South Africa completed a 196-run win over England on the fifth day of the third Test at Newlands yesterday to draw level in the five-match series.
Shaun Pollock took four for 65 and left-arm spinner Nicky Boje four for 71 as South Africa gained their first win in seven Tests. Their previous win was against New Zealand in Wellington last March.
Defeat ended a 13-match unbeaten streak by England going back to December 2003 when they were beaten by Sri Lanka in Colombo.
England's top score was made by last man Steve Harmison, who hit a career-best 42 off 42 balls before being caught at gully off Makhaya Ntini.
England resumed at 151 for five yesterday and quickly lost Graham Thorpe, the last of their top-order batsmen, for 26.
Pollock struck in the sixth over of the day. Operating with the second new ball which had been taken three overs earlier, he produced an excellent delivery which swung in to the left-hander and straightened off the pitch. AB de Villiers took a good diving catch.
Wicketkeeper Geraint Jones and spin bowler Ashley Giles defied the South African bowlers for 83 minutes, putting on 62 runs before Giles edged left-arm spinner Nicky Boje to Jacques Kallis after scoring 25.
Boje then took the wicket of Jones, who was out in the last over before lunch, superbly caught by Kallis, who had to fling himself low and to his right at slip.
South Africa struggled to take the last two wickets. While Matthew Hoggard defended grimly, making an unbeaten seven off 64 balls, Simon Jones made a breezy 19 and Harmison struck the ball with gusto to spoil the figures of both Pollock and Boje, who until then had kept a tight clamp on the batsmen.
There was a boost for the England camp when it was announced that a scan on a side injury suffered by star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff revealed only a minor tear.
Team spokesman David Clarke said the injury, under the 12th rib, was expected to respond to treatment and that Flintoff was expected to fit to bowl in the fourth Test in Johannesburg.
Batsman Mark Butcher, who missed the current Test because of a wrist injury, was still wearing a brace to immobilize the wrist, which had not responded to treatment. Clarke said the injury would be re-assessed when the team move to Johannesburg on Sunday.
The teams move inland for the remaining two Tests, in Johannesburg and Centurion, starting on Jan. 13 and Jan. 21 respectively.
South Africa, who started the series as underdogs, owed much to Jacques Kallis, who made 149 and 66 in which only two other batsmen, South African captain Graeme Smith and Boje, made scores of more than 50.
England's batting lacked resolve against disciplined bowling, with several batsmen making reasonable starts but no one scoring more than Andrew Strauss' first innings 45. In the second innings no fewer than eight men reached 20 but the highest score was Harmison's 42.
On the fourth day on Wednesday, England, set to make a world record 501 to win, were 151 for five at the close.
England recovered from the loss of Marcus Trescothick to the second ball of the innings when only one wicket fell between lunch and tea.
Andrew Strauss, England's top scorer in the first five innings of the series, was leg before wicket to left-arm spinner Nicky Boje for 39.
Robert Key and England captain Michael Vaughan stayed together for 20 overs and were looking solid before there was a dramatic change of fortunes, with both men out in quick succession.