England thrashed South Africa by 239 runs at The Oval to take a 2-1 lead in the four-game series. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Proteas – powered by the combative Dean Elgar – battled hard to take the contest beyond lunch on day five. England would have the final and emphatic say, though, with Moeen Ali taking a hat-trick to claim the last three wickets.
The upshot is that England have taken an important lead in this four-game series. A win or a draw in the decider at Old Trafford will be enough to clinch a first home series victory against South Africa since 1998. The Proteas will be looking to bounce back and level the series.
The Proteas might console themselves with the fact that at least one of their batsmen reached three figures in this Test. On day five at The Oval, Elgar scored 136 to bring an end to South Africa’s five-Test hundred-drought.
Elgar and Temba Bavuma put on 108 runs for the fifth wicket. They battled hard over the first hour of play until Bavuma was trapped lbw. Vernon Philander perished the very next ball, as debutant Toby Roland-Jones claimed his eighth wicket of the match. Ali struck right before lunch when he found the edge of Chris Morris’ bat.
Elgar attempted to push on after the break, and found some support in the shape of Keshav Maharaj. Ali, who Elgar hit for four to reach the 100-mark, eventually got the better of the opening batsman. The ball flew to slip, and like that, the South African resistance was broken.
Kagiso Rabada succumbed in similar fashion the very next ball. Ali had to wait until the next over for an attempt at a hat-trick.
The delivery struck Morné Morkel on the pads, but was given not out. England captain Joe Root asked for a review, and the DRS suggested that the ball would have cannoned into the stumps. The on-field umpire reversed his decision to give Ali his hat-trick and England a much-deserved win.
Overall, it was a poor batting performance by South Africa. They scored 175 in the first innings, and 252 in the second. They won’t have much time to address their technical issues, though, as the fourth Test starts on 4 August.
England 353 (1st innings) – Ben Stokes 112, Alastair Cook 88, Morné Morkel 3-70, Kagiso Rabada 3-85
SA 175 (1st innings) – Temba Bavuma 52, Kagiso Rabada 30, Toby Roland–Jones 5-57, James Anderson 3-25
England 313-8 declared (2nd innings) – Jonny Bairstow 63, Tom Westley 59, Joe Root 50, Keshav Maharaj 3-50
SA 252 (2nd innings) – Dean Elgar 136, Temba Bavuma 32, Moeen Ali 4-45, Toby Roland–Jones 3-72
England won by 239 runs
Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images