England end tour with a whimper but Strauss hails trip as a success

ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss refused to blame controversy over the decision review system after his side were denied a memorable series victory by a thrashing from South Africa in the final Test.

The hosts clinched a draw in the four-match series by sealing an emphatic victory in Johannesburg by an innings and 74 runs before lunch on the fourth day.

While the Proteas’ superiority at the Wanderers was in little doubt, England were aggrieved that third umpire Daryl Harper did not give Graeme Smith out on day two, despite the stump microphone picking up contact between bat and ball.

Strauss admitted, however, that the overriding factor in his side’s demise had not been umpiring, but the gulf between the two teams’ displays.

“We’re far more frustrated by the way we played than anything that went on with the review system in this game,” said the skipper.

“When we needed things to go our way, they didn’t – which is often the case. When you’re behind and clutching at straws, it often doesn’t happen the way you want it to.

“We need to take this loss on the chin and accept it for what it was – which is not a very good performance on our part, and a very good one from South Africa.”

England resumed on Sunday on the brink of a brisk defeat, having been reduced to 48-3 in their second innings before close on day three.

Off-form batsman Kevin Pietersen (12) departed within an hour and, some resistance from Paul Collingwood (71) aside, England crumbled to 169 all out without delay. Fast-bowlers Morne Morkel (4-59) and Dale Steyn (2-64) continued their devastating run, taking their combined haul for the match to 14 wickets.

But, reflecting on a tour that also saw England win the one-day series, Strauss insisted the trip had been a success. “That’s a disappointing end,” he added. “But it’s been a very successful tour, and I think we’ve made some improvements over the course of the 10 weeks.”