England thrash SA, take series 3-1

07 August 2017

Moeen takes player-of-the-series honours as hosts storm to 177-run win at Old Trafford

England v South Africa Tests, Fourth Test


Moeen Ali finished a brilliant campaign with a five-wicket haul as England beat South Africa by 177 runs in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Monday to seal a 3-1 series win.

Victory, achieved with more than a day to spare, also saw Joe Root triumphant in his first Test series as England captain.

South Africa, set a huge 380 for victory, were bowled out for 202 shortly after tea on the fourth day when Moeen took two wickets in two balls to remove Morne Morkel and Duanne Olivier.

That gave the off-spinner a return of 5-69 in 19.5 overs and 25 wickets in total in a series where he also scored 252 runs.

"This series I have felt more consistent with bat and ball, especially ball. I felt good rhythm after the first game. I contributed with the bat a couple of times," Moeen told BBC Radio's Test Match Special

"In general, I'm very pleased," the 30-year-old Worcestershire allrounder added. 

Quick Single: Series win doesn't mask problems: Bayliss

This result meant England had won their first home Test series against South Africa since 1998.

It was also just South Africa's second defeat in 20 away Test series, their other overseas campaign reverse in that sequence coming against India in 2015-16.

"I'm very pleased, a fantastic effort," said an elated Root. 

"We knew the target was a lot of runs and we set off brilliantly with the new ball."

South Africa, 3-43 at lunch, saw Hashim Amla (83) and captain Faf du Plessis (61) put on 123 for the fourth wicket after James Anderson, bowling from the newly-named James Anderson End on his Lancashire home ground, and Stuart Broad had made early inroads.

Marauding Moeen puts England in box seat

Moeen then took three wickets for five runs in 11 balls – including the prize scalp of Amla – as the Proteas collapsed from 3-163 to 6-173.

"Broad and Anderson are relentless and our batting line-up wasn't strong enough for them," said du Plessis after a match that seemed set to mark the end of Russell Domingo's tenure as South Africa coach.

"To lose Hashim and then the cluster of wickets was disappointing."

Earlier, Moeen, both the player of the match and the hosts' player of the series, made 75 not out from just 66 balls in England's second innings 243, having been dropped on 15.

That left South Africa facing a mammoth chase, with no side having made more to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Old Trafford than England's 4-294 against New Zealand in 2008.

South Africa's already difficult task was not helped when they lost both openers, leaving them at 2-18.

Dean Elgar, who made a gritty second-innings hundred in England's 239-run victory in the third Test at The Oval – a match Moeen ended with a hat-trick – fell for five on Monday when caught behind off Broad.

England review their way into strong position

Heino Kuhn, struggling to cement his Test place, repeatedly played and missed before, on 11, edging Anderson to Cook.

Temba Bavuma again battled hard until, from off the last ball before lunch, he caught behind on review.

Amla completed a 100-ball fifty and then twice forced Stokes off the back foot for two stylish fours, before lofting Moeen for six.

But with South Africa 3-163, Amla missed an intended whip shot off Moeen and was lbw, although England, had to review umpire Kumar Dharmasena's original not out verdict.

No replays were required when Quinton de Kock (one) edged a drive off Moeen to Cook in the slips.

And 5-173 became 6-173 when Theunis de Bruyn fell for a duck, nicking Moeen to slip fielder Stokes.

The end came quickly for South Africa, 6-182 at tea. Du Plessis, who played at Old Trafford for Lancashire, had added just one to his tea score when he was caught behind off Anderson, England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker.

Anderson, who finished with 3-16, then had Kagiso Rabada caught in the covers.

Moeen, appropriately, finished the match with Morkel holing out for a duck before Olivier, also out for nought, was taken by Stokes at slip. 

England XI: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Tom Westley, Joe Root (c), Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Toby, Roland-Jones, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

South Africa XI: Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Faf du Plessis (capt), Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Duanne Olivier

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