Broad ripped through the Proteas order on the third afternoon at the Wanderers – at one point taking five wickets for a single run in 31 balls – as England powered towards a seven-wicket win.
Few could have expected such a premature end at the start of play this morning, when picking a winner was a 50-50 call, but Broad’s penchant for the extraordinary meant England had won in a landslide just over two sessions later.
South Africa were skittled for just 83 and an unassailable 2-0 series lead over the world’s top-ranked side was soon secured in a modest chase of 74.
“Broady with the way he bowls was outstanding and, backed up by Jimmy, it is a privilege to captain those two,” he said.
“It will be one of those days that we’ll look back on for a long time and I’m very lucky to have led the side here and playing with the players I have played with.”
Cook is increasingly finding that he has several match-winners at his disposal.
South Africa had sniffed an opportunity when England were reduced to 91 for four only for Stokes and Root to steal away the initiative in a 111-run stand from 97 balls.
Root would go on to score his ninth Test century which, after the events of today, was arguably the finest of his career and Cook admitted such is their talent he hardly needs to offer a word of advice.
“I don’t tell Stokesy anything, I just let him play,” he said.
“Those two did the same against New Zealand last year when we were 30 for four. They came out and played exactly the same way.
“Ben is in great touch, he looking fantastic and was supported by Rooty in that partnership which got us back into the game.
“Then for Rooty to get a hundred – he played exceptionally to get a hundred on that wicket.
“When you are level on the third innings on a wicket like that it is always hard and we put the ball in the areas like we did and took our catches we bowled them out.”
With the series won a game early, the fourth Test starts in Centurion next Thursday, there is still cricket to be played although Cook admitted that the celebrations would go long into the night given the significance of victory.
“There’s always more to come you can never be satisfied but tonight is certainly not a night to be right about it,” he said.
“The director of cricket Andrew Strauss told us to have a big one so if he said it we’re going to do it.”
South Africa captain AB de Villiers paid credit to England as he was condemned to defeat in his first match in charge of the Test team.
“They bowled exceptionally well,” he said.
“I haven’t seen a team bowl like that in a long, long time. They used the conditions exceptionally well and they were well captained well by Cooky.
“We were outplayed in the second innings, there was no doubt about that and credit to them for playing well.”
De Villiers admitted his frustration at letting opportunities slip, most significantly after too many of his team-mates failed to go on and make a decisive score after he won the toss and batted.
“I thought it was a good toss to win. I thought all the batters got in but there were quite a few soft dismissals in the first innings which cost us dearly,” he said.
“I believe it was a 400-plus wicket the way we were going, settling in with our partnerships, but unfortunately we didn’t make it count and let them back into the game.
“They didn’t bowl us out in the first innings. They bowled us out in the second and that was after we allowed them back into the game.
“It’s a pretty disappointing Test match for us.”
South Africa did have the positive of 20-year-old seamer Kagiso Rabada’s first Test five-wicket haul to reflect on.
“I’m very happy for him. He’s a very bright talent for us,” De Villiers said.
“He’s a big part of our future so we have to look after him really well.”