Objective achieved - and emphatically so!
There is nothing better than winning a test match after having to work hard for it. The satisfaction that the South African team would have felt after completing a series victory at the home of cricket would have been immense. Celebrations would have started in the dressing room and carried on well into the night.
Winning a high-profile test match and completing a test series win against a top nation like England is the ultimate. The fact that this series meant that the Proteas are now the undisputed No 1 test team in the world is a much deserved, added bonus.
The formula for success is a simple one for the Proteas. It is based on a very strong batting line-up with seven specialist batsmen which has been made possible by AB de Villiers keeping. This balances up the test team perfectly.
On top of that South Africa have the best pace attack by far in world cricket at the moment. Imran Tahir, although not quite the best spinner around, gives variation to the attack. The South African fielding unit is rock-solid as well. There is no chink in the South African armour.
On the evidence of what we have seen over the past few weeks, South Africa should hang on to their world ranking for some time to come. England have had their peak. As a team they are unlikely to get better. The next assignment in the test arena is the series Down Under. The Aussies will compete, as they did in the recently completed series in South Africa. The reality is that the Proteas are the stronger team – this team is even stronger than the one that beat the Aussies at home the last time the Proteas toured there.
The recently completed series in England was really enjoyable. It was one-sided and had rain not interfered at Headingley it would in all likelihood have been a whitewash. Even so, it was a great advertisement for test cricket.
England must be given some credit for their performance at Lords. They played to the best of their ability irrespective of the distraction of the Kevin Petersen fiasco. They were below full strength because of this, but they did compete and added to the spectacle of the occasion.
The pleasing aspect for South Africa is that things are now cut and dry as far as who the best test team in the world is. The Proteas settled the argument in emphatic fashion by proving that they are the better team in every department. There can't and won't be any excuses. When both teams play to the best of their ability, the Proteas will win every time.
Now for the T20 World Cup. Hopefully the rest of the England tour will be used to fine-tune for that. The main objective of the tour has been achieved. The rest is there to be enjoyed, and to prepare for bigger battles ahead.