Friday, 15 December, 2017

Australia drop down rankings after England victory

Earning praise Cumbria's England all-rounder Ben Stokes Anthony Devlin Earning praise Cumbria's England all-rounder Ben Stokes
Noah Ferguson | 10 August, 2017, 22:53

Like Jonny Bairstow's 99 in the first innings, Ali's brisk half-century ensured England didn't succumb when under pressure, this time at 153-7.

England thrashed South Africa in the four match Test series and registered a historic home series victory.

The all-rounder followed up his 75 not out in the home side's second innings of the final Test at Old Trafford with figures of 5-69 to cap a brilliant series where he took 25 wickets in total and scored 252 runs.

South Africa folded sharply after the interval as a gruelling tour, which saw them first land on these shores in May, came to a disheartening denouement with the final seven wickets adding just 39 runs.

The most yet made by any side to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Old Trafford is England's 294 for four against New Zealand in 2008.

As for now, Australian Bayliss was happy to enjoy England's first Test series win since they beat Sri Lanka in the early stages of last summer.

Bairstow and Ben Stokes also failed this time, but at crucial points in this series the late-order trio of Bairstow, Stokes and now Ali has come to England's rescue to stave off South Africa. With a big rebuilding job on their hand, veterans Amla and du Plessis weathered down the English storm post lunch. Both men had proven track records when it comes to batting long and digging deep.

South Africa have not lost a Test series in England since 1998 and in their past 19 away Test series they have suffered just one campaign reverse - against India in 2015/16. 123-run partnership stitched by the duo as the Africans bounced back with hope, until Moeen Ali trapped Hashim leg before to send back the right-hander back to the hut. What he did today/on Monday was, however, no more impressive than his work on the third evening.

While in the dressing room, Saqlain suggested a field change that Moeen feels lured Amla into playing back, rather than forward as he had been, and missing a sharply turning offbreak. Replays might have argued otherwise, and Amla, on 12 at the time, perhaps realised that to repeat that tactic would invite retribution. Obviously, you don't just replace those players.

With Roland-Jones increasingly becoming expensive, Joe Root brought back Stuart Broad into the attack but du Plessis played one of the shots of the session as he punched the right-arm seamer straight down the ground.

"They are relentless and our batting line-up wasn't strong enough for them". However, the rain delay in the morning meant an extra half-hour had to be shoehorned in before tea, and that window eventually proved decisive. Although the bowler wasn't convinced, and umpire Kumar Dharmasena said not out, captain Joe Root called for a review that showed a thin edge.

Anderson, who finished with 3-16, then had Kagiso Rabada caught in the covers.

England's Moeen Ali in action.

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