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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December, 2004, 08:56 GMT
England seal record-breaking win
First Test, Port Elizabeth:
England 425 & 145-3 beat South Africa 337 & 229 by seven wickets

Andrew Strauss celebrates

England completed an unprecedented eighth successive Test victory with a seven-wicket win in the series-opener against South Africa.

Needing just 49 more runs when they resumed on the fifth morning in Port Elizabeth, they took just 35 minutes.

First innings centurion Andrew Strauss hit an unbeaten 94, his 12th boundary taking England past the 142 needed.

Graham Thorpe allowed the younger batsman to lead the way but contributed a patient 31 from 78 deliveries.

By whitewashing New Zealand and West Indies at home last summer, Michael Vaughan's men emulated the England team of 1928-29 in winning seven Tests in a row.

MOST SUCCESSIVE TEST WINS
16 - Australia
Oct 1999 to March 2001
11 - West Indies
April to Dec 1984
9 - South Africa
March 2002 to May 2003
9 - Sri Lanka
Sept 2001 to March 2002
8 - Australia
Dec 1920 to July 1921
8 - England
May to Dec 2004
The victory broke new ground for England, but they would need to double the length of the run to equal Australia's world record of 16 consecutive successes.

Set 142 to win, Strauss and Thorpe had done the bulk of the work on Monday, lifting the tourists from 50-3.

In overcast conditions on day five, Strauss brought up the England 100, and the 50 partnership, in the second over of the day, nudging Shaun Pollock off his hip for four.

And the left-hander banished any thoughts of a patient plod towards victory - or South Africa's lingering hopes of revival - with a hooked six off debutant Dale Steyn.

His average of 57.86 is the now the highest among the top 50 in the Test batting rankings.

Thorpe took his usual low-key approach, with particular attention to the part-time off-spin of South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

The tourists have just four days off before getting an opportunity to extend their streak in the Boxing Day Test in Durban.


South Africa: G Smith (captain), AB de Villiers, J Rudolph, J Kallis, B Dippenaar, Z de Bruyn, A Hall, S Pollock, T Tsolekile (wk), M Ntini, D Steyn.

England: M Vaughan (captain), M Trescothick, A Strauss, M Butcher, G Thorpe, A Flintoff, G Jones (wk), A Giles, S Jones, M Hoggard, S Harmison.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew


Interview: Man-of-the-match England's Andrew Strauss


Interview: South Africa captain Graeme Smith



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