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MATCH REPORT

The First Test at the Oval was billed as the contest between the best two teams in the world. Pakistan, who whitewashed England during the winter, may have had something to say about that. But they are not the team facing England this summer, South Africa are and they comprehensively beat their opponents here.

England posted a competitive score in their first innings of 385, which was perhaps a hundred or so below par on what appeared to be a friendly enough pitch.

But South Africa’s batting response laid bare England’s bowling and in the process completely knocked the stuffing out of the batting line up for the second innings.

Hashim Amla is a wristy player who is pleasant to watch – the way he was playing England’s bowling he looked like super man.

In the end he finished with the highest score ever made by a South African, 311 not out.  He was ably supported by a Jacques Kallis’ 182 not out and a century from the likeable South African Captain Graeme Smith.

Then it was left to Dale Steyn – the great fast bowler – to take five wickets and Imran Tahir  to wrap the game up for the tourists.

England cracked when it became clear that they were not going to get past Amla and Kallis.

The game became a formality after.

World champions don’t fold like that.

This could be a long hot summer.

South Africa beat England by innings and 12 runs