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Rediff.com  » Cricket » All-rounder Moeen leads England to series victory

All-rounder Moeen leads England to series victory

August 07, 2017 23:23 IST

'He has come on leaps and bounds as a cricketer and this series has really defined him as a player for us.'

Moeen Ali

IMAGE: Moeen Ali celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa's Duanne Olivier to give England victory in the fourth Test. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Spinner Moeen Ali crowned his excellent series by taking five wickets as England beat South Africa by 177 runs in the fourth Test in Manchester on Monday to secure a 3-1 series victory.


South Africa, needing 380 to win, were bowled out for 202 on the fourth day with Man of the Series Moeen taking five wickets for 69 runs and James Anderson claiming three for 16.

The only real resistance came from Hashim Amla (83) and skipper Faf du Plessis (61), who put on a 123-run fourth-wicket partnership.

IMAGE: England's players celebrate winning the series against South Africa. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

But three quick wickets from Moeen put an end to any thoughts of a miracle and ensured England their first home series win over South Africa since 1998.

Moeen, who scored an unbeaten 75 in England's second innings, became the first player to score 250 runs and take 25 wickets in a four-match Test series.

"What a series he has had," said England all-rounder Ben Stokes. "He has come on leaps and bounds as a cricketer and this series has really defined him as a player for us."

Faf du Plessis

IMAGE: Faf du Plessis walks back after his dismissal. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

It was always going to be a testing time for the tourists' top order.

Stuart Broad struck in the fourth over with a beautiful delivery that straightened off the seam and clipped Dean Elgar's edge, to the delight of Jonny Bairstow, who grabbed the catch.

Heino Kuhn then edged Anderson to Cook at slip and on the final ball before lunch Temba Bavuma was given out caught behind, after review, from the bowling of Toby Roland-Jones.

IMAGE: Ben Stokes takes the catch to dismiss Theunis de Bruyn. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

There was no meek surrender though, Amla and du Plessis batting with skill and focus in a partnership that threatened to at least make contest of the Test.

But spinner Moeen made the breakthrough, half an hour before tea, with a sharply turning delivery catching Amla leg before on the back foot, and he was dismissed following a successful review.

IMAGE: England wicketkeeper Jonathan Bairstow successfully appeals for the wicket of Hashim Amla. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Ali then dealt with Quinton de Kock, driving out of the rough and edging to Alastair Cook in the slips, and picked up the wicket of Theunis de Bruyn, caught by Stokes.

The spinner then picked up two more wickets as England made short order of the tail after tea.

"The way we have played as a unit, especially in these last two games has been brilliant," said England skipper Joe Root, who had enjoyed success in his first series in charge.

Source:
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