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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

England on top after Moeen shows off his versatility

All-rounder reaches 100 wickets and 2,000 runs landmark in his 38th, the second-fastest England cricketer to do so

England's Moeen Ali (centre left) celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa's Dean Elgar Action (Reuters/Peter Cziborra)
England's Moeen Ali (centre left) celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa's Dean Elgar Action (Reuters/Peter Cziborra)

England 458; South Africa 214/5 (68.0 ov). England ended the second day of the first test against South Africa firmly in control, leading by 244 runs with the remains of the tourists’ middle order and the tail fighting to prevent themselves facing a massive deficit in the second innings.

The day began with an anti-climax, as England captain Joe Root failed to convert his overnight 184 into a double-century as he was caught behind after only adding six runs to his total.

The South African bowlers appeared to be in the ascendancy as Liam Dawson, on his home debut, fell LBW for a second-ball duck to Mornie Morkel, who was lucky to get the decision as the review showed the ball would have cleared the stumps but the umpire’s original call stood.

But Moeen Ali, who ended with 87, shepherded Stuart Broad through 46 runs for the eighth wicket, before the paceman and his great friend Jimmy Anderson shredded the South African bowling figures while putting on 45 runs in 27 balls for the last wicket.

The South African openers survived four hostile overs before lunch, but within two overs of the restart, Broad had accounted for Kuhn.

A sense of normality was established during the next 20 overs as Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla put on 72 runs, but a brace of quick wickets for Ali, taking him past test 100 wickets, and a second wicket for Broad reduced South Africa to 104-4.

The tourists were teetering, but a 99-run stand between Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn took them past 200 runs, before Anderson broke up the partnership with just 16 balls left of the day.