The optimism provided by victory in the first Test at Centurion should not be forgotten. There are more than enough building blocks with which to reconstruct a new Test team and plenty of raw material with which to supplement them.

It is the first time that England have won three consecutive Test matches on SA soil and the first time anywhere since 1960. But that should reflect as much on the character of the tourists whose young batsmen and experienced bowlers raised the bar a little higher with each game after Centurion, both personally and as a team.

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