Protea Fire Disappears In England

Staff Writer | The Republic Mail

By Cue Sibiya

Moeen Ali ripped through South Africa’s batting to give England a 211-run win in the first Test on a wonderfully entertaining fourth day at Lord’s. Off-spinner Moeen took 6-53 for match figures of 10-112 as the Proteas, set 331 to win, were bowled out for 119.

England had earlier collapsed from their overnight 119-1, dragged to 233 by Jonny Bairstow’s 51. The win is England’s first in seven Tests and gives Joe Root victory in his first match as captain. It came moments after England’s women claimed a crucial three-run win against Australia in the World Cup at Bristol.

The second Test begins at Trent Bridge on Friday, with South Africa captain Faf du Plessis set to return after arriving back in England following the birth of his child. England have already named an unchanged 12 for Nottingham.

Root’s ideal start

Root, the 80th man to lead England in Tests, begins his reign with a success despite his side being reduced to 76-4 on the first morning. The outcome could have been different had Root, who rescued his side with 190, not been dropped twice and stumped off a no-ball.

Since tea on the first day, England consistently held the upper hand, their decision to play two spinners vindicated by a pitch that has offered huge assistance to the slow bowlers. Though South Africa will be boosted by the return of Du Plessis, aspects of their batting looks brittle and they will have to replace pace bowler Kagiso Rabada, who will be suspended for the game in Nottingham.

There was the suggestion that Moeen had been replaced as England’s number one spinner by left-armer Liam Dawson. He responded with his first 10-wicket haul in a Test to go with the 87 runs he scored in the first innings. South Africa’s target always seemed distant – only once had more runs been chased to win a Test at Lord’s – but Moeen showed it to be miles out of reach on of a surface that offered turn and bounce for the slow bowlers.

After wicketkeeper Bairstow athletically held Heino Kuhn down the leg side off James Anderson, Moeen got to work. Dean Elgar was caught and bowled, Quinton de Kock was bowled playing an ugly pull shot and Temba Bavuma fell in similar fashion. Theunis de Bruyn was caught a slip, the slogging Keshav Maharaj bowled and Rabada caught behind.

Dawson completed England’s victory, Morne Morkel caught on the leg-side boundary while attempting to hit a third six, the 19th wicket to fall in the day.