England completed a superb series win over South Africa by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead following victory in the third Test in Johannesburg.
Stuart Broad scythed through the South Africa batting line-up on the third day to set up a seven-wicket victory which leaves them two up with the final Test at Centurion still to play.
Although it has very much been a team effort to pull of a first away series win in four years, Broad’s spell was the latest in a line of stunning individual performances which have swung the series towards England.
Here is a look at some of the key moments that led to England’s win:
The fiery all-rounder has shown glimpses of what he can produce in the past, but he delivered in spectacular style in the second Test in an innings which proved to have a huge impact on the series. Stokes’ 258 – the second fastest Test double century of all time – came at an important time for England, who were teetering on 223 for five when he arrived at the crease, but it had a remarkable effect on the opposition ahead of the next Test.
Although the game was ultimately drawn in Cape Town, Stokes marked himself as a dangerman for the rest of the series and the impact of his blistering knock was truly felt on the second day at the Wanderers when his presence at the crease reopened some scars and forced South Africa onto the back foot with an impressive counter-attack.
An inexperienced bowling attack was hit off its line-and-length and England quickly regained the upperhand as Stokes set the game up for a dramatic finish with a half-century before finishing with five wickets to boot.
Stuart Broad’s spell of 5-1 in 31 balls
The 29-year-old took on the brunt of the responsibility with the ball at Kingsmead in the first Test in the absence of James Anderson, claiming match figures of 5-54 as England won convincingly.
After a quieter time in the second Test, much was expected of the Broad-Anderson combination in Johannesburg as England looked to wrap up an away series win.
The Nottinghamshire man fell ill on the opening day and struggled to find his rhythm, but with the game in the balance in the second innings, he produced a spell of bowling to swing the match, and the series, England’s way once and for all.
South Africa had taken a narrow lead with 10 second-innings wickets left and with the prospect of a deteriorating pitch facing England, it looked bleak. However Broad, after a few words from coach Trevor Bayliss, steamed in to remove five of the South Africa top six in an astonishing spell that saw him concede just one run – which came courtesy of a dropped catch – as England raced towards victory.
Jonny Bairstow’s emergence as wicketkeeper/batsman
The Yorkshire wicketkeeper had enjoyed mixed success in an England shirt, but cemented his place in the side with a series of brilliant performances both in front of the stumps and behind them.
He looked at ease on a tricky wicket in Durban, and his second innings knock of 79 went a long way towards England taking a 1-0 lead before he sacrificed his wicket in search of quick runs.
He followed that up with the first stumping by an England keeper since 2012, and shared in that record partnership of 399 with Stokes at Cape Town as he hit a maiden Test ton.
The good form continued with 45 at Joburg and nine catches with the gloves, as well as a spectacular piece of athleticism to run out Temba Bavuma to mark his all-round importance to this England side.
Root went in to the series as one of the leading batsmen in world cricket, and the pressure was on him to deliver away from home for England.
He immediately looked like a man on a mission, and signalled his intent early on by pulling Kyle Abbott over the midwicket boundary for six in the first Test to put a marker down against the South African attack.
His second innings knock of 73 was important in setting up the game, and again at Cape Town he looked serene at the crease before edging behind on 50 and left the field visibly frustrated with himself.
In the first two Tests he threatened to do something special, but in the third he delivered.
Arriving at the crease with England 22 for two and South Africa scenting blood, Root rode an early hostile spell before fighting back alongside Stokes to give England the upper-hand.
The Yorkshireman eventually brought up his ninth – and arguably most important – Test ton, and batted with ease on a wicket that had proved testing even to fellow luminaries such as Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Alastair Cook.
By the time he was out for 110 he had comfortably outscored anyone else in the match (Stokes was the only other person to pass fifty) and provided a match-winning innings.
Moeen had endured a tough series with bat and ball in the United Arab Emirates in November, but bounced back with a man-of-the-match performance to give England an early lead.
With a five-wicket haul to boost his confidence in the warm-up games, Moeen was on top of his game in Durban as he stepped up to the plate to bowl England to victory on the final day.
He had already proved his effectiveness in the first dig, dismissing Francois du Plessis, JP Duminy, Kyle Abbott and Dale Steyn to finish with 4-69, but the pressure was on him to make use of a turning wicket on the final day.
South Africa were well-placed to bat out the day and claim a draw, but Moeen deceived De Villiers in the opening over of the day to set England on the road to victory.
Bavuma and Abbott followed soon after as England made short work of the final day and Moeen finished with match figures of 7-106 to set the ball rolling.