Morne Morkel routed England's lower-order in a spell of 3 for 0 in six deliveries, before JP Duminy extracted the battling Paul Collingwood for a brave but futile 71, as South Africa levelled the series
Morne Morkel routed England's lower-order in a spell of 3 for 0 in seven deliveries, before JP Duminy extracted the battling Paul Collingwood for a brave but futile 71, as South Africa levelled the series - and retained the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy - with a crushing innings-and-74-run victory at the Wanderers. The victory was delivered on the stroke of the lunch-break when Ryan Sidebottom missed a slog-sweep to give Duminy his second wicket in an 11-ball spell.
England had resumed the fourth day in deep trouble on 48 for 3, still trailing by 195 with two full days remaining in the contest. The situation demanded runs as well as crease occupation, and Collingwood responded with a gutsy and well-judged 71 from 88 balls, as he shed the outright obduracy that had carried England to safety at Centurion and Cape Town, and climbed into his cross-batted repertoire whenever South Africa strayed in line or length.
But he alone located the correct balance between watchfulness and aggression, as he picked 12 fours and a six in total, comprising an even mixture of cuts, pulls, drives and genuine edges. But all too few of his colleagues were capable of emulating his efforts. His overnight partner, Kevin Pietersen, hung around for 10 overs in the first hour and seemed to be finding his range once again as he contributed an improbably meagre three runs to a fourth-wicket stand of 36. But the debutant Wayne Parnell tempted him with an outswinger that drew a rash snick to the keeper, and that was the end of that.
Ian Bell, who has impressed with his more settled temperament on this tour, once again looked in control of his nerves as he held up an end for seven further overs while dodging a series of bullets from Morkel's lethal lift and tight line. But eventually he jabbed at another rising delivery outside off, and Jacques Kallis at second slip clung onto a flying edge.
That soon proved to be the end of England's rapidly fading hopes, for Matt Prior then came and went in an impressively woeful double-whammy. His first ball, from Morkel, was dropped by Hashim Amla at short leg; his second was outside off and drew a wafty pull shot. Graeme Smith at first slip backpedalled to claim a spiralling top-edge, and Prior trooped back to the dressing-room as his captain, Andrew Strauss, vacated the balcony in disgust.
Four balls later, and Morkel had his third of the morning, as Stuart Broad - who came close to being timed out after taking an eternity to arrive in the middle - was sent trudging back in the same direction with his indignation palpable, after being caught off the glove by a bouncer down the leg-side. The initial appeal was turned down by umpire Tony Hill, but this time Daryl Harper in the third umpire's hotseat had no trouble picking up the audible snick.
Graeme Swann, who last night told his Twitter followers to look out for his maiden Test century, joined Collingwood in a rollicking eighth-wicket stand of 30 in 26 balls, and briefly looked good for his promise as he cracked three fours in six balls after being dropped by Ashwell Prince in the gully. But one ball later, Steyn's full-length swing proved too much, as he drew a defensive dab for AB de Villiers to collect the thick edge at third slip.
Collingwood kept up the intensity, lacing Ryan McLaren through the slips before hoisting Steyn up and over long-off for the first and only six of England's innings. But with just two wickets still standing and a deficit of 89 still to be surmounted, he was eventually extracted by JP Duminy's first delivery of the day - a top-edged hoick off an ignominious long-hop, that flew at a comfortable height straight to Morkel at deep square leg.
And so it all came down, as it always tends to do, to England's ninth-wicket pair. With their lucky charm, Graham Onions, watching glumly from the dressing-room, Sidebottom and James Anderson played their shots for 16 deliveries, before Sidebottom sized up one slog too many, and the rattle of timbers signalled a richly deserved South African win.