Friday, 18 August, 2017

Ali halts spirited Proteas fightback

Gibson sharing a joke with Joe Root is highly rated by England Gibson sharing a joke with Joe Root is highly rated by England Paul Childs Reuters
Earnest Maxwell | 08 August, 2017, 01:57

Morne Morkel checked England's progress with two wickets as he led a South Africa fightback in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Sunday.

James Anderson took four wickets from the newly-named James Anderson End to put England in a commanding position against South Africa in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Saturday.

When rain ended the third's play early in the third session, England were 224 for 8 in their second innings - a lead of 360 runs - with Moeen unbeaten on 67.

Moeen - he was dropped, too, by the butter-fingered Dean Elgar at slip off Maharaj on 15 - made a decision to attack as England built their substantial lead.

The right-arm pacer, however, said he could not care less who closes out the Proteas innings as England continue on their path towards a 3-1 series win.

The left-hander, who has spent most of his career with Worcestershire as a top-order batsman, was especially severe on Maharaj, hitting him for three resounding sixes.

Match-winner Moeen Ali is congratulated by Englands head coach Trevor Bayliss (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire).

Despite almost going first ball as the fourth of Duanne Olivier's victims in a decent spell from the James Anderson End, chopping past his leg stump on the first ball he faced and then being dropped, he has the attitude to make the most of his luck.

England's advantage in the final test was built on its 136-run first-innings advantage.

South Africa's bowlers had run in gamely for much of the day in a vain attempt at getting their team back in the match.

Tom Westley only made nine runs before becoming Morkel's second victim, while Keaton Jennings scored 18 before being caught by Hashim Amla at first slip off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada.

What will pain South Africa most, though, is the fact that their predicament is entirely self-inflicted.

Ben Stokes' composed century in the third Test helped pave the way for a 239-run success, while the Durham man also pocketed two fifties and took seven wickets.

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.

"If we can bowl them out for 380, I still believe it is possible", he said.

Jennings averages 24.50 in Test cricket.

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