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Moeen’s ten-for leads England rout of SA

July 9th, 2017 | by admin
Moeen’s ten-for leads England rout of SA
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England 458 (Root 190, Moeen 87, Broad 57*, Stokes 56, Morkel 4-115) and 233 (Cook 69, Bairstow 51, Maharaj 4-85) beat South Africa 361 (Bavuma 59, Elgar 54, Philander 52, de Kock 51, Moeen 4-59) and 119 (Moeen 6-53) by 211 runs

Do you remember the first time? Joe Root certainly will after England swept South Africa aside to mark his captaincy debut with a crushing victory as 19 wickets fell in a day at Lord’s. Moeen Ali, taking full licence of the attacking brief given him by Root, ran through a mesmerised South Africa batting order to claim 6 for 53 on the way to a maiden ten-wicket haul in Tests.

Having been set 331 to win the first Test, with almost 150 overs in which to get them, South Africa were unable to even take the match into a fifth day. With the pitch offering appreciable assistance for the spin of Moeen and Liam Dawson, they subsided to 119 all out in 36.4 overs, with Temba Bavuma’s 41-ball 21 providing the most prolonged resistance. Faf du Plessis, looking on from the balcony having returned to lead the team at Trent Bridge next week, was left with much to ponder.

South Africa were in trouble early in their innings, going to tea on 25 for 3, with Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock their main hope of giving Root and England a fright. Only once had a team chased as many in the fourth innings to win a Lord’s Test, though Root may have recalled for a moment the occasion when he filled in as Yorkshire captain in 2014 and saw Middlesex ease to a target of 472 three wickets down on this ground.

That gained him the nickname “craptain” in the Yorkshire dressing room, but it looks like England will have to come up with something more generous. In truth, Root did not have to resort to much in the way of tactical genius, as his two spinners bowled in tandem for 24 overs to finish off South Africa with time to spare on another sun-drenched evening in north London. South Africa had not lost a Test at Lord’s since 1960 but they broke that record in style.

It meant their fightback during the first half of the day, when they claimed England’s last nine wickets for the addition of 114 runs became a distant memory. It could have been better still but Jonny Bairstow, who scored a vital half-century, was dropped on 7 as South Africa replicated the mistakes that were so costly to their chances in the first innings.

After James Anderson had made the initial breakthrough, Heino Kuhn removed via a fine, diving catch from Bairstow down the leg side, Moeen picked up his first wicket when he brilliantly held a reflex return catch off Dean Elgar. South Africa’s stand-in captain must have feared the worst at that moment, and their fortunes sunk further when JP Duminy pulled Mark Wood straight to midwicket on the brink of tea.

The selection of Dawson, who made a pair with the bat, was not widely lauded beforehand but he delivered for Root when he plucked out the key wicket of Amla shortly after the interval. Moeen’s first four overs were maidens, bottling up South Africa from the Nursery End, and Dawson then produced a ripping delivery that pitched on middle and leg, spun past the groping bat and hit the back leg in front of off; Amla reviewed but in vain.

De Kock and Bavuma dug in for more than 10 overs, lifting the score from 28 for 4 with a 36-run stand, but an increasingly confident England had Mo-mentum on their side. When de Kock tried to relieve some of the pressure by pulling, he only succeeded in dragging the ball into his front leg, from where it fizzed back into his stumps.

Bavuma also fell trying to force an attacking shot to break England’s chokehold, a precise delivery hitting the top of off, and Moeen then had Theunis de Bruyn caught at slip and Keshav Maharaj bowled off an inside edge to record his maiden Test ten-for. Having contributed 87 to the first-innings total of 458, he became the first England player to score a fifty and take ten wickets in a Test since Ian Botham in 1980.

Botham-like heroics will help keep most Test captains feeling chipper and, following his first-innings 190, Root could reflect on a perfect start to his tenure. It had been a slightly bumpier beginning to the day, however, as England lost nine wickets in 36.1 overs – though the consolation for Root was that the procession of batsmen returning to join him in the dressing room could attest to the increasing difficulty of the pitch.

Bairstow was last man out, stumped off Maharaj, the spinner’s four-wicket haul a harbinger of what was to come. At lunch, England’s lead had been 279 but Bairstow and Wood scraped together valuable extra runs during a brisk ninth-wicket stand of 45. Apart from Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance, who added 10 and 11 respectively to their overnight scores, no other England batsmen managed to get into double-figures on the day.

Maharaj might have removed Bairstow right at the start of his innings, only for Vernon Philander, who was fit to bowl after injuring his hand batting on the third day, to drop a simple catch at long-off. Maharaj claimed three of the seven wickets to fall in the first session, amid increasing signs of the pitch breaking up. The dismissal of Cook for 69, caught at cover attempting to lift the scoring, precipitated an England collapse of 4 for 10 in 39 balls – which would have been 5 for 19 had Bairstow’s offering been held.

The evidence of the first over of the morning was that the Lord’s baize was by now a little rumpled. At least two deliveries from Philander kept low before the last jumped to hit Ballance on the glove. When Maharaj came into the attack shortly before the hour mark, the first ball of his second over went directly to slip out of the rough; the same over concluded with Root being bowled by one that didn’t turn.

Cook and Ballance picked up initially in much the same mood as they guided England to the close on the third evening, a couple of tugboats towing their barge along the Thames. They had added a boundary apiece, taking their partnership to 59, before Cook suddenly weighed anchor and drove aerially into the covers, where Bavuma snaffled a sharp, diving catch.

Morne Morkel continued his impressive Test by having Ballance caught behind with another exacting delivery that straightened from round the wicket and England slide’s continued with the dismissal of Root for 5 in the following over. Having seen Maharaj spin the ball sharply, Root swept a boundary but was then caught playing back and got an inside-edge on to his stumps.

Ben Stokes did not have much time for reconnaissance, pinned lbw for 1 by a delivery that shot through low from Rabada. Stokes started walking as soon as it hit him, while Rabada – suspended for the next Test due to his outburst after dismissing Stokes in the first innings – kept his counsel. That left England 149 for 5 and it ought to have been 158 for 6 when Bairstow lofted Maharaj towards Philander, only for the fielder to drop it on to the rope. He gestured towards the skies, seeming to suggest that Spidercam had distracted him – but little could excuse the scale of South Africa’s defeat.

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