Kevin Pietersen led England to a consolation victory in the fourth Test against the Proteas at The Oval on his Captaincy Debut. England won the fourth Test by 6 wickets but the series was already won by South Africa as they won the second and the third tests while the first one was a draw. Kevin Pietersen led his team from the front with a crucial hundred that gave a sizeable lead of 122 in their first innings that set the match up for the hosts.
South Africa didn’t quite show the intensity going into this match and that helped England a great deal. England on the other hand made a couple of changes with Steve Harmison making a comeback in the place of Ryan Sidebottom and also playing an additional pacer in Stuart Broad in the vacant spot created by Michael Vaughan. SA who had won the toss and elected to bat slipped to 194 all out on the first day after what was a decent start from its openers. All the five bowlers used by Pietersen were amongst the wickets. The top score for the South Africans was just 46 which was made by Graeme Smith. Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers contributed 30s.
England took control of the match with a couple of good partnerships that involved their new Captain Kevin Pietersen, who made a quick 100 in 137 balls with 15 fours. Makhaya Ntini (5 for 94) and Jacques Kallis (3 for 51) were instrumental in keeping England’s first innings total to 316. Paul Collingwood chipped in with a valuable 61 while Harmison and Anderson with a partnership of 53 for the 9th wicket added to the SA woes towards the end.
The Proteas had a much better outing in their second innings that was interrupted by rain on the 3rd day. They got a much better looking 316 in their second innings but the target for England was not a huge one at 197. AB de Villiers with 97 (from 170 balls with 12 fours) and Hashim Amla with 76 (from 99 balls with 14 fours) were the heroes for SA. Once again wickets were shared among all the frontline bowlers for England. The homeside crusied through to a 6-wicket win on the final day. The openers Strauss (58 from 107 balls with 6 fours) and Cook (67 from 106 balls with 12 fours) knocked off 123 runs to make it very easy for the middle order. The Man of the Match was the new English Captain Kevin Pietersen.