London: South Africa moved to within one victory of becoming the No. 1 Test team in the world after trouncing England by an innings and 12 runs on Monday led by Dale Steyn's five-wicket haul.
Steyn finished with 5 for 56 and was supported by legspinner Imran Tahir's 3 for 63 as England slumped from 203 for 5 to all out for 240 during the afternoon session on the last day of the first Test at The Oval.
South Africa lead 1-0 in the three-match series and will replace England at the top of the ICC world rankings if they win the second Test, which starts August 2 at Headingley in Leeds.
"This is an extremely proud moment for all of us," South Africa captain Graeme Smith said. "In the context of the first innings this is a great achievement for us. We found an intensity on day two and got a few more plans right. I always felt we were ready and just needed to get into the game. We've got a batting unit that's been successful all around the world and mentally can adapt to all conditions."
Ian Bell and Matt Prior had given England hope of saving the match with a stand of 86 after Ravi Bopara (22) was the first batsman out on Monday with 15 added to the overnight total of 102 for 4.
But England collapsed after Prior fell for 40, caught in the slips by Jacques Kallis trying to sweep Tahir. Seven runs later, Steyn claimed the key wicket of Bell, who made 55 from 220 balls with six fours. It was a bruising defeat for England, which had enjoyed the better of the first day to reach 267 for 3. South Africa dominated from then, however, led by an epic 311 not out by Hashim Amla, an unbeaten 182 from Jacques Kallis and 131 from captain Graeme Smith to give the visitors a daunting 637 for 2 declared.
England realistically needed to bat through at least two sessions Monday to save the match, but poor shot selection contributed to their first Test defeat at home since going down to Pakistan at this venue in 2010.
"I think the odds were always against us, being four (wickets) down last night," Strauss said. "If it had been two it might have been a different story. Losing four wickets last night was a little bit of a body blow for us. I think if we'd had more wickets in hand we could have batted out the draw."
Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss had already gifted South Africa their wickets on Sunday with needlessly extravagant shots, and Bopara followed suit just 30 minutes into the morning session. Bopara flashed at a delivery from Steyn that he could have ignored, dragging the ball onto middle stump.
Wicketkeeper AB de Villiers then dropped Bell, who was on 20, after he nicked a delivery from Tahir that he was trying to block.
Bell narrowly avoided being run out in the 62nd over when a direct hit from JP Duminy would have left him stranded by a foot, but he and Matt Prior otherwise batted with discipline to survive 90 minutes to the end of the session.
England whittled away South Africa's lead after lunch until Prior, having batted sensibly for 132 minutes, tried to sweep Tahir and was caught at slip by Jacques Kallis for 40. The game appeared to be up for England when Steyn removed Bell with his second delivery with the new ball. Bell opened the face of his bat and tried to run the ball to third man, but merely guided it to Kallis at slip.
Stuart Broad was caught behind for 0 off Steyn on referral, while Graeme Swann launched a doomed counterattack and was caught for 7 by Alviro Petersen off Steyn.
The victory was sealed when James Anderson was trapped lbw to Tahir for 4. Anderson, almost resignedly, referred the call but replays showed the ball would have clattered into his stumps. "We know at Headingley conditions are going to be very different," Smith said. "We're probably going to need to play a slightly different game."