England captain Ben Stokes said his team had produced a “benchmark” win after overwhelming South Africa by an innings and 85 runs in the second Test at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Victory, with more than two days to spare, brought England level in this three-match series at 1-1 following South Africa almost as dominant innings and 12-run triumph at Lord’s last week.
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England have won five of their six matches since Stokes succeeded Joe Root as skipper but this one was built on Test-match fundamentals rather than setting up a crowd-pleasing run-chase in the fourth innings.
Stokes’s men were on top from the start in Manchester, reducing South Africa to 77-5 before lunch on the first day after Proteas skipper Dean Elgar — almost obliged to bat first having…