England 411 for 8 dec and 332 for 9 dec (Trescothick 180) beat South Africa 419 and 247 (Gibbs 98, Smith 67*, Hoggard 7-61) by 77 runs, and lead series 2-1
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Matthew Hoggard stepped out of the shadows with an outstanding display of swing bowling to lead England to a dramatic 77-run victory on the final day of the fourth Test at Johannesburg. Marcus Trescothick's 180 put England in a commanding position in the morning and, when Michael Vaughan declared at 332 for 9, South Africa were left requiring 324 in little more than two sessions for an improbable victory.
An inspired Hoggard took five wickets after lunch to put them on the rack, and not even a battling 98 from the first-innings centurion Herschelle Gibbs - nor Graeme Smith's defiant unbeaten 67 from No. 8 - could save them as England took a 2-1 lead in the series, with one match left to play.
Everything Hoggard - whose match haul was a career-best 12 for 205 - touched turned to gold, and he even found himself on a hat-trick after removing first Jacques Rudolph, then South Africa's form batsman Jacques Kallis for a golden duck (18 for 3). It all started when AB de Villiers, Hoggard's first victim, was trapped lbw for 3 by a ball which nipped back and would have hit middle and leg (10 for 1).
And matters got worse just eight runs later, as Hoggard knocked Rudolph's stumps over after the left-hander played outside the line of one which was coming into him. Then the sucker punch: Kallis edged his first ball, a perfect awayswinger, to first slip, where Trescothick held on despite Geraint Jones diving across his line of vision.
Boeta Dippenaar fended off the hat-trick ball, but no matter: Hoggard had picked up his 20th wicket of the series and England were in control. And Hoggard got him later, as a rusty Dippenaar sent a thick outside edge to Ashley Giles at gully for 14 after a stand of 62 with Gibbs.
Yet this comeback was brief - the hangdog hero Hoggard struck again to remove Mark Boucher, who feathered through to Geraint Jones without scoring (86 for 5). Nicky Boje joined Gibbs, who showed no signs of batting for a draw, as he smashed and cracked his way to 98, and passed 5000 Test runs on the way. Boje had a letoff on 13 when Vaughan dropped a dolly at leg gully. But he managed just five more runs before the inevitable Hoggard had his sixth wicket, as Boje prodded back a leading edge (118 for 6).
In strode Smith, who dropped down the order because of concussion, and he refused to lie down, striking a stand of 45 with his usual opening partner Gibbs. But just as South Africa appeared to be hanging on, Giles struck gold, as he trapped Gibbs lbw low on the front pad (163 for 7). Then it was Andrew Flintoff's turn: he found Shaun Pollock's edge and then pinned Makhaya Ntini in front to end a breezy 13.
South Africa were on the verge, but Smith wasn't going down without a fight. The final hour loomed, but at least the light was bright, and Smith's knock provided South Africa with a ray of hope. They had two escapes as Dale Steyn sent a thick outside edge over a packed slip cordon, and then Smith was put down by James Anderson at point. But Vaughan brought Hoggard back into the attack, and the golden boy applied the final flourish, when Steyn thin-edged to Jones to spark delirious celebrations. England had won with only 8.3 overs to spare.
If Hoggard was England's man of the day, and the match, Trescothick wasn't far behind. In the morning session he resumed where he left off last night - battering boundaries galore - before his dismissal prompted Vaughan's second declaration of the match. After the early loss of Jones, caught hooking, he was joined by Giles in up-tempo stand of 50 in 10 overs which launched England into a commanding position.
Giles, whose batting has been splendid this series, was the driving force of the partnership, and he crashed Steyn for a hooked six which just evaded the man on the square boundary. But Kallis finally got his man - Giles picked out Gibbs at point on 31 - and then added Hoggard, who also edged to Boucher without scoring.
Trescothick, though, strode on undaunted. He may have struggled to middle the ball in the early part of his innings yesterday, but he hit the bullseye almost every time this morning as he darted to his 180. He was joined for some final arrows by Steve Harmison: they added 58, with Harmison contributing just 3.
After the disappointment of a draw in similar circumstances in the second Test at Durban, England made sure they finished the job this time. Another seesawing Test in a back-and-forth series means that a fascinating final Test is in prospect at Centurion. But England will be happy to cross that bridge when they come to it: tonight is all about celebrating a job well done.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo.