England were on the wrong end of a crushing 340-run defeat at they were outclassed by South Africa in the second Investec Test at Trent Bridge.
The Proteas were thoroughly deserving of an emphatic victory that levels the series at 1-1 after dominating with both bat and ball throughout the match with an outstanding performance under returning skipper Faf du Plessis.
The hosts, however, have plenty of questions to answer after mustering just 133 from 44.2 overs in their second innings on a sunny fourth day, following their 205 all out in their first innings.
In contrast, the tourists looked far more comfortable in accruing 335 on days one and two and following that up with 343-9 declared yesterday.
Some of England’s dismissals were the result of excellent bowling, but, once again, other players got themselves out, seemingly caught between batting defensively and going on the attack.
Skipper Root lamented his side’s ‘poor’ display and said: “It’s been a tough week. South Africa responded very well to Lord’s and we, especially with the bat, didn’t assess situations quickly enough in that first innings and from then on we were always battling to get back in the game.
“I was very disappointed with the way we played in this match. That wasn’t a fair representation of how good we are as a team.
“It’s important to stay calm because there is a lot of cricket still left to be played in this series. We can’t sulk and get too down on ourselves. We have to learn the lessons from this and play things slightly smarter.
“A lot of sides struggle to get the balance right between patience and aggression with how much white ball cricket is now played. There’s no shying away from it – we need to be better at that in Test cricket.
Opposite number du Plessis added: “The wicket was still really good today and that was the thinking when we batted for a long time yesterday. We wanted to make sure we had a big total on the board.
“It was crucial we got 450-plus because the groundsman said that days three and four would be the best days for batting and, when the sun comes out at Trent Bridge, the wicket is a good one.
“That wasn’t a fair representation of how good we are as a team.” England captain Joe Root.
“The chat at the start of the day was to expect a really hard day, but we’re obviously glad that we got the game finished sooner than we were preparing for.”
Resuming on their overnight 1-0, Keaton Jennings was the first to go as he was bowled by Vernon Philander from the 11th delivery of the day for 3.
The same bowler accounted for Gary Ballance, who was trapped lbw for 4 on review to a ball that pitched on leg stump after he was initially given not out.
Key men Alastair Cook and Joe Root briefly stemmed the tide as they took England past the 50 mark in the 17th over, but both men departed before lunch to all-but seal England’s fate.
First Root was bowled for 8 by a superb Chris Morris yorker that swung late to beat the outside edge of the England captain’s bat.
Then the South Africa paceman cramped Cook, who made 42 from 76 balls, with a quick bouncer and he gloved a catch down the legside to Quinton de Kock.
From 79-4 at lunch, the match was soon over as England repeated their day two collapse, with the last five wickets falling for 11 runs.
Jonny Bairstow was caught at mid-on for 16 trying to come down the track to Keshav Maharaj, who took 3-42, while Ben Stokes made 18 before giving Philander, 3-24, a fifth victim of the match as the seamer took a sharp caught and bowled chance.
Moeen Ali did not get off mark until the 20th ball of his 27 and then hit three consecutive deliveries to take England past 100.
But just two balls after a third umpire reprieve, he swept Maharaj straight to square leg, while Stuart Broad, 5, perished playing the same shot to the same bowler on the deep square leg boundary.
It left seamer Duanne Olivier to mop up the wickets of Mark Wood and James Anderson for ducks in consecutive balls – his first two successes in Test cricket in England – and spark South African celebrations.
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