Stuart Broad treated a 28,000 sell-out Wanderers crowd to a sensational spell of fast bowling to inspire England to a seven-wicket victory inside three days that completed a Test series triumph over a shellshocked South Africa in Johannesburg.
The 29-year-old, well renowned for delivering game-changing spells during his international career, took five wickets for just one run in 31 balls in 49 breathtaking minutes before returning to wrap up the Proteas’ innings for 83 in 33.1 overs.
South Africa were just 10 runs behind at the halfway stage after dismissing the tourists for a first-innings 323, but Broad swung the ball both ways on a lively surface to return remarkable figures of 12.1-6-17-6, the 15th five-wicket haul of his career.
Broad removed Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl to become England’s third-highest Test wicket-taker, moving past Bob Willis’ tally of 325 scalps, and then took out AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma.
It was the seventh time the paceman had claimed five wickets in one Test spell, which included four wicket-maidens here, and brought back memories of his remarkable 8-15 that helped England regain the Ashes at Trent Bridge last summer.
Broad was aided by two spectacular catches at short-leg from James Taylor, while Ben Stokes, James Anderson, Steven Finn also shared four wickets, leaving the tourists requiring just 74 runs to take a 2-0 unassailable lead over the number-one ranked Test nation.
England lost Alex Hales, following a 64-run opening stand, before Nick Compton and skipper Alastair Cook also fell late in their chase.
The Proteas’ dramatic collapse put into context the brilliant century from Joe Root, who along with Stokes counter-attacked their side away from danger yesterday afternoon.
South Africa’s openers Elgar and Van Zyl had wiped out the first-innings deficit in a tricky half-hour period before lunch, but Broad soon reduced them to 35 for five early in the afternoon session.
Broad, operating round the wicket, tempted Elgar to fish outside off stump and edge to Jonny Bairstow and, after the paceman conceded his only run of the spell when Anderson dropped Van Zyl in the slips, the left-hander steered an edge to Stokes in the cordon shortly after.
The huge scalp of AB de Villiers followed, darting one back in to find the inside edge of the skipper, before Taylor held on low down to dismiss Hashim Amla, the short-leg wrapping his hands around the ball before it hit the ground.
The Proteas were in disarray when Temba Bavuma failed to duck out of the way of a Broad ball that did not get up and bowled him via his glove.
Broad was given a rest following five consecutive maidens and Steven Finn struck second ball courtesy of another superb reflex take from Taylor, flinging his right hand out to hold on to a Dane Vilas flick.
Five balls later a huge inswinger from Stokes flew through Chris Morris’ bat and pad to rearrange his furniture and, despite a couple of fours, Kagiso Rabada provided Bairstow with his ninth catch of the match.
South Africa got through to 71 for eight at tea but the procession continued when Anderson trapped Hardus Viljoen bang in front two overs upon the resumption.
Broad had the final say when he returned for his second spell, throwing himself down the wicket to hold on to an inside edge that flew off Faf du Plessis’ pad.
England were reliant on in-form Bairstow to secure a narrow lead this morning following the loss of five wickets for 85, Rabada completing his maiden Test five-wicket haul.
The Yorkshireman maintained his excellent form with 45, sharing vital stands of 37 and 30 with Moeen Ali and Broad respectively, after Root departed in the second full over for 106.
He attempted a lavish drive at a Rabada delivery that nipped back and flew off the inside edge to Vilas, who then pulled off a brilliant one-handed take from a Moeen nick off Morris’ third ball, shortly after his bat snapped in half.
Bairstow found the boundary on five occasions and, having seen Broad and Finn depart, was last man out trying to hit a sixth.
He’s got hands like Velcro pads @jamestaylor20 He’s definitely a Short Leg, he’s got two!! #SAvENG #shorty
— Paul Collingwood (@Colly622) January 16, 2016