Moeen creates exclusive club of one

England's off-spinning allrounder goes where no player has gone before in a four-Test series

England's Moeen Ali has become the first player in Test history to take 25 wickets and score 250 runs in a four-match series.

Moeen was England's hero again on day four at Old Trafford, taking 5-69 to bowl his side to victory for the second successive Test, as the hosts claimed a 3-1 series win over South Africa.

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Those five wickets – together with his vital contribution of 76 not out with the bat in England's second innings – put the 30-year-old in an exclusive club of eight players to have done the 25-wicket, 250-run double in Test history.

But Moeen's magical series stands apart: in all eight previous instances of the double being achieved (Sir Ian Botham did it twice), it has happened in either a five- or six-Test series.

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Last year, India's ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin became the first player in 31 years to manage it, scoring 306 runs and taking 28 wickets against England across five Tests.

Before that, it was Botham, in the 1985 Ashes in England (250 runs and 31 wickets in six Tests), and again at home in 1981 (399 runs and 34 wickets).

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Another great allrounder of that era also completed the double: Kapil Dev scored 278 runs and took 32 wickets against India's great rivals Pakistan in the summer of 1979-80.

South African Trevor Goddard (294 runs, 26 wickets v Australia in 1966-67), legendary Aussie leg-spinner Richie Benaud (329 runs, 30 wickets v South Africa in 1957-58), South African Aubrey Faulkner (545 runs, 29 wickets v England in 19010) and Australian George Giffen (475 runs, 34 wickets v England in 1894-95) round out a legendary list.

The latest addition to that list, Moeen's career as an allrounder continues to blossom.

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After 41 Tests, the left-handed batsman and off-spinner has 2,179 runs to his name and 123 wickets; by way of comparison, that's more in both disciplines than his revered predecessor Andrew Flintoff (2,047 runs, 92 wickets), and better balanced than the man many consider the greatest allrounder of all, South Africa's Jacques Kallis (2,514 runs, 68 wickets) at the same point in their careers.

In all, only five other players have achieved the 100-wicket, 2,000-run double after 41 Tests: Indian Vinoo Mankad, Australian Keith Miller, Goddard, former England captain Tony Greig and Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan.

To top it off, the allrounder's series also included an historic hat-trick – the first-ever in Tests at The Oval in the famous old venue's 100th Test – to win the match.

All this from a man who, in a revealing interview with the Guardian last week, said his life could have quite easily gone down an altogether different path.

"If it wasn't for cricket I don't know what I'd be doing now," he said. "I could have easily gone into that whole drugs line. I was pretty open to it because my friends were easily influenced.

"I get dared pretty easy. If someone dares me to do something I'll just do it. I used to go: 'Yeah, why not?'

"Them days were tough but even then I knew that was wrong. I also knew from the age of 12 that cricket was the only thing I was going to do."

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