SOUTH AFRICA MOVED to the top of the ICC Test rankings after a 51-run victory over England saw them claim the three-match series 2-0.
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior (73) led a final-session fightback as the hosts gave the Proteas a fright on day five of the third Test at Lord’s, scoring 72 runs in 12 overs after tea to reach 293-8 and move within 53 runs of victory.
But England only scored one more run before Vernon Philander took two wickets in consecutive deliveries to dismiss Prior and Steve Finn, wrapping up South Africa’s victory and number one ranking.
England started the final day at 16-2, needing 330 more runs to pull off a stunning win and with Jonathan Trott (6 not out) and Ian Bell (4 not out) at the crease.
It took South Africa until only the sixth over to take their third wicket with Philander getting Bell to knick a ball to Graeme Smith as the visiting captain took a good catch.
South Africa’s fielding was a key to their triumph and their next wicket was a run-out as James Taylor (4) ended up at the same end as Trott going for a fourth run in the 13th over of the day.
That brought Jonny Bairstow to the crease and the 22-year-old combined with Trott to build an 89-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Bairstow (54) and Trott (63) both fell early in the second session, although England kept fighting with Stuart Broad (37) and Graeme Swann (41) scoring quick runs before getting out either side of the tea break.
In the over after Swann was run out, Prior looked to be on his way to the pavilion when he was caught by JP Duminy off Morne Morkel’s bowling but the English wicketkeeper was recalled after video replays showed it was a no ball.
But Prior could only survive three more overs before he edged Philander to Smith at first slip and the next delivery from the South African fast bowler hit the edge of Finn’s bat as Kallis took the catch to clinch victory.
Philander ended the innings with figures of 5-30 and seven wickets for the match, while Dale Steyn, Kallis and Imran Tahir all took one wicket in the second innings.
England held the top ranking since August 2011 after replacing India, while South Africa assume the honour for the first time since November 2009.