England captain Joe Root hailed the all-round contribution of his squad after they completed a 3-1 Test series victory over South Africa in Johannesburg.
After being frustrated for more than 30 overs by a 92-run partnership between Faf Du Plessis and Rassie Van Der Dussen, Root’s side quickly wrapped up victory after making the breakthrough.
The home side slipped from 181 for two to 274 all out to hand England a 91-run victory with man-of-the-match Mark Wood taking four for 54 to complete match figures of nine for 100.
“It’s very exciting. There’s a number of guys that have performed that played in this game, but not just that. Guys like Jofra (Archer) at the start of the series with a five-for, Dom Bess as well making a big contribution.
“It’s been a real squad effort from a number of guys that are very much at the start of their international careers and that’s a very promising sign when you put that against some very experienced players.”
Zak Crawley took advantage of the opportunity afforded to him by Burns’ ankle injury with a maiden Test half-century that laid the foundations for England’s first-innings 400 at the Wanderers.
Wood made an eye-catching return to Test cricket with 12 wickets in two Tests to help fill the gap left by Anderson’s rib problem.
“That’s really pleasing and I think the sky’s the limit for this group. I do think we’re very much at the start of something and we’ve got to keep looking to learn, keep looking to get better and not think we’re somewhere we’re not.
“It’s been a fantastic tour for our development as a Test team and we hope that can continue moving forward this winter.”
Wood was grateful for the chance to play after being unsure whether he would be selected an hour before the start following a short turnout from the third Test in Port Elizabeth, with England looking to manage his return to the international arena.
“I’ve had a lot of dark days. Credit has to go to the backroom staff. The physio Craigy (Craig De Weymarn) patched me up pretty good.
“Everybody’s been pretty supportive, my team-mates, the crowd. (England coach) Chris Silverwood tries to get get me out there just to have fun and that’s what I tried to do this game.”
Man-of-the-series Ben Stokes hopes his performances made his father proud as he recovers from illness in hospital.
“I hope my old man’s been watching this in his hospital bed with a smile on his face.
“I just think I really enjoy the competition that South Africa always brings.”