England needed only 25 minutes on the final day of the third Test against South Africa to clinch a 2-1 series win, as they beat the Proteas by nine wickets at The Oval.

The hosts were all set for victory on Sunday evening, but bad light frustratingly stopped play with only 33 more runs required to seal the win.

However, there was no hope of South Africa inflicting any damage on England who sauntered to success despite having Alex Lees dismissed LBW for 39 by Kagiso Rabada.

Victory was achieved in just over two days’ play with the first day rained off and the second postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

It completes a very successful first summer of Test cricket under the captaincy of Ben Stokes and coaching of Brendon McCullum, with England looking a serious threat at red-ball level.

They have won six of seven Test matches this summer, a complete turnaround from a record of just one win in 17 which included a diabolical Ashes (England 11/10, Australia 6/5, draw 6/1 – 2023 Ashes) defeat in Australia.

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Attention will now focus on white-ball cricket with England playing the T20 World Cup (4/1 – to win outright) in Australia in October.

England’s next Test assignment will be away in Pakistan in December.

Player of the Series and skipper Stokes said afterwards: “I’m delighted, it’s been a great series for us as a team.

“It has been one of those series where we haven’t had many individual standout performances, but different people have put their hand up for us throughout and that’s what you want in team sport.

“You want to be able to turn to people at key times and break the game open with either bat or ball and that’s what we’ve had throughout.”

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