South Africa 326 (Erwee 73, Jansen 48, Elgar 47, Maharaj 41, Broad 3-71, Stokes 3-71) beat England 165 (Pope 73, Rabada 5-52, Nortje 3-63) and 149 (Nortje 3-47) by an innings and 12 runs
South Africa completed a crushing innings win over England at Lord's, dismantling the home batting line-up for the second time in three days to go 1-0 up in the series. Anrich Nortje ripped the heart out of innings with a three-wicket salvo after lunch, while Kagiso Rabada finished with match figures of 7 for 79, as England were blown away in 37.4 overs.
The result handed Ben Stokes his first defeat as England's full-time Test captain, and confirmed that after a run of four wins in a row, South Africa would present a stern test of the new management's attacking philosophy.
In the build-up, Dean Elgar had bullishly declared he was not concerned with how England might try to play, and his players backed up that stance by asserting themselves from the outside in a concerted collective display. The bowlers, in particular, were ruthless. Rabada and Nortje shared 13 wickets and they had superb back-up from Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi and Keshav Maharaj, the spinner who struck twice before lunch on day three to undermine England's hopes of batting their way back into the contest.
Although South Africa's innings only contained one half-century, from the opener Sarel Erwee, nine of the XI reached double-figures as they carved out a decisive 161-run lead on first innings. England could point to having been inserted in helpful conditions but, for the first time this summer, they found themselves deep in a hole and without the carrot of trying to engineer a chase. It did not take long for the wheels to come off.
Alex Lees was dropped in the cordon in Rabada's second over, and Elgar's decision to turn to spin brought a few raised eyebrows. But Maharaj responded by taking wickets in his first and third overs, Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope both trapped lbw. Crawley fell sweeping at his third ball from the left-armer, extending his trough of form - he averages 15.64 from his last seven Tests - and Pope was pinned on the back foot, via a review, with the last ball before lunch.
South Africa had the bit between their teeth, and Lungi Ngidi claimed the prize wicket of Joe Root, tempted into pushing at one that left him down the slope for a low catch at second slip. A three-day finish was suddenly looking increasingly likely, but such was the speed of England's subsequent capitulation that the result was done and dusted before tea, Nortje ripping out three wickets in 10 balls before the last four were blitzed for the addition of eight runs in 3.3 overs.
If South Africa's success was largely marked by a quiet intensity, in the manner of their captain, Elgar, the passage in which Nortje removed Jonny Bairstow, Lees and Ben Foakes was pure fast-bowling bombast. Although he seemed to be battling with the slope from the Nursery End, he found his range during an over in which every delivery was above 90mph/145kph and at one stage topped 95mph/153kph.
Bairstow had twice used the extra pace to cut boundaries but was caught behind by one that left him. Nortje then went round the wicket in his next over, taking the ball up the slope to feather Lees' outside edge; two balls later, Foakes flinched at a 92mph/148kph delivery in the channel, and Kyle Verreynne again completed the dismissal.
The response from Stokes and Stuart Broad was to try and hit their way out of trouble, and their success during a stand worth 55 from 45 balls briefly raised the possibility of South Africa having to bat again. Broad closed his eyes and swung Nortje for six into the Tavern Stand, but was then foxed by Rabada's slower ball for the second time in the match.
A diving catch in the deep from Maharaj presented Rabada the wicket of Stokes, and with Jansen hitting the stumps of Matt Potts and James Anderson either side, the end came swiftly. With England batting for fewer than 90 overs across their two innings, South Africa's four-man pace attack could look forward to two extra days of rest before the second Test of three begins at Old Trafford next Thursday.
The morning began with England claiming a wicket third ball, but that was about as good as it got, as South Africa's solid batting effort cemented their hold on the Test. The lead was already a handy 124 overnight, and although Rabada was dismissed early, via a spectacular one-handed catch from Broad, England's attempts to finish the innings quickly by bowling short were frustrated by a 29-run stand between Nortje and Jansen.
Nortje dealt with the barrage capably, despite a couple of half-chances that did not go to hand, and began to push the scoreboard on, driving Stokes sweetly through mid-on from one of the rare balls in his half. Jansen was the more watchful, adding just seven runs to his overnight score before edging Broad to slip just shy of a maiden Test fifty, as England finally reverted to a more orthodox approach. Ngidi also fell to a catch in the cordon - Bairstow holding on at the second attempt - but there was to be no Bazballing their way out of this one.