Grand Canyon of class separates Proteas and New Zealand
THE Grand Canyon of class between South Africa and New Zealand yawned wide as the second cricket Test hurtled to a predictable conclusion at St George's Park yesterday.
South Africa surged to victory by an innings and 193 runs just over half-an-hour before lunch on the fourth day.
That gave them the series 2-0 - the Proteas won the Newlands Test by an innings and 27 runs inside three days - and it marked the first time South Africa have won two Tests in a rubber since 2008-09, when they also thrashed Bangladesh by an innings twice. They have now won their past five series.
The fact that only 15 sessions of play were completed out of a possible 30 in the two Tests further illustrates the home side's superiority.
"We've played a really high standard of Test cricket. Every [newspaper] headline you look at talks about complacency, but the guys are hungry to do well," said skipper Graeme Smith.
The outlook was bleak on the other side of the fence, from where Brendon McCullum said: "Yes, it should hurt. But we have a pretty good blueprint of how the best team in the world goes about their cricket, and we need to improve."
The day's play should have been in limbo until the new ball would become available after 13 overs. But, in the 10th over, Dean Brownlie flapped a loose drive at Jacques Kallis and was caught behind.
Brownlie earned respect with a gritty maiden Test century at Newlands, and South Africa significantly uncomplicated their task by removing him from the equation with the old ball.
And yet Robin Peterson bowled the 81st over with the original orb. Colin Munro's response was a heave-over midwicket for four and a crisp drive through the covers for another boundary.
But the new nut shone bright red in Morne Morkel's hand in the next over - and his fifth delivery left Munro no place to hide. The ball tracked back into the left-hander, who could only steer an edge to Alviro Petersen at third slip.
Five balls later, Dale Steyn took out BJ Watling's off-stump with a delivery that pitched on middle stump and sniped away to hit the top off. It was a high-quality end to Watling's second gutsy performance of the match. He scored 63 per innings, in almost three hours.
Steyn accounted for Doug Bracewell - a good, low catch by Petersen in the cordon - before Morkel induced an underhand slap from Trent Boult that flew to Peterson in the covers.
The fat ladies were singing along to the brass band even before Steyn clinched victory when Neil Wagner edged a ragged pull and was taken behind.
That gave him match figures of 8/65. "I'm on level terms with Hashim in hundreds," he said, a reference to the fact that the 19 five-wicket hauls he has taken matches Hashim Amla's 19 centuries.