England add final runs to seal series win against South Africa

By Sports Desk September 12, 2022

England knocked off the final runs to seal a nine-wicket victory against South Africa in the third Test at The Oval, giving them a 2-1 series win.

There was frustration from players and fans on Sunday as bad light stopped play with the hosts just 33 runs shy of their target, but it took just 5.3 overs to finish things off on Monday.

There had been concerns as to whether a result would be possible in the deciding Test of the series after the first day was washed out by rain, and the second was postponed after the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

However, with both teams' first innings lasting just 36.2 overs each, the Test match raced along and after dismissing the tourists in their second innings for 169 on Sunday, England earned themselves a modest target of 130 to win.

Alex Lees and Zak Crawley wasted no time in racing towards that total, with England finishing Sunday on 97-0 from just 17 overs.

The former then edged a Kagiso Rabada delivery in the first over when play resumed on Monday, but was somehow dropped by wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne.

Lees did not last much longer though as Rabada trapped him lbw for 39, though it took a review from Dean Elgar to get the opener off the field.

There was no more damage to England's batting though as Ollie Pope (11 not out) came in and helped Crawley (69no) to finish off the run chase, giving the in-form hosts a sixth win from their last seven Test matches.

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    England have produced several fine batting displays since McCullum and Stokes took over as head coach and captain this year, leading Pope to hail the squad's willingness to buy into their ideas.

    Speaking to Sky Sports after helping England make a historic start to their first Test in Pakistan since 2005, Pope said: "I think it's the ideal start to the tour!

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    England have not lifted the World Cup since 1966 and Rice accepts that partly explains why his side are perhaps not as fancied as others to go all the way in Qatar.

    "We're one of the biggest teams here. It's down to us to prove it on the pitch," he said. "Teams like France have won World Cups and done it consistently. We want to change that.

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    The nine goals scored by England is the most they have ever managed in the group stage at a major tournament.

    Rice is one of seven players to have started each of England's matches in Qatar and he was also a regular in their run to the Euro 2020 final, which they lost to Italy on penalties.

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    "It was obviously COVID back then so we couldn't see anyone, friends or family," he said. "But we saw videos of the fans back home and it brought all the fans together.

    "We will try to keep going, try to lift everyone. It's obviously really close to Christmas now, so hopefully we'll give them the best Christmas present."

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