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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Moeen Ali torments South Africa as England take Test series lead

Spinner takes 10 wickets in the match to go with a first innings half-century as hosts prevail at Lord's.

Moeen Ali takes the plaudits for his five-wicket haul that guided England to victory over South Africa at Lord's on Sunday. Nigel French / PA Wire
Moeen Ali takes the plaudits for his five-wicket haul that guided England to victory over South Africa at Lord's on Sunday. Nigel French / PA Wire

England comfortably beat South Africa by 211 runs in the first Test at Lord’s to give Joe Root his first win as captain after a roller-coaster fourth day on Sunday.

Set an improbable target of 331 after England had lost their nine remaining second-innings wickets to be dismissed for 233, South Africa never came to terms with a spiteful pitch of uneven bounce and were bowled out for 119.

The win was England’s first against South Africa at Lord’s since 1960.

Root simply had to rotate his bowlers, although spinner Moeen Ali took the honours with figures of 6-53, giving him 10 wickets in the match, a fine performance to set alongside his invaluable first-innings score of 87.

“It was a great game for myself and I’m very happy today,” Moeen said.

“I tried to make the batsmen play as much as I could.”

Moeen produced turn and bounce on a pitch that seldom favours fourth-innings run chases. Only three teams have won a Test match by scoring more than 300 at Lord’s, but the tourists must have felt they were in with a chance after dismissing England so cheaply by mid-afternoon.

But the size of their task became clear when Heino Kuhn (9) and captain Dean Elgar (1) both fell to fine catches from keeper Jonny Bairstow and Moeen off his own bowling.

JP Duminy also departed cheaply and once Hashim Amla was trapped lbw by Liam Dawson, it was only a matter of time. Earlier, England’s total was boosted by combative batting by Bairstow, who was dropped off a simple chance to Vernon Philander on seven before making 51, and tailender Mark Wood.

That pushed the lead past 300 as South Africa’s bowlers struggled to match their morning success when England, who resumed on 119-1, lost seven wickets as South Africa’s bowlers gave an indication of what was to come.

Morkel claimed three victims and Keshav Maharaj four as England failed to force the pace. Alastair Cook top-scored with 69.

“Great start,” England captain Root said.

“Everything I asked of the lads they di. They responded to all the challenges.

“Everyone contributed at some point in the game, the whole team played a big part in the win.”

The second Test in the four-match series starts on Friday in Nottingham.

* Press Association