DURBAN, South Africa (AP) -- England removed AB de Villiers in the first over on Wednesday to race to a crushing 241-run victory in the opening test against South Africa at Kingsmead.
Spinner Moeen Ali trapped De Villiers lbw for 37, and England swiftly swept away South Africa's last six wickets for only 38 runs on the final day to bowl out the top-ranked test team for 174.
Chasing a first series win over South Africa in more than a decade, England took a morale-boosting lead in the four-match series, with the second test in Cape Town to follow on Saturday.
England set the Proteas an almost unreachable target of 416 to win, or four-and-a-half sessions to survive for a draw. South Africa never came close.
Steven Finn finished with 4-42 and Ali 3-47 in the second innings to complete England's dominance in Durban. Ali had seven wickets in the match.
England's batting was also far superior, making 303 and 326 compared to South Africa's two poor totals of 214 and 174. England's significant victory was only its second win in its last 16 tests away from home.
The speed with which England dispensed with the Proteas batting lineup on Wednesday morning was astonishing, and underlined the doubts hanging over the position of world's No. 1 team, which has struggled through most of 2015 and will lose its top ranking if it loses this series.
Under bright blue skies in Durban, and with no possibility of rain saving South Africa, Ali got one to straighten to De Villiers with the third ball of the day. De Villiers tried and failed with a TV referral, and after that early boost, England went on to roll out three batsmen for two runs at the start of the day.
The English needed just 24 overs in total on the last day to rapidly finish up the game after South Africa was 136-4 overnight.
Ali had Temba Bavuma stumped by Jonny Bairstow for a duck and Finn bowled nightwatchman Dale Steyn. Stuart Broad removed Morne Morkel lbw for 8 to end the game.