* South Africa win series 2-0 after 51-run victory
* England fall short after gallant effort
LONDON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - South Africa replaced England at
the top of the world test rankings on Monday after defeating the
home side by 51 runs at Lord's to win their three-test series
England, set a record 346 for victory, were dismissed for
294 after some plucky counter-attacking by Matt Prior (73),
Jonny Bairstow (54), Graeme Swann (41) and Stuart Broad (37).
Jonathan Trott also chipped in with 63 and for a time it
looked like England could pull off a miracle but ultimately the
target was just too high.
The end of the match and the series was sealed when last man
Steven Finn was caught by second slip Jacques Kallis off Vernon
Philander, who finished with two wickets in two balls for
figures of five for 30.
Philander had also played two vital innings in the match of
61 and 35.
It was always going to be a difficult challenge for England
given that West Indies are the only team ever to have
successfully chased a target beyond 300 at Lord's, when they
made 344 for one in 1984. England's highest run chase is 332 for
seven against Australia in 1928.
There was some late drama on the last day when Prior and
Swann added 74 from just 66 deliveries. The crowd, basking in
bright sunshine, began to sense something incredible might be
about to happen but England's lack of wickets in hand cost them
The defeat meant England surrendered their position at the
top of the world rankings after holding the title for a year
after displacing India.
LATE ENGLAND RALLY
England have lost six of their last 11 test while South
Africa remain undefeated in away series for six years.
Too many players under-performed for England with only Prior
(275) and Trott scoring 200 runs in the series. Captain Andrew
Strauss averaged just 17.83 with a top score of 37 and their
bowlers also struggled with top wicket-taker Broad's 11 victims
coming at an average of 39.72.
The team's outstanding batsman Kevin Pietersen born in South
Africa, was dropped for the deciding test for sending derogatory
texts about England to their rivals.
Conversely, four South Africa players amassed more than 200
runs, with Hashim Amla racking up 482 at an average of 120.50,
boosted by his national record 311 not out in the first test at
South Africa started well on the final day, when England
resumed on 16 for two. The home side soon slipped to 45 for four
after Ian Bell (4) was caught at first slip off Philander and
James Taylor (4) was run out.
Trott and Bairstow gave the Proteas a brief scare with a
stand of 89 off just 102 balls. Bairstow followed his fighting
95 in the first innings with a more typically aggressive 47-ball
innings, which included eight boundaries.
He was bowled when leg-spinner Imran Tahir went around the
wicket and got a ball to keep low. Broad took 12 runs off one
Dale Steyn over, including a pulled six over square-leg, before
his cameo ended when he hooked Jacques Kallis to
The stand between Prior and Swann started the panic among
the South African ranks.
The first over after tea was a maiden but the next seven
cost 60 runs as Swann and Prior accelerated towards what seemed
an impossible victory. Every single run was cheered.
Prior reached his half-century with a second reverse sweep
for four in one Tahir over. In the same over Swann lofted the
leg-spinner into the crowd for a six over long-on.
Swann hit another six over mid-wicket in the next over when
Kallis dropped short. Next ball, Swann drove handsomely through
the covers when Kallis corrected his length.
Just as South Africa's seemingly inevitable victory began to
look in doubt, Swann was run out by centimetres after hesitating
over a quick single. Prior was caught at first slip by captain
Graeme Smith off Philander.
(Editing by Mark Meadows and John Mehaffey;
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