Brilliant bowling from all-rounder Moeen Ali helped England beat South Africa to take unbeatable 2-1 lead in the four-Test series in London on Monday.The match turned out to be a perfect one for Joe Root, who captained his side to a strong position with only one match to play.
The start of the match was not a bright one for the hosts, as they were restricted to 183 for five at one stage. However, brilliant century from Ben Stokes guided Root’s men to respectable 353.In reply, visitors were blown away courtesy five-for from debutante Toby Roland-Jones and great support from veteran James Anderson as Faf du Plessis’ men were bowled out for just 175. Temba Bavuma finished the innings with the top score of 52 off 120 with the help of eight boundaries.
In the second innings, England put up another impressive display with the bat and declared at the score of 313 for the loss of eight wickets with the help of valuable contributions from wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow (63), Tom Westley (59) and Root (50).
For South Africa, spinner Keshav Maharaj claimed three, whereas all-rounder Chris Morris claimed two wickets. Chasing record 491 to take the lead for the first time in the series, the visitors were bowled out for just 252, as Ali took his first hat-trick in Test cricket to wipe the tail off in the second session of the final day’s play.Opener Deal Elgar was the lone soldier for the South Africa , as he scored stunning 136 off 228 with the help of 20 boundaries. However, his efforts could not help side in crossing the line as no other batsman from the visiting side failed to score in access of 50.
For England, Ali finished with the best figures of four for 45 in 16.1 overs, whereas Toby Roland-Jones, all-rounder Ben Stokes and pacer Stuart Broad claimed three, two and one wicket respectively. For his outstanding all-round performance, Stokes was named man of the match.
England lead the series 2-1 as the fourth and final Test of the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy will begin from August 8 in Manchester.