Saturday 26 December 2015 09:33, UK
Dramatic collapses and stoic rearguard actions - the 2009/10 Basil D'Oliveira Trophy was a fight to the finish...
First Test, Centurion - Thrilling Finish
South Africa were always in charge once Jacques Kallis (120) had helped them reach a first innings score of 418, even when an enterprising 85 from Graeme Swann took England to 356 in response. Second time round, a Hashim Amla hundred allowed South Africa to declare, leaving England an unlikely target of 364 to win and more than a day to survive.
Having slumped to 27 for 3, Jonathan Trott (69) and Kevin Pietersen (81) added 145, a draw now looking likely. However, once Pietersen had been run out, the second new ball proved decisive as England lost 5-13 in 11 overs, thanks chiefly to debutante Friedel de Wet (4-55). At 219-9, with 19 balls remaining, the visitors' fate was in Durham hands as Graham Onions joined the obdurate Paul Collingwood. Amidst great tension, the pair secured the draw, with Onions withstanding a fiery final over of the match from Ntini.
Second Test, Durban - Perfect Performance
South Africa reached the relative comfort of 160-2 before subsiding somewhat to 343 all out (Smith 75, Kallis 75, Swann 4-110). What seemed a decent score was soon put into context, however - there was early impetus from Andrew Strauss (54 from 67 balls), determination from Alastair Cook (118 in nearly seven hours at the crease) and middle-order panache from Collingwood (91), Ian Bell (140) and Matt Prior (60) as England amassed 574-9, before declaring with a lead of 231 on the fourth afternoon.
If South Africa's batting had flattered to deceive first time around, their second effort was even more resigned, subsiding to a paltry 133 all out in just 50 overs. The reverse swing of Stuart Broad (4-43) perfectly complemented Graeme Swann (5-54) to give the off-spinner match figures of 9-164 and the man of the match award. England had registered their first victory by an innings in South Africa since 1964.
Third Test, Cape Town - Lightning Strikes Twice
Kallis (108) was once again the chief contributor in South Africa's first innings score of 291. The match looked to be an even contest when England replied with 276, thanks chiefly to Prior (76). However, Smith (183) and Amla (95) then took their side into an unassailable position and the hosts declared with a lead of 466 half-way through the fourth day. Cook (55) and Strauss (45) gave the batting side hope but the loss of both, together with Pietersen (6), meant England went into the final day under pressure.
By lunch on the last day, two more wickets had fallen but Bell (78 in 213 balls) and Collingwood (40 in 188 balls) restored hope, resisting for 57 overs. With safety in sight, the visitors lost 4-18 in 10 overs and were suddenly nine wickets down. A total of 17 balls remained and their destiny was once more in the hands of last man Onions. As at Centurion, the tail-ender stoutly defended, and South Africa were again denied what had looked a certain victory.
Fourth Test, Johannesburg - Proteas Power
England's troubles began immediately when Strauss (0) was caught at short-leg from the first ball of the match. It was a portent for what was to follow, as Dale Steyn (5-51) and Morne Morkel (3-39) dismissed the visitors for 180. In reply, South Africa were ruthless, with Smith (105) scoring a second successive hundred and Amla (75) once more proving a major obstacle. By the time Mark Boucher (95 from 118 balls) had run England ragged to set up a declaration, the visitors needed to bat for more than two days to survive.
This time there was to be no rearguard, as Morkel (4-59) and the rest of the Proteas attack bowled England out for a mere 169 to win by an innings and 74 runs. A drawn series meant South Africa retained the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy, having previously won in England in 2008.
Watch all the action from the first Test between South Africa and England in Durban, live on Sky Sports 2 from 7.30am, December 26.