too and now lost against SA in their own home. and lost all the ranking from every format including the much talking t20 as well

Posted by Meety on (August 21, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

@yorkshirematt - what an excellent comment re: India! @jg2704 - the jury was out on Bairstow for me, until this Test. I don't think he'll be quite as good as KP, but it would be hard to see him NOT being a better team man. I liked Taylor too, & think that he got shafted by Trott. Bell's innings (coming from a NON-fan), was hopeless, 4 off nearly 40 balls was a momentum killer, I know that there was a consolidation period required, but he needed to want to score, I see parrallels to Khawaja's inning in the Hobart test v NZ. As for the tail, England possess a good batting low-order, but whilst Swanny averaged 50, I think you'll find that against good attacks, they won't ave much better than 1/6 good innings, which would put pressure on a 5/1/5 split (IMO). The positives, England fought back from a hiding, Bairstow has a lot of promise, & Finn is looking the goods, Anderson was better than a S/R of 98 would suggest. The negatives, only Finn (& KP) had decent S/Rates of bowlers!

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 0:13 GMT)

Congratulations, South Africa. England, be proud for the good fight till the end! An excellent Test Match to savour for a long time. Boys like Bairstow, give hope that England CAN build a very good team, with English boys, if they are not pushed aside half way through their development with imports. Good show.

Posted by RK204 on (August 21, 2012, 0:12 GMT)

oh no!!!!!!!!!!! feel bore to watch test match..........................lol....................who cares no 1 or 2..........................SF is now no 1 bcz ENG let them to be so.......... & another thing now the game is on..........they have now their competitor to fight ..........otherwise at this moment there is a few team who really cares about test matches ..........pls don't mind i may be wrong...good luck ENG & SF

Posted by Harry_Kool on (August 21, 2012, 0:09 GMT)

Where are you Front-Foot_Lunge & Rednwhite army? Your 10 year dynasty has come up short. The 2 BEST sides by far on display? One was, but the other? 1 series win out of 4 after reaching #1. 6 Losses out of 11 this year (ahead of only Bangladesh). Supremely talented England & way ahead of the other mediocre sides! Well big mouth? Where are you? Walking the talk isn't so easy after this disgrace is it? Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Posted by fasttrack on (August 21, 2012, 0:01 GMT)

Its good to see SA take over the mantle from a overhyped Eng team. SA deserve that for their hardwork. Good to see this especially after the english press going all over about the start of a new english era after whitewashing a below par & injury ridden Indian team. Never is the english team going to emulate the great West indies or the Austrlian eras. More so over the loss of one of their great player KP. I am sure the australian team is smiling in the background seeing that they won't have to bowl to KP & also what SA has done to the morale of the eng team b4 the Ashes.

Posted by Chris_P on (August 20, 2012, 23:48 GMT)

@JG2704. To be beaten by a side that was at the top of their game is hardly a cause for grief. First test aside, your lot put up a sterling battle & certainly didn't roll over. But you guys were just bellow your best, and to compete against the Boks, you had to be at your best. As for some of the Indian posters here, grow up guys. I can understand Bok supporters having bragging rights, but seriously, after the way your mob have performed in away tours, this hardly does you justice. Is memory recall so selective?

Posted by whoster on (August 20, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

A thoroughly deserved series win and no.1 status for SA - they've been superb. As an Englishman, we could rue all the dropped catches - but that's what happens to sides when they're put under extreme pressure by the opposition. Our batsmen were constantly being examined by Steyn, Morkel and Philander, and our bowlers were up against a quality and disciplined batting line-up. It was reassuring to see England fight to the end, and the performances of Bairstow and Finn is certainly cause for optimism. It was a fabulous final day of a great series, and SA have really earned their place at the top. As always for Eng v SA series, the cricket was highly competitive and played in a good spirit. A wonderful advertisement for Test cricket, and such a shame the series was cut short to accomodate an overkill one-day series with Aus. Congratulations SA on a great achievement.

Posted by jb633 on (August 20, 2012, 23:37 GMT)

SA have deserved this series and no doubt they are a better side than England. In many ways I am glad this series defeat has set in as it allows us to stop shying away from some real truths. I have said since the UAE tour that this batting line up is so fragile. Originally I thought it was against spin but now I think it is just quality bowling. This should be Strauss' last game as there is little point in him touring India with his complete inability to play any spinner ( average or good). KP should be dropped forever more for his disgraceful behaviour during this series. My England XI for the Indian tour 1. Vince 2. Cook (c) 3. Trott 4. Bell 5. Bairstow 6. Prior (vc) 7. Swann. 8. Broad 9. Panesar 10. Finn 11. Anderson. Any thoughts? Obviously this is assuming Tremlett is fully

Posted by gitapat on (August 20, 2012, 23:31 GMT)

If only South Africa can find a decent spinner they will be unbeatable!

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 23:29 GMT)

@Hammond when you lose,we allow you to rest in peace and not bring up issues of non english players..well we just might.it would be for you to muster the courage to defend

Posted by heathrf1974 on (August 20, 2012, 23:23 GMT)

Congrats to Graeme Smith. During his teams highs and lows he has always showed good sportsmanship. Well Done.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 23:17 GMT)

@yorkshirematt well I think you are giving your team much lesser credit that is due,i know its tough to find positives in defeat but I do not think they are back to mediocrity,well they were actually,only for the first test though.The last two tests have seen England play really tough cricket and they could have drawn the series 1-1 rather than 2-0 down.you are most welcome to India,I doubt if you might see our team drubbing England.I think for sometime Indian Cricket team has become lethargic and arrogant much to the dismay of us fans.Hope to whitewash your team this winter,though the only thing I want to see is good fast bowling from our team.I dont care about the rest because I know we are talented enough in other departments.Till this winter,just breath easy :)

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (August 20, 2012, 23:11 GMT)

I would like to congratulate SA on not just becoming the #1 ranked team BUT also the team that most ACCEPT as the #1 ranked team, no argument. They've proven they can win and avoid losing (important) in most conditions and are not overly dependent on batting/Ind or home conditions/Eng.

Posted by maddy20 on (August 20, 2012, 23:09 GMT)

Atleast Eng put up a fight despite of the circumstances. Johnny Bairstow take a bow I haven't seen a rookie playing two great knocks against arguably , the world's best bowling side, as per the demands of the situation. Grame Swann nearly had SA's infamous chokers tag come to the mind once more, but it was good to see that they held their nerve. Finally a deserving no.1 takes the crown . One can't help but wonder if the situation would have been different had KP played. I would bet my two cents that it would have. I am sure he must have enjoyed seeing Strauss go down!

Posted by sheila_4 on (August 20, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

Aside from the ignorant comments on this thread, as an England supporter I must say SA deserve to have won the series. They outplayed England in all departments, and England did very much look the poorer side. It's a pity that the second test was ruined by rain, and equally sad that there were only three matches in the series. Congratulations SA. Well played.

Posted by warnerbasher on (August 20, 2012, 22:55 GMT)

Ahh Cricindo77 are you suggesting that the Aussie team of the early to mid 2000's were not deserving of Number 1? While the South African team is a fine side I'm afraid they are several rungs below that particular side in class

Posted by Hammond on (August 20, 2012, 22:54 GMT)

Funny that no-one is talking about foreign born English team members now. Interesting.

Posted by brusselslion on (August 20, 2012, 22:52 GMT)

Congrats to SA; a fine side & worthy winners. Engand 'won' the 1st & last days of the series and SA pretty much everything in between. Where does this leave the 2 sides? In SA's case, they can probably expect at least a year at the top. Although Oz supporters claim they have a bunch of exciting young fast bowlers, they are unproven. Other than Clarke & Watson (& Hussey?) the batting line-up is weak so it's difficult to see anything other than a SA series win. Ditto for the series vs. NZ & Pakistan where SA's all-round strength should prove too much: For England, Broad's bowling and Strauss's batting are big concerns and there is a case for replacing either or both. Bairstow & Taylor are promising but it's a big ask of them to fill 4 & 5 on an Indian tour. So short term things not that rosy from an England perspective, however, things will no doubt have sorted themselves out by the time the Aussies arrive next year.

Posted by Hammond on (August 20, 2012, 22:50 GMT)

What a great test match! Riveted the whole time. Congrats to South Africa, and to England too who would have probably made it bar the early collapse. South Africa will be feeling pretty releived. Great cricket all round.

Posted by RK204 on (August 20, 2012, 22:46 GMT)


Posted by __PK on (August 20, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

Haven't India lost series to both South Africa and Australia at home? Or are some of these commenters using some exotic definition of "never" that is unfamiliar to me? I think Strauss summed it up well when he said that they weren't favourites. I don't know whether he meant the 5th day run chase or the whole series, but you would NEVER (there's that word again) hear an admission like that from Waugh or Ponting at the helm of a No 1 side, at home in such a situation.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 22:38 GMT)

Coming from a side who was threatening to dominate world cricket like Aussies. How pundits and cricket experts from England put their team so high on pedestal after every success is worth ROFL.This English team just don't have it in them. Stroke making qualities of SF batsmen is much higher,which in turn puts the pressure back on bowlers. I don't think any team have it in them right now to dominate world cricket'for long.Atleast india wins at home. :-)

Posted by Cricketolympian on (August 20, 2012, 22:35 GMT)

To all the doomsayers out there. TEST CRICKET IS NOT DEAD! Every single day was a sell-out. I believe that those POMS have the most well supported team in world cricket! Fantastic game of high pressure cricket, full of intensity, drama and what if moments. The Spirit of Cricket is alive and well. Well played South Africa, your a credit to your country and a triumph for multi-culturism, South Africa needed this as today is our country is in national mourning. England thank you for your sportsmanship and the tough bulldog spirit that you showed! Your a credit to your country and practice your catching before 2015!

Posted by mikey76 on (August 20, 2012, 22:34 GMT)

It would have been interesting to see how close this series would of been had England held their catches. Yes we were outplayed by a better team but the dropped catches really did kill us.

Posted by mikey76 on (August 20, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

arayan_ab. I really wouldn't get too cocky, the Indian fast bowling cupboard is virtually bare, you have no decent spinners and now Dravid and Laxman have retired the batting looks very thin. Yes we have been rightly dethroned but I like to think we have a far better chance of regaining No.1 over the next couple of years than India do. We have talent coming through, India simply don't.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (August 20, 2012, 22:29 GMT)

I would like to congratulate SA on not just becoming the #1 ranked team BUT also the team that most ACCEPT as the #1 ranked team, no argument. They've proven they can win and avoid losing (important) in most conditions and are not overly dependent on batting/Ind or home conditions/Eng.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 22:27 GMT)

I believe Gary is making a big difference to the SA team. He is THE BEST COACH ever period. Well Done SA and congrats..

Posted by Rob_Sydney on (August 20, 2012, 22:27 GMT)

When your top 5 are dismissed for a total of less than 180 across both innings and you only lose by 50 runs then you're still pretty good team. 5 runs from each of those chaps per innings and it would have been very different.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

Congratulations to South Africa, who have well deserved their newly official status. As an Aussie I am looking to the immediate future with trepidation...

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 22:11 GMT)

very good SA,I am so happy for you beating englang home, they have meet with a better team and they got a good beating, sA will remain no1 team for quite a long time,

Posted by JG2704 on (August 20, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

@ The_bowlers_Holding on (August 20 2012, 20:10 PM GMT) I think one of our problems is that all the players who seem to be knocking hard on the England door are bowlers/bowling all rounders. Granted they've perhaps underperformed a bit but not as regularly as the batsmen. There's no one screaming out to be picked. Anyway - unless Strauss retires - I think the top 4 is a closed shop.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 20, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

@ indianwarrior1986 on (August 20 2012, 20:09 PM GMT) And what about your Australian tour ? At least our fans still have some humility/dignity about us. The only thing that was more pathetic than India's recent away test performances were the post series excuses from the fans

Posted by JG2704 on (August 20, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

@ warnerbasher on (August 20 2012, 19:58 PM GMT) Thanks for the comments. I actually thought our proper top order batsmen lacked any ambition and only when Jonny came in did the tide start turning slightly. However I'm not sure we will be back so quickly and I don't make the KP saga as an excuse. Remember we were pathetic in UAE and not much better in SL and not great vs WI either. We played excellent cricket to deserve to get to number 1 but since then we've not even played like a top 5 side. I think Oz will do better against them as they recently got the better of them on tour and have a much better captain

Posted by Buckers410 on (August 20, 2012, 22:07 GMT)

If the Ashes next year can be half as exciting as this series, we (the fans of Aus and Eng) are in for one hell of an ashes series. Maybe the best ever, if it is like this series. Man I can't wait!

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 22:05 GMT)

i am glad sachin tendulkar hasnt featured anywhere in the comments yet :p

Posted by UK_Chap on (August 20, 2012, 21:58 GMT)

.......Forgot to mention, congratulation to South Africa, Well played.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 20, 2012, 21:49 GMT)

@akpy See my comment below. Not all of us are like that, just as not all indians, australians, pakistanis etc are completely respectful of other teams, but most are. India are and always will be a very good side. Your fine country is the new home of cricket after all. Think of India and you think of great food, culture, majestic wildlife and friendly, hospitable people, and most of all CRICKET!!! They are better than England as, although they have a similar record to England away from home they NEVER lose at home. If i had the time and the money I'd be coming over to watch India give our lot a right pummelling this English winter.

Posted by UK_Chap on (August 20, 2012, 21:39 GMT)

Highflyer_gp : I have read through all the comments below and have found only 1 comment from a so called Pak fan "ExplicitPlatinum", but he does not appear to have a clue about the Pak team. Pakistan have struggled throughout the years when playing in S.Africa I feel they may well improve on previous tours but whether they have improved enough to win or not is open for debate. I do feel it will be a very well contested series with S. Africa taking the series at home. I do not think it will be a white wash for either side.

Posted by straight_drive4 on (August 20, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

Graeme Swann should write a book about this....

Posted by Neuen on (August 20, 2012, 21:30 GMT)

Congratulations to both teams for serving us some entertainment and showed test cricket is still the boss of cricket formats.

Then Smith was much more aggressive than Strauss with the captaincy. SA batsman also didn't force the issue like England who looked like they were chasing a run rate in their first innings of the 3 tests. All the bowlers backed each other up. One did not do well the other one did.

England were to bothered about text messages except for the ginger twins who kept England in the game.

Then I can see this article was with a bit of heartbreak. SA hold their nerve. SA almost choked what it is basically saying.

Well who was worried? Was there a nerve to hold? Lets see. 8 top order batsman perished with the new ball. Smith knew it was just going to try and stop some till the new ball arived and maybe a wicket or 2. Both 1st innings showed what a new ball is doing and how it becomes easier to bat once it lost its shine. England were chasing a lost cause by a clever and adventerous Smith. England batted for survival in all 3 tests and failed twice.

SA won the first Tests which gave Smith a advantage with a little thing called bait. Setting a target in the 2nd test that is gettable and looked juicy enough to chase with the knowledge that it can be the series right there. Strauss pulled out and played for a draw.

Third test again and this time they had no choice. It was just a matter of waiting for the new ball and England fell short.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 21:30 GMT)

At least, India don't lose at home like England (whitewashed away and lost to South Africa 2-0 and to India 1-0 and to Australia almost always before 2005 :)) or Australia (lost to England 3-0).

Posted by yorkslanka on (August 20, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

congrats to SA on taking the #1 spot. to be honest , they do deserve it. England pushed them hard today and hopefully these two teams will do battle again soon..

Posted by santhoo24 on (August 20, 2012, 21:27 GMT)

@ Digimont, Thank god you are none of them you mentioned but yourself, I prefer the world just the way it is right now, rather than being in the hands of impulsive/radical people like you. Leave the guy alone, and embrace the fact that finally a deserving team is crowned the numero uno rather than finding scape goats for the loss and proving yourself a sour loser. Congrats SA BTW.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 21:24 GMT)


Posted by dromfs2 on (August 20, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

Hahahaha.. What a pathetic and useless English team. I was watching last yr and when Botham was saying Eng will be staying on top for 10 yrs.. Eng cricket has always been pathetic and this just justifies it. SA Vs Aust will be an interesting series. Australia are the true Brazil of cricket!

Posted by Gregg22 on (August 20, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

As a South African it really did feel at some point that there were just so many obstacles, whether it be poor decisions, questionable dismissals, the no ball( for which there's no excuse) and just general poor luck. It really felt as if we were playing against 12 individuals instead of 11. That horrible feeling of 'are we gonna go through this again', was starting to resurface, but we WON! They held their nerve and choked England till they eventually had no life left. I think i'm fine with them being tagged as chokers, they're gonna choke Australia next! ;)

Posted by marlboro19 on (August 20, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

Opps , forgot the team i admire most after my own - NZ. They have the indomitable spirit and 'mongreal' which they can unleash at times, and if they had even half the talent available to rest of the top countries they would have ruled the test cricket. All they need is a couple of 'great' batsmen at no.3 and 4, and i reckon they are due now. I would love to see them rise and be in top six. Good luck.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 21:18 GMT)

Well done Proteas..After becoming No. 1 Eng lost 6 of the 11 test matches played and won only 3(of which 2 against WI), and lost the top slot within a year in its own backyard.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 20, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

Re today's play , well I'm actually quite proud of our lower order. It even makes me wonder what might have happened had 3 of our top 4 batsmen done their job properly. However , despite losing fairly comfortably , Jonny , Broad , Prior and Swann all played like they wanted to win. Re the run out of Taylor - my first impression was that it was a silly run , but the replay showed that Trott shaped to go for the 4th , by which time Taylor was half way down the pitch. I know Prior wasn't too happy with Trott in the last test so maybe there's something there. Also it seemed a shame that Swann didn't get a dive out as it looked like that might have saved him but I suppose it's not natural to him.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 20, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

Must say SA put it all together throughout the series. While I think this test and the 2nd test could have gone either way esp if we had taken our chances SA were so dominant in the 1st test they deserve a 2 test margin from that test alone. I did say that SA did not deserve the number 1 ranking before the series and even though on paper they have always been the best team their results have not mirrored their ability. However they thoroughly deserved to beat us and thoroughly deserve the number one ranking so congratulations SA.

Posted by 2929paul on (August 20, 2012, 21:11 GMT)

SA have previously held No. 1 Test ranking spot - in August 2009. They relinquished it to India in December 2009. To be honest, these rankings don't really mean a lot since they don't compare apples with apples. Over any given period of two or three years there is no way you will get all the Test playing nations playing each other home and away over Test series of the same number of matches, which would be the only way to give a true "league table" ranking. In reality there is a lot of subjectivity, which allows all the heated discussion on these forums, so that Pakistan fans can argue that their team is the best, Australians can say their pace attack would wipe the floor with everyone over the next five years, India can say no-one can beat them at home, England can...well we have some really good days and some really bad days, just like everyone else, if we're all honest.

Posted by marlboro19 on (August 20, 2012, 21:11 GMT)

Oh yeah i forgot Sl, and WI . SL could have been in top five as they are very good at home , but they are pathetic away and Ind can beat them at home too. So they have too many weakness . I somehow think WI is going to be at least as good as SL now the gayle issue has been sorted out and they have trusty Chandrpaul. so {SL,WI} make set B - they might ,once in a while, beat top five teams but it's rather unlikely. That's test cricket for now and at least five more years. Minnows will be minnows for a while, though would love to see Ire getting into test club. A very thrilling and exciting time ahead fellows, Let's enjoy the age of mediocrity.

Posted by marlboro19 on (August 20, 2012, 21:05 GMT)

The era of MEDIOCRITY has finally set in. It started with India taking the no.1 ranking, then Eng, and now SA. The team with weighted scheduling at home will tend to get to the no.1 now.(of course Eng couldn't even do that, but they fought to some extent at least). Test cricket now has five almost equal teams: {SA, Aus, Eng, Pak ,Ind} , and the no.1 ranking will be a musical chair between these. All of them have good and bad points: SA is slightly better of the lot but their poor home record evens them out, Aus is good at home and competitive away but they lack a great no.3 (assuming R.Ponting retires soon), Eng are disciplined but sans KP they are not as good in talent , PaK have great bowling attack but they will miss out on No.1 because of lack of home games, Ind relies on Batting and home conditions . I would love to see Pak getting no.1 for a while though ( i am an Indian fan) , seems unfair they missed out on that. In any case this is a thrilling time for test cricket fans

Posted by rock.rockyin on (August 20, 2012, 21:00 GMT)

that was a good fight from Eng . Eng shud hav won the match and a perfect stage of bringing them down would be by India in few months to come India :) Eagerly waiting to see Eng in India on DUSTY SPINNY tracks .My second love SA always facinates me ever since I started watching them . Very happy for them.Congrats!

Posted by straight_drive4 on (August 20, 2012, 20:57 GMT)

this was always going to happen and its about time. england fudged their way to number 1 by playing teams who werent at their best and in favourable conditions. as soon as they get a true test of their mettle it all comes falling apart and whats more is - they all start turning on each other... some number 1 team....

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 20:57 GMT)

Oh wow! South Africa just destroyed England! England were on a big high after defeating the West Indies and Australia but they must've really had a loss in confidence after this series defeat. If it hadn't rained in the second test, then it would've been 3-0. South Africa really deserved to win this series and be no.1 in Test rankings because they played like a team and everyone performed well. Job well done guys!

Posted by Guernica on (August 20, 2012, 20:56 GMT)

Have to say, there have been some odd comments from Indian and Aussie posters during this series, seemingly revelling in England getting beaten. It's pretty much the same England side that thrashed India and very convincingly beat Australia in Australia ('Home track bullies??') . The fact that they were well beaten in this series should make you feel worse about the quality of your sides - now you can't even say you were whooped by the best.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (August 20, 2012, 20:55 GMT)

What a test! @everyone in particular Channel 5 commentators who have said that SA were better than Eng in every dept, I have one question - if that's the case how did Eng manage an innings lead in the 2nd and 3rd tests? I don't think the difference between the two teams is as wide as suggested. IMO Eng have comparing all their performances against a very poor Indian team last summer giving rise to unrealistic expectations. So when they have met opposition of a decent standard including the WI earlier this summer Eng's bowling doesn't seem as sharp and the batsmen's weaknesses exposed . The reality is that Eng is a good team but not as good as Mark Nicholas believes and not as bad as recent results would suggest.

Posted by cricketisagame on (August 20, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

How long England were able to cling to their number one status? After defeating injury laden India in their home conditions, they lost to Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They are beaten comprehensively by SA now in their own yard. Were they ever the number on ?

Posted by shillingsworth on (August 20, 2012, 20:47 GMT)

Disappointed as an England supporter but 2-0 was a fair result. Pleased for SA, particularly as this puts to rest one of the most absurd and tiresome sporting clichés - no one seems to be talking about 'chokers' any more. Ridiculous that the next England v SA series is late 2015 and that, in the intervening period, there will have been 3 Ashes series.

Posted by NP_NY on (August 20, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

Well done SA. Congratulations on the well deserved number 1 ranking. Besides talent and hard work, SA have a great coach in Gary Kirsten and what seems like a very cohesive dressing room.

Posted by 4test90 on (August 20, 2012, 20:39 GMT)

One of the oddities of cricket - Sth Africa are No 1 and yet have not beaten Australia at home for 42 years !!!!

Posted by ProdigyA on (August 20, 2012, 20:39 GMT)

England cant win in the subcontinent anyway, now they cant even win the their own backyard? Numero UNO.. Really?

Posted by Guernica on (August 20, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

Congrats to SA, deserved winners. Would have been amazing but also a bit of an injustice if England had squared the series. Fantastic test-match, all 40 wickets taken, over 1200 runs scored and the game still alive in the final session. So many 'what if's for England but in the end they didn't take their chances at the key moments and were always chasing the game. Great to see that Bairstow seems to have the right temperament. Not convinced by 'Titch' Taylor yet though - reminds me a bit of someone like Chris Read when facing the quicks.

Posted by sirvivfan on (August 20, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

For Pakistan to win in South Africa we will need to have Viv Richards and Brian Lars and Jacque Kallis and Amla in the batting line up to win!ps I am a Pakistan supporter!

Posted by i_witnessed_2011 on (August 20, 2012, 20:30 GMT)

At last a much deserved team has become no.1. Congratulations to SA. Lords test was one of the best test match. I thought before the series that fielding would be the difference between two sides and it seems that was one of the main difference. England dropped crucial catches... Anyway I never believed England should be the No1. Side. It was just matter of time either they start playing subcontinent or a quality side like SA played against them. and I do not read too much into Engalnd's heroic of last day because it was one of those days that it clicked. They had nothing to loose and they took chances, it paid off (That it seems England went down fighting). Bairstow,Broad and even trott everybody had very good luck today.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 20:30 GMT)

After becoming No. 1 Eng lost 6 of the 11 test matches played and won only 3(of which 2 against WI), and lost the top slot within a year in its own backyard. POMS! POMS! POMS! you made mockery of No. 1 Ranking.

Posted by ovzdatta151 on (August 20, 2012, 20:29 GMT)

SA played very good cricket for last many years and they righteously deserved to be number one test side. But kudos to English team too. Dropping KP for this test match was truly a courageous decision on the part of selectors. If KP would have been there maybe the result would have been different one. Anyways I am not taking the credit away from SA team. There bowling is really very strong. Morkel, Philander and Steyn are top 3 bowlers in the world. They don;t give single moment of respite to batsmen. They constantly bowling with great speed and swing. Amla is the best batsman in the world. He is the WALL for SA team. A team consists of best batsman and best bowlers deserve to be a number one side in the orb. England is not way behind nor the Australians. India seriously need quality bowlers. India will face very tough challenge in Test match arena. As Laxman and Dravid retired and to fill there places need some time and patience. Congrats to SA team..4m lovers of Cricket of India.

Posted by 158notout on (August 20, 2012, 20:23 GMT)

Phew, well that was a cracker, shame we couldn't quite get there but it was worth it. Fantastic stuff. Best Test cricket I have seen in ages! Well done to SA, deserved No.1 in the world, outplayed us in every department, the first team to do so for a long while. Glad we made a good fist of it though.

I can console myself with the thought that the Indian and Aussie test teams are both still a shambles.

Posted by usernames on (August 20, 2012, 20:19 GMT)

Over the next couple of years, the battle for the top team should be between Australia and South Africa. For England, I can't see how they are going to improve their record away and just winning against weaker sides at home isn't going to cut it. I'd love to see Pakistan produce a few swing bowlers though as they are the one team from the subcontinent that can play consistently good both outside as well as at home. India is going to be poor -- and I think they are going to struggle to *win* even at home now that virtually everyone has retired -- for the next couple of years so no question of even bringing them into the equation. If SA can improve their home record -- and they are more than capable of doing that -- then they will be dominating like the Aussies did once. For *now* though, they are just ahead and then it's between whoever can schedule and win more at home since basically everyone can't win away and in case of England, not even at home, hah!

Posted by akpy on (August 20, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

Terrific advt for test cricket by both teams and congrats to SA. England played superbly after getting hammered in first test and their lion hearted chase today was awesome. They are a very good team and full of class unlike of course their fans some of whom regularly post in these forums; they are totally classless and will keep putting down Asian teams especially India, mocking their teams and their fans without any respect. It is for that sole reason people want England to lose and oh, the utterly one-sided sky sports team of ex-England players added to the mix. And England is not one of the best sides to reach top ranking as they are utterly useless in subcontinent unlike the WI and AUS teams which dominated. India has never been that good and we Indians will admit it but not the English fans

Posted by usernames on (August 20, 2012, 20:13 GMT)

South Africa are an exceptional team. England, too, is very good but after this, if anyone says that they are in the top two and lead other nations by far, they are deluded. South Africa is way ahead -- though that, too, isn't exactly right since they lose/draw often at home which should count against them -- but England sure as hell isn't way ahead of the rest. They have gotten themselves embarrassed over the last few years on away tours barring one Ashes against a rebuilding and weak Australian team. South Africa are exceptional; Australia and Pakistan are very decent both away and home (Aus drew South Africa in South Africa, remember?) and India, England are decent at home but an embarrassment outside. Heck, if you go back and take a look at the last three years to figure in the consistency of these teams as well, England wouldn't be anywhere near the top three. English media needs to get off their high horses and see the reality now; it was nice while it lasted.

Posted by harshthakor on (August 20, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

This test match was above all a victory for test match cricket containing the ingredients of a great contest.It is a tribute to Englands tenacity that they fought till the last.At 42-4 ,146-6 and 208-7 it seemed allover but the likes of Trott,Bairstow,Prior and Swann made a match of it and gave England a sniff of victory.Today at 3 junctures England fought back in a virtual losing cause and at 146-6 it seemed over bar the shouting.The stand between Swann and Prior was simply electrifying.

It is great that 2 non-white South Africans gave made the greatset contribution to the South African triumph.,namely Hashim Amla and Philanderer.This Proteas unit has the making's of a great team with it's great bowling attack and batting strength.

Overall ,it is sad that England have been displaced so soon from their pedestal.However I must complement the efforts of Bairstow with the bat and Finn with the ball who brought England back into the game.

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (August 20, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

I was hoping Jonny could come up to scratch as I admired Bluey when I were a lad and he has shown he has big kahunas in both innings, I agree with an earlier post and the biggest difference was a genuine all rounder (and more consistency in general). Chris Woakes is hopefully going to get a chance, he is performing week in week out and he is a proper all rounder, play him in the ODI's and Onions and lets see. No need to take a machete to the team as they were maybe a bit stale and lacking a bit of magic/variety (also in UAE) but not detracting from the opposition on both occasions. The more I dwell on the KP issue the more I think he has gone too far and ignoring his misdemeanours is wrong, let him play T20 all year and get the idolatry he craves.

Posted by indianwarrior1986 on (August 20, 2012, 20:09 GMT)

Ha ha ha ha ha... England loses their number 1 crown ... that too at home... Those Indians where number one close to 2 years.... Wheares England were on top for just a year.... The pommies went ga ga ga over their team... A year later they lost their crown that too at home... India lost theirs, away from home that too with an aging team without its spearhead (Zaheer Khan)... A large part of their success was due the efforts of the legendary Kevin Peterson a South African.. Too bad England has to take the services of overseas players to bolster their meager line up... To all those people who scoffed at Indians here is a big - I told you so moment... Number 1 team no more... Pride goes before a fall..

Posted by Digimont on (August 20, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

Can't help thinking that Pietersen is at fault for England not winning the final test and squaring the series. If I were in charge of the English team, I'd tell him he has played his last game of international cricket. If I were the PM I'd have him deported. If I were the Queen, I'd give him an appointment at the Tower of London "Off with his head".

The moment an individual puts himself in front of the game, things fall apart. That's the way it is, that is the way it should be.

Posted by tommytucker on (August 20, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

Did anyone else see the batting stats on sky tv for the whole series showing the top 10 batsmen to score most runs???

7 out of 10 were Saffas.!! Lol.

Posted by harshthakor on (August 20, 2012, 20:01 GMT)

Congrats to South Africa for defeating England and reaching the no 1 spot.They outplayed England in all departments of the game and showed resilience in every juncture.It proves that test cricket is more about talent and match-winners over all-round balance.England played well below their best potential in this series and were hardly the team that won the Ashes in 2010-11 or that vanquished India 4-0 last year.Their bowling has hardly been penetrative.

South Africa have arguably acheived their highest zenith in test cricket since their comeback in 1991,beating arguably the best English team for decades.However They have to mantain their form and win in the sub-continent in contrast to England after they reached no.1.England were hardly at home in the sub-continent and forfeited certain winning positions in 2 tests against Pakistan.Let us hope this protaes unit becomes tem like the past great Calypso and Aussie champion teams.

Posted by warnerbasher on (August 20, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

as a Aus fan watching from home congrats to both sides on a cracking last couple of test matches. England weren't that far away from South Africa it's just that the saffers won the crucial moments. Loved the cameo from Bairstow. England should be proud that they lost their number 1 ranking with a fight rather than a whimper and I have no doubt they can fight back once the off field distractions are sorted out.

Posted by SCC08 on (August 20, 2012, 19:56 GMT)

@Min2_cric - if it didnt rain at Headingly then it would be a 3-0 result. Would that be a thrashing? Every single bad decision went against SA and they still won.. Your point is invalid.

Posted by AKS286 on (August 20, 2012, 19:56 GMT)

African Deadly Barrage destroys the ENG fortress into pieces. still i miss those pace pitches, cleverly eng avoid pacey pitches against SA. congrates SA

Posted by Jester01 on (August 20, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

Well done Proteas... was a bit worried for a while but BIG Vern showed his class again. Thanks ENG for putting up a brave fight. Now I can finally say: We are the best test nation in the world. Go Proteas!

Posted by mahjut on (August 20, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

yorkshirematt - i think SA still have a bug about Oz so it'll be very interesting to see how they go but the aus team is only really sorting out their bowling - the batting looks thin at the moment. anyway, this game was interesting ... i suppose one guessed that when the new ball came it would'nt take an awfully long time (considering the other three innings) but England used the freedom they had - at a hiding to nothing - to make it very entertaining indeed.

Posted by guitarboy on (August 20, 2012, 19:49 GMT)

This ICC test rankings is nothing but a farce.The fact that England got hammered so consistently first by Pakistan and now by South Africa and was still rated the number one test team is a testament to that.

Posted by clammerwhirl on (August 20, 2012, 19:43 GMT)

The C-word has a new meaning for South Africa - CHAMPIONS!!!

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (August 20, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

Oh boy, Pakistani fans already posting here thinking that they'll whitewash SA in SA. Talk about being one-eyed.

Posted by lee_man on (August 20, 2012, 19:32 GMT)

Congratulations to the SA team!! They really deserve to be no. 1, gaining the status by defeating the former no. 1 in their own backyard. At present SA are playing the best test cricket, so they are truly no. 1.

Posted by Nish_US on (August 20, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

No comments....yet... Thats surprising...

Posted by Stark62 on (August 20, 2012, 19:28 GMT)

SA simply outclassed Eng in every department.

The only time Eng looked competitive against SA was during this match or else the scoreline would have read 3-0 had it not been for KP.

Johnny played well but that no. 6 spot is still open and the one time Eng badly needed Bresnan, is the time he was not selected!! LOL

Posted by Nish_US on (August 20, 2012, 19:25 GMT)

Congrats SA..you truly deserve this....

But I must admit you almmost ch***ed once again....

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:25 GMT)

For all the fight that England showed, South Africa truly deserve their No.1 status. For far too long have they underachieved when it mattered the most. Hopefully they can cling on to it for a longer time than what England and India did.

Posted by Nish_US on (August 20, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

Can someone compare how the Ex-No.1 teams Eng and Ind did, while they were at the helm?

Posted by jezmondo on (August 20, 2012, 19:23 GMT)

congrats to sa. deserved victory over the series. Pleased with the way we went down. Plus point bairstow minus point catching!

Posted by sonicattack on (August 20, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

Well, in the end the better team won, and deserverdly so - but I was pleased that England went down fighting...42/4 - I thought that it would be all over by lunch. Great game and great advert for Test Cricket, far, far more inspiring than the other stuff! Anyway, congrats to SA, can't wait for Eng v India tests and also SA v Aus...I think all self-respecting Eng fans will be shouting for SA!

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 20, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

Well it's back to mediocrity for England. Don't mind too much as it's what we're used to and I at least have always known that, unlike some of my fellow, more partizan compatriots. Don't mind SA being no.1. They're an excellent side, have worked really hard and have a great group of players. Seem like a nice bunch of blokes as well (despite what the "Spitting Image" song/sketch from the 80s says!!) I suspect they'll stay there for a while, if they can manage to win consistently at home, and the series between them and a fast improving australian team should be very good.

Posted by tommytucker on (August 20, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

no choker comments, none? Thoughts so.

Posted by Natesan333 on (August 20, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

Is there any way to find out who was number 1 through the years (since the ranking was introduced) and for how long? Not to rub salt in the wound, but England has to be one of the shortest.

Posted by Rajavel-cricket on (August 20, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

Congrats SA. Where are those guys said England will stay on top for next 10 years LOL. I think england is the first team to handed over no-1 spot from own back yard..

Posted by LAKingsFan on (August 20, 2012, 19:13 GMT)

Congratulations South Africa. What a match this has been. And, Gray Kirsten is the coach of this decade. He knew what it takes to become #1. Hope SA wins ODI world cup in his tenure.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

Its time England loss South Africa take No:1 back

Posted by just_Test_lover on (August 20, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

I wonder how hard it was for the umpires to keep asking to review for no balls, not give a stumping and constantly giving the bad decision SA way to still see England lose! Sorry ECB the best still come to the top!

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (August 20, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

Congratulation SA on becoming #1 but I don't think you will stay there for long.

Posted by switchmitch on (August 20, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

Just Deserts...After two pretenders, here is a team that actually deserves the No:1 spot. SA has consistently done well in foreign conditions for the past 5 years - the other team being Aus. It was always between these two teams. Will continue to be so...

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

All quiet on western front... no more bragging, no more one sided stats and analysis, no more fortresses, no more wait its not done as yet and off course it all is going to end in the 'C" word. for it is all done and dusted, the only task left is to clear up the mess, justify how the unthinkable happened - in fact it did not happen at all - expect we dropped a catch or got a bad decision here ---er better leave that one out.

We need to visit where it all begin to appreciate where it all ended, creation of a legacy, world domination for a decade 9 at least), Number 1 ranking in all three formats, a young team ready to dominate for years to come...a cupboard full of talent both in bowling as well in batting..

To today, who all we need to fire, a collapsing opening and middle order, infighting and betrayal - and possibility of getting knocked out from number 1 rank in all three formats as soon as august 24th. It reminds me of....of ...rain in London.

Posted by ProteaPride on (August 20, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

It was interesting to see tha Proteas showing so much more joy at receiving ICC no 1 honor than the series trophy

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

In the end, it turned out that the best team won and is fittingly, number one. From what I see, this team will remain in that position for some time until the likes of Kallis and Smith departs. And even so, it still be a force to reckon with. Why are the timetables so absurd, in that this two teams will only play Test Cricket again,until three years time ? where teams like Pakistan,India and Sri Lanka are playing against each other every other Sunday ?

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

time for S A , to prove that its NO 1 team in test cricket ......in my opinion ....S A is more effective than ENG in home and as well as in abroad....S A has more depth in balling and batting than ENG .....because they have a great all rounder jack kallis in their line up..................wel done S A......

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

finally da world cricket xperiences true no1 test team as South Africa

nly after India

Posted by Adoh on (August 20, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

You can't really blame England for wanting to emulate the great Australian and West Indies teams - imitation is the greatest form of flattery. They're obviously a long long way from great, and quite a few lumens short of an aura, but 1 year at the top of the table is better than what the English public are used to. Hopefully they'll remain competitive.

Posted by crindo77 on (August 20, 2012, 18:58 GMT)

For the very first time in its history, the top ranked team in ICC Test rankings is ACTUALLY the best Test team in the world. And apart form SA, the other winner is Test cricket. Thank you South Africa, and also thank you English tailenders for putting up a defiant fight. Look forward to the India tour.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

The so-called no. 1 team lost the ranking at home and by 0-2 margin,without winning even a single test.INDIA was much better,they lost the top spot in foreign shores.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 20, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

Two best teams in the world by far IMO.

Posted by InnocentGuy on (August 20, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

Congratulations Proteas!! You deserve to be #1!! What a series?! Promised to be a cracker of a contest with SA coming on top! Loved it.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 18:52 GMT)

Hats off to South Africa, they deserve the No. 1 Test Ranking. Thanks SA & England for a wonderful series. Maybe SA Vs England or Australia should be 5 Test Series. 3 Test series end too quickly. Unlike India in England earlier this year, this series was worth watching and did justice to the hefty subscription we pay to watch the matches on pay channels.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 18:52 GMT)

Happy to see South Africa as No. 1 test team, They deserve it long back, Hope that from now luck turns their side, but not when they play against India coz being Indian i can't with it :)

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

Great show by proteas and they deserve the ICC Mace for no 1 team ! cheers !

Posted by noplay on (August 20, 2012, 18:49 GMT)

Congratulations South Africa on your long hard trek to No. 1. You came to Lords with a purpose and England could not deny you. It required a little more than some limited overs cricket at the end to spoil your party. The English needed to outplay you for five days and they didn't do that. A whitewash would have been yours had KP not stood between you and victory at Headingly. You are professionals, you fought hard and won well

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 18:49 GMT)

Hats off to South Africa, they deserve the No. 1 Test Ranking. Thanks SA & England for a wonderful series. Maybe SA Vs England or Australia should be 5 Test Series. 3 Test series end too quickly. Unlike India in England earlier this year, this series was worth watching and did justice to the hefty subscription we pay to watch the matches on pay channels.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

Well done Proteas, you werent suppose to win a single game according to the experts. Plus I am still laughing at the people who have to resort to the choking line even if it was not relevant

Posted by JohnDouglas on (August 20, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

It should be back to the drawing board for the england team. Its sad that even with 4 foreign born players they could not hold the number 1 position for more than a year. I belive they hurt themselves by taking foreign players like eoin margon and all the south africans. When you do that you get short term results but will have long term negative consequences.

Posted by rafhuss on (August 20, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

Congratulations South Africa on all-round performance. You deserved what you got. England needs to review their policy about KP issue. Otherwise India will give them a tough time. Without KP England middle order with Ian Bell is shaky. Any bowler can exploit them. England bowlers needs to be consistent. Broad and Anderson have rare match winning performances. One one prospect of England is Matt Prior. Elegant wicket keeper batsman. I hope they will change their approach now, as they have no burden of World no.1 tag.

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (August 20, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

Congratulations to SA they are a very good side, they never wilted when under pressure and all in all were the better side throughout the series. I will not dwell on missed chances because that is cricket, positives for England are Finn and Bairstow. I was impressed with Morkel and Philander as I knew how good Steyn was. Time will tell if they can sustain it, and now they are No.1 will be expected to play more tests as they play far less than England, India and Australia as it should surely be the same games per year roughly. I think it is a good time for test cricket with SA on top England a good side, Aus, WI.,Pak and SL all improving and India will always be strong at home.

Posted by ExplicitPlatinum on (August 20, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

First and foremost, congratulations to South Africa for gaining the number 1 rank in Test cricket. This is coming from a Pak fan. However, when South Africa take on Pakistan and I don't remember this exactly from where I heard this but if Pakistan manages to whitewash South Africa instead of winning the series, then Pakistan would gain the number 1 rank in Test cricket. But for that to happen, Pakistan would have to put in a LOT OF HARD WORK, considering South Africa's in-form players like Philander and Steyn. Pakistan would have to work hard on their batting.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (August 20, 2012, 18:39 GMT)

Well played both teams. This was a good contest. Eng lost 2-0 but they aren't that bad as the result suggested. They were pretty competitive in the series except first test. With num1 ranking gone they should be relieved a bit as fans will no longer haunt them now. BTW Is this end of KP? we wont mind an uncertain Bairstow in place of KP for IND tour. Good luck to both teams.

Posted by aryan_ab on (August 20, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

Well Played Proteas !! Now that England has bee dethroned from the position they never deserved, they are cordially invited to India that would make sure about their rightful place in the test rankings table.....that is, the bottom half of it !! Get ready to be annihilated Poms !!

Posted by Min2_cric on (August 20, 2012, 18:31 GMT)

even though eng lost this match there was always an outside chance for them to win the match and draw the series...we cant really say that eng is thrashed...they played well and they have justified why they they are overrated...

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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