Prior's Brave Effort Fails To Stop South Africa From Taking The Number One Ranking

Vernon Philander of South Africa took five wickets in second innings to help South Africa win by 51 runs(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

Prior's Brave Effort Fails To Stop South Africa From Taking The Number One Ranking

England left their best performance of the series for the last, as the middle and late order produced a stirring comeback to give the new world number 1, South Africa a scare. The target of 345 though was a bit too much to chase as the depth of the Protean bowling attack once again came to the fore. The win gives the visitors at 2-0 win and a place at the top pedestal in world test rankings.

Resuming the day at a treacherous 16 for 2, England very soon lost Ian Bell to that man - Vernon Philander. The situation became even grimmer for England when James Taylor got run out attempting to run four. At 45/4 the writing was on the wall. But Johnny Bairstow had other ideas. Confident after his 95 in the first innings, the youngster displayed his repertoire of strokes once again as runs started coming at a fair clip. Johnathan Trott too found the boundary at regular intervals and England went into the Lunch break with some renewed enthusiasm. Bairstow completed his half century after the lunch break, but was done in by a zipping leg spinner from Tahir which stayed very low. And when Trott departed for 63, England looked like going down without a fight as the scoreboard read 146/6.

Prior meanwhile looked solid. Stuart Broad joined him in the middle and started going for his shots from ball one. He connected well and got the momentum back into the innings. Prior too decided to open his arms as the two managed 62 runs in 16 overs, before Broad miscued a hook shot to Amla at fine leg. In came Graeme Swann and played the innings of his life. Realising that the new ball was not too far away, he and Prior went after the South African bowling with intent and skill as 74 runs were scored in 11 overs. Everything from hooks, cuts, reverse sweeps, sweeps, drives were on display. Just when things started going out of hand, Swann got run out by some good work from Tahir. Matt Prior decided to take matters into his hands but got caught in the deep, however Morkel had overstepped the bowling crease. Prior got another reprieve when he was adjudged not out to a stumping appeal. The new ball ensured that there were no more chokes for South Africa as Philander got both Prior and Finn caught in the slips off consecutive deliveries. That however was not before Prior gave the visitors a major headache.

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