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England take 1-0 series lead in South Africa

December 30, 2009

England captain Andrew Strauss (left) and his players celebrate the win

Graeme Swann ended with figures of 5-54 as England demolished South Africa in Durban to take a 1-0 series lead.

Needing just four wickets for victory after leaving the hosts 76-6 overnight England made short work of the tail, bowling South Africa out for 113 to win by an innings and 98 runs.

“It’s not far off the best performance I’ve seen from an England side, certainly away from home,” said England captain Andrew Strauss. “We realise that the series is still alive and we’ve got to do a lot more hard work in Cape Town and Joburg but right now we’re just delighted we’ve stuck to our plan in this game.”

After the gritty draw in Centurion in the first Test, the performance in Durban was a welcome improvement. Strauss was particularly happy for the much-criticised Ian Bell who top-scored with 140 in England’s first innings of 574-9 declared.

“It was great to see Belly get a hundred,” said Strauss. “People have been questioning his place in the side and he had to stand up and deliver and he played beautifully. I’m really pleased for him and hopefully he has answered some of his critics.”

The third Test starts on January 3rd in Cape Town.

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