x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Strauss thrilled with the quality of England's performance

But it is back to the drawing board for his opposite number after defeat by an innings and 98 runs.

Andrew Strauss masterminded England's win.
Andrew Strauss masterminded England's win.

KINGSMEAD // Andrew Strauss, the England captain, hailed a faultless display after his side wrapped up victory by an innings and 98 runs to go one-nil up with two Tests to play in South Africa. "Away from home, it's as emphatic a victory that I can remember," Strauss said, after England took the remaining four South African wickets to bowl the hosts out for 133 runs on the final day of the second Test.

"We did exactly what we wanted to. We got them two down early on and they got stuck in but never got away from us. "With the bat we hit them hard and made it count. When you do that it puts the opposition under pressure. It set things up to bowl them out in the fourth innings." Strauss reserved special praise for spinner Graeme Swann, who took his fifth second innings wicket yesterday to finish with match figures of nine for 164 and take his 2009 tally to 54 in the process.

"Graeme's had a massive impact on our side over the last 12 months," Strauss said. "He's always been a very attacking spinner, never someone who settles at two an over, he's always given it a rip and bowled an attacking line and with the extra pressure in Test cricket that can be invaluable. "On the field he's been exceptional and off it he lightens the mood, keeping people going when they're down, and that makes a big difference. His contribution has been massive.

"He's a very clever spin bowler and his batting's been a massive plus as well. There's nothing worse as a bowler than someone who has no fear of getting out. He plays outrageous shots which are difficult to stop. "He's able to contribute when the wickets are not spinning and take two to three wickets in the first innings which spinners don't often do. It takes the pressure off your seamers at the other end."

A deflated Graeme Smith, the South African skipper, found the manner of his side's defeat difficult to stomach. "It's massively disappointing. We've been outplayed over the last few days and have not really had an answer," he said. "We fought really well to post 300-odd but, from ball one with the ball, we were poor and gave England a start. They raced to 100 and we were playing catch-up after that.

"You've got to give Graeme Swann credit for the way that he has bowled. It's been disappointing the way we've played him. We've played spin well over the last two years but he's used his angles well and created a lot of pressure. He's bowled behind an attack that has been very precise and allowed him to do his thing." sports@thenational.ae