England ended their remarkable summer with a nine-wicket win over South Africa.


England captain Ben Stokes has praised his side after the 2-1 series win over South Africa at the Oval.

It took the hosts less than 25 minutes to reach the 33 runs needed for victory on the final morning of the international summer and they capped off a remarkable summer with a convincing victory by nine points.

Zak Crawley ended the series with a wonderful covering shot and finished at 69 points after enduring a tough summer at the top of the order.

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The country came to a halt on Thursday afternoon as news of the Queen’s death shook the nation. Friday’s second day was canceled as a sign of respect.

Stokes said he would be « honored to play in his memory » as talks took place over whether the match would be scrapped.

But while weekend football matches were postponed, cricket led the way with a high-class tribute on Saturday morning.

The sporting debut rendition of ‘God Save The King’ was sung to a packed house in south-west London after the Queen’s minute’s silence was duly observed. The ECB made the right decision. It was a respectful and moving moment.

Stokes said: “I’m delighted it’s been a great series for us as a team. It’s one of those series where we haven’t had a lot of standout individual performances, but different people have raised their hands for us throughout the series and that’s what you want in a sport of team.

“You want to be able to turn to people at key moments and open the game, whether it’s with the bat or the ball, and that’s what we’ve done throughout the series.

“The conditions we found ourselves in on day one, the draw was always a good thing to win. But when you win it you still have to go out and execute your plans and when you lose the toss you have to counter that. That’s Test cricket, who can do that best.

« When you have the pitchers that we have, it’s about trying to manage them at the start of an innings, when the ball is most effective, and not overstretching them, and then introducing myself in the game at the opportune time when they had a few good innings. It’s about understanding when I need to get the most out of them and they’ve been phenomenal all summer.”

England wanted to put on a show and they did for the first hour. Ollie Robinson has demonstrated why he is destined to be the leader of this steamy attack when James Anderson and Stuart Broad hang up their cleats.

His immaculate control and steamy movement rattled the Proteas in the first hour, when they were down to 36/6. The 28-year-old won his third Test by five wickets as the visitors were beaten at 118.

England had the game at their mercy at 84/2 with Ollie Pope and Joe Root looking in fine form. But the latter’s error outside the stump opened the door and the South African players returned to the game.

Root’s reckless sending off caused a meltdown and Brendon McCullum’s side lost their last eight wickets by just 74 runs. The imposing left-hander Marco Jansen (5/35) and the very reliable Kagiso Rabada (4/81) allowed Dean Elgar’s men to start their second innings with only 40 runs behind. The match was firmly in the balance.

Captain Elgar and Sarel Erwee made a steady start before Stokes, as he so often does, shook things up. Root made a good catch diving on the first open to take out Erwee.

Broad overtook Australian great Glenn McGrath as the second-best fast bowler in Test history by trapping plucky flyhalf Elgar lbw for his 564th scalp.

Stokes and Robinson cut South Africa’s middle order in the afternoon as England set to win the Test in two days.

Robinson, who extracted significant movement from the useful area, won his 50th Test playing against Wiaan Mulder. The last Englishman to reach this milestone before Robinson (11 tests) was Ian Botham (10).

When Robinson managed to send Khaya Zondo back to South Africa, they were struggling at 133/6, with goalkeeper Kyle Verreynne being the last recognized batsman.

Evergreen Anderson concluded the match with a catch and bowl and England only needed 130 runs to earn a memorable victory for the monarch and her 70 years of service.

The message to finish the game a day late was clear from the start. With McCullum’s team talk ringing in the ears, flyhalf Alex Lees and Zak Crawley got off to a flying start.

Nervousness could have set in in the English camp had Jansen hung on when Lees sent his first ball into the gully.

Crawley, under pressure after a miserable summer to forget at the top of the order, showed off his full array of shots as he sent a quick fifty balls.

The players left due to poor light as England were 97/0 after just 17 overs.

The only fly in the ointment of a perfect run was the fall of Lees, who had also been dropped by Verryanne in the first pass of the day, and was checked by Rabada in control.

England are 4/1 to win the T20 World Cup with Betfred*.

*18+ BeGambleAware Odds subject to change

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