South Africa achieved one of the most comprehensive wins in Test history when they beat England by an innings and 12 runs in the first Test at the Oval on Monday but captain Graeme Smith and coach Gary Kirsten pledged they would not take England lightly in the remaining two matches.
South Africa bowled out England twice on a pitch which gave minimal help to the bowlers. They lost only two wickets themselves in piling up a massive 637 for two in their only innings, with man of the match Hashim Amla hitting a South African record 311 not out.
It was an especially surprising margin because England were on top on the first day when they scored 267 for three.
Dale Steyn was South Africa s hero on Monday, taking three wickets in 16 deliveries with the second new ball as England were bowled out for 240 on the final day. The fast bowler finished with five for 56 to justify his ranking as the world s leading Test bowler.
The win took South Africa a big step towards earning the number one ranking in Test cricket which they will achieve if they defeat current number ones England in the series. The second Test starts at Headingley in Leeds on August 2.
Smith said in a television interview before flying back to Cape Town to be with his wife for the birth of the couple s first child: “It s an extremely proud moment for all of us in our team.”