South Africa vs England: Key takeaways from the Test series
England sealed the fourth and final Test against South Africa to win the series by a 3-1 margin. The hosts lost the fourth Test by 191 runs on Monday. And to add on that, they were also fined and docked ICC World Test Championship points for slow over-rate. Here are the major takeaways from the series.
120 points were on offer in this four-match Test series. England collected 90 points after three wins. The Joe Root-led side is third in the standings with 146 points under its belt from nine Tests. Meanwhile, South Africa's woes continued. After losing 0-3 against India, the Proteas picked just 30 points from the solitary win. However, six points were deducted and they have 24.
The injury to Rory Burns in the first Test opened the door for Zak Crawley to come in. Crawley and Dominic Sibley impressed as openers for England. After a quiet start, the two put on partnerships worth 70, 107 and 56. Both batsmen showed composure at the top and it gives England the cushion to go with these two in the near future.
England have variety in their pace department and the bowlers stood tall. Despite losing James Anderson and Jofra Archer early on in the series, the rest of the unit performed exceptionally. Mark Wood was instrumental in the fourth Test and claimed nine scalps. All-rounders Ben Stokes and Sam Curran bowled with consistency in the series. Chris Woakes came in and offered substance.
South Africa lost the Test series because of poor batting across the series. Nobody took the responsibility to take charge and a few individual brilliance here and there did not help the cause either. Quinton de Kock was solid during phases, however, the rest of the unit lacked application. There were no partnerships on offer and that hurt South Africa.
The manner in which South Africa were outplayed in six of the seven Tests of late, shows that the side will need a lot of time to stage a fight. The team is in transition and things look over for them in the ICC World Test Championship. It will be a long road for the Proteas camp.