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Strauss gives England record win
Telford Vice in Port Elizabeth | December 21, 2004 17:28 IST
Andrew Strauss led England to a record eighth successive Test victory on Tuesday as they beat South Africa by seven wickets in the first Test at Port Elizabeth.
Man of the match Strauss added 94 not out to his first-innings century and hit the winning runs by cutting strike bowler Makhaya Ntini for a boundary, putting the touring side 1-0 up in the five-match series.
Fellow left-hander Graham Thorpe was 31 not out at the other end.
England, chasing 142 to win after dismissing South Africa for 229 in their second innings, resumed on 93 for three and rattled up the 49 needed off just under 10 overs as dark clouds gathered around St George's following overnight rain.
Captain Michael Vaughan, whose side lost their only warm-up match against South Africa 'A', was delighted.
"It just shows the amount of character and mental resolve in our team," he said. "We can improve for the second Test."
South Africa captain Graeme Smith responded: "We let ourselves down when the pressure was on. Our second innings wasn't good enough."
Strauss, whose eight-Test career coincides with England's record winning streak, went on the attack immediately on Tuesday morning. He set the tone by smashing a six and a four off quick bowler Dale Steyn in the third over of the day.
When Smith opted to bring himself on, the English pair milked his occasional off spin, Thorpe getting in the act with a square drive for four as 11 came off the penultimate over.
Strauss batted for three hours, faced 134 balls and hit 12 fours and a six.
He made 126 in the first innings, meaning he had scored centuries on both his home and away debuts.
England, who whitewashed New Zealand 3-0 and West Indies 4-0 at home before coming to South Africa, won seven consecutive Tests between 1928 and 1929 under Percy Chapman.
Only four sides have won more Tests in a row, with Australia holding the world record of 16. The second Test of the five-match series starts on Sunday in Durban.
"You don't go out to make history, it just comes along," England coach Duncan Fletcher said.
There were more landmarks for Strauss. He became the third player in Test history after Australians Johnnie Taylor and Jack Gregory to be on the winning side in his first eight Tests.
West Indian Eldine Baptiste, Australia's Brett Lee and Thilan Samaraweera of Sri Lanka won their first 10 Tests, and the record of 15 is held by Australian Adam Gilchrist.
South Africa (first innings) 337
England (first innings) 425
South Africa (second innings) 229
England (second innings, overnight 93-3)
Extras (lb-3 nb-2) 5
Total (for 3 wickets, 40.4 overs) 145
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-11, 3-50
Did not bat: A.Flintoff, G.Jones, A.Giles, M.Hoggard, S.Jones, S.Harmison.
Bowling: Pollock 11-2-36-1 (nb-1), Ntini 6.4-1-24-1, Hall 9-1-14-0 (nb-1), Steyn 6-1-29-1, Smith 8-0-39-0.
South Africa: G.Smith, Z.de Bruyn, A.de Villiers, H.Dippenaar, A.Hall, J.Kallis, M.Ntini, S.Pollock, J.Rudolph, D.Steyn, T.Tsolekile
Result: England won by seven wickets
Series: England lead the five-match series 1-0.
Remaining Test fixtures:
Second Test: Dec 26-30, Durban
Third Test: Jan 2-6 2005, Cape Town
Fourth Test: Jan 13-17, Johannesburg
Fifth Test: Jan 21-25, Centurion