Moeen's Match as England romp to convincing win
Man of the Match Moeen Ali took a five-wicket haul, while James Anderson claimed three more wickets as England romped to a convincing 177-run victory after bowling South Africa out for 202 in the 4th Investec Test Match.
The result continues England’s great Test record at Emirates Old Trafford where they have not lost since 2001.
Set a mammoth target of 380 to win, the visitors only resistance came from a century partnership between Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis, but otherwise they had little to offer, losing the four-match series 3-1.
England could only add 19 runs inside 3 overs to their overnight 224-8 at the start of the day, Morne Morkel taking both wickets and finishing with 4-41 as Stuart Broad and James Anderson departed to catches by Theunis de Bruyn leaving Moeen stranded on 75 not out.
At the start of the South Africa second innings Heino Kuhn endured a thorough examination from Anderson’s first over without convincing he would pass the exam, and was lucky to escape when he edged the third ball between third slip and gully.
Dean Elgar did well to leave a snorter from Broad as England’s opening duo continued to find assistance from the pitch, but perished to the seventh delivery he received from the Notts pace bowler, edging behind to Jonny Bairstow for 5.
Anderson then found the edge of Kuhn’s bat courtesy of an indeterminate defensive prod to a pitched-up delivery, Alastair Cook taking the catch at first slip to send the opener back with 11 runs, and only 113 runs in the series at an average of 14, to his name with South Africa quickly in trouble on 18-2.
Amla and Temba Bavuma battled away to keep the England attack at bay, and they appeared to have calmed matters in the run up to lunch only for Bavuma to snick the final ball of the morning from Toby Roland-Jones to Bairstow and given out on review for 12, with the visitors 40-3 at the break.
South Africa skipper du Plessis joined Amla for the afternoon and the pair fought a great rear-guard action with a century partnership that threatened to turn the visitor’s fortunes around.
The pair showed great resolve and played with increasing fluency as their partnership started to build. The 50 arrived from 83 balls with Roland-Jones introduced and then withdrawn from the attack after 3 overs had leaked 24 runs.
The century partnership arrived from 163 balls when Amla drove Moeen for four square through the off side and when the winning target dropped below the 200-mark soon afterwards South Africa could sense a chance of chasing down their winning target.
It was Moeen who wrecked those dreams with 3 wickets in 11 balls.
The big wicket of Amla came after an lbw review, the South African batsman out for 83 to end a partnership of 123.
Quinton De Kock followed for 1, caught by Cook at 2nd slip, and Ben Stokes took a smart catch at slip to send back de Bryune for 0 to leave the South African innings in ruins at 173-6.
When du Plessis became the seventh wicket to fall with the score on 183, caught behind by Bairstow off Anderson for 61, the game was as good as over.
Kagiso Rabada drove Anderson to Tom Westley at cover for 1, and Moeen claimed the final two wickets to finish with 5-69 after Morkel hit his first delivery straight to Joe Root and Olivier did likewise to Stokes.
It was a tame end with South Africa all out for 202 and England winners by the huge margin of 177 runs.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh