England took a 1-0 lead in the first Test against South Africa with a comfortable 241-run win on the final morning in Durban.South Africa resumed on 136-4 in search of a distant 416 but lost four wickets for seven runs in the first nine overs.Moeen Ali removed danger man AB de Villiers with the third ball of the day and Steven Fin took 4-42 as the hosts were all out before lunch for 174.It was only England’s second Test victory away from home since 2012 and their largest in terms of runs against South Africa since the Proteas were re-admitted to international cricket in 1991.In contrast it was a fourth defeat in the last five Tests for South Africa, whose position at the top of the Test rankings is under increasing threat from India.The South Africans have gone seven matches without a Test victory, which equals their longest run without a win since their re-admission.In the 138-year history of Test cricket, only three teams have avoided defeat from being four wickets down on the final day. And it soon became apparent South Africa would not alter that statistic when their star batsman De Villiers missed a turning off-break from Moeen that was given out lbw and upheld on review.England captain Alastair Cook said: “The lads played really well. It was tough to bat but the way Nick Compton played after being out of Test cricket for a while, he was a rock in the first innings to give us a platform, and then we bowled well in both innings.”The bowlers mixed their pace and were relentless. It’s pretty easy to captain because you know they will deliver.”It’s our first away win for a long time so we will enjoy this but we know what a strong side South Africa are at home.”
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said: “I thought England played very well. It was an excellent performance. The pitch didn’t do too much, there was nothing alarming.” Former England spinner Graeme Swann described the De Villiers wicket as “massive for Moeen, because he will have gone to bed very nervous that people expect him to win the game”.Having made that crucial breakthrough, Moeen then produced another wicket maiden in his next over, drawing the diminutive Temba Bavuma out of his crease and allowing Jonny Bairstow to atone for his spurned leg-side stumping of De Villiers on day four.Bairstow calmly whipped off the bails to record England’s first stumping for 38 Tests, since Mumbai 2012.Moeen trapped Kyle Abbott lbw six overs later and finished with match figures of 7-116 to win the man-of-the match award. He now has 61 wickets from his 21 Tests.
Stats of the day
.England’s third largest win in terms of runs against South Africa
.England have not lost at Kingsmead, Durban since 1928, a span of 12 Tests
.South Africa end the year without a century partnership, for the first time since 1963