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Amla triple century carries South Africa to victory

South Africa won the first Test at the Oval and took a massive step towards claiming England’s crown as top Test nation in the world. England couldn’t resist the South African bowlers and lost by an innings.

With four wickets already down, England’s task on the final day was the daunting one of batting all day. Although Ian Bell and Matthew Prior offered some spirited resistance with a stubborn partnership, once they had gone, it was just a matter of time before England succumbed.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith celebrated his 100th Test in style, with a century. "With some milestones you can get scared," Smith said, "but to score 100 and win the Test just feels a bit surreal at the moment."

Apart from Smith’s achievements, South Africa will remember the game for Hashim Amla’s brilliant 311 not out, the first time a South African has completed a triple century. "I'm happy, surprised, really excited that I managed to do something that has never been done before as a South African," Amla said. "With my scoring rate, 300 is usually a very long way away, so it didn't cross my mind until I'd got to 250. I'm overwhelmed. It's a lovely feeling."

"There are lessons to be learned," England captain Andrew Strauss said. "We’ll learn them for next time. South Africa played outstandingly well, got on top and didn’t allow us back in. Now we have to win the next two matches and I have total belief that we can do that."

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