England suffer defeat at Lord’s after an uphill struggle to retain their title as the world’s number one test cricket side.
Lord’s, the home of cricket, today became home to the second best cricket team.
Chasing what would have been their highest ever fourth innings total, England needed 346 at the start of the day to win the match, draw the series and stay top of the International Cricket Council rankings.
They put in in a spirited display, reaching 294, but South Africa eventually won by 51 runs.
Wicket-keeper Matt Prior was top scorer for England with 73 runs, surviving a stumping and a no-ball which resulted in him being called back from dismissal.
Yesterday had seen Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook fall inside the first four overs of England’s second innings, leaving Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott to see out the fourth day’s play.
This morning Bell and Taylor fell quickly. Bairstow, who replaced Kevin Pietersen for the final test, made his second half-century of the match. He was out with England on 134.
After Trott’s dismissal 12 runs later, the home side faced an uphill struggle on 146 for six.
The three-match series was plagued by England’s close fielders dropping catches. A heavy loss in the first test at the Oval, by an innings and 12 runs, was only slightly offset by the draw at Headingley.
England are now on 117 ranking points, ahead of Australia on 116 but behind the newly crowned test champions South Africa, who have 120 points.