South Africa became the number one ranked team in test cricket on Monday after defeating previous incumbents England by 51 runs at Lord's to win the series 2-0.
England, set a record 346 for victory, were dismissed for 294 after some plucky counter-attacking by Matt Prior (73), Jonny Bairstow (54), Graeme Swann (41) and Stuart Broad (37).
Jonathan Trott also chipped in with 63 and for a time it looked like England could pull of a miracle but ultimately the target was just too high.
The end of the match, and series, was sealed when last man Steven Finn was caught by second slip Jacques Kallis off Vernon Philander, who finished with two wickets in two balls for figures of five for 30.
Philander had also played two vital innings in the match of 61 and 35.
It was always going to be a difficult challenge for England given that West Indies are the only team ever to have successfully chased a target beyond 300 at Lord's, when they made 344 for one in 1984. England's highest run chase is 332 for seven against Australia in 1928.