The change in top-management appears to have reaped immediate dividends for Cricket South Africa as the Proteas beat mighty England in the Boxing Day Test by 107 runs. Coming back from a series of five losses, South Africa looked determined to clinch the first Test of the two-month-long England visit as they posted a gritty total of 284 in the first innings owing to a significant contribution by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock for which he was named the Player of the Match. In response, England could only manage 181 as veteran Proteas pacer Vernon Philander wreaked carnage.
Philander's 4/16 was well supported by Proteas prodigy Kagiso Rabada who scalped 3 wickets while fellow pacer Anrich Nortje could manage two wickets. England looked to bounce back in the second innings as Jofra Archer's short ball ploy managed to bother South Africa's batting line up. Debutant van der Dussen and Philander then steadied the Proteas ship as they notched up 51 and 46 runs respectively.
England, yet again, looked perseverant as they opened the innings to a brilliant partnership from Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley. However, once Burns lost his wicket in his 80s, the onus was then put on skipper Joe Root who could only manage 46 runs before he got out to Nortje. Rabada led the pace attack in the second innings as he grabbed four significant wickets while Nortje struck thrice. Keshav Maharaj picked up a wicket whereas outgoing Philander remained wicket-less in the second innings.
With this victory, South Africa continued their dominant run at Centurion as they registered the sixth consecutive victory at the home pitch. Skipper du Plessis in the post-match presentation said, "We need this. Obviously the last couple of months have been tough for us in Tests. It was a very good Test match, both sides fighting hard until the end. Everyone's happy, we haven't won in a while. It is the start of a new chapter, we want to get to better things and we need to make sure we keep working hard. The bowling in the whole Test match was really good."