NEWS

Moeen hat-trick seals England victory

August 1, 2017

The Kia Oval has an extremely rich Test match history that now spans 100 games, but until yesterday (July 31st), this had not included a hat-trick.

Moeen Ali put that right as he finished the match against South Africa, with the tourists bowled out for 252 to give England a 239-run win and a 2-1 lead in the Investec series with one match to play.

The spinner had Dean Elgar and Kagiso Rabada caught at slip by Ben Stokes at the end of one over and, after Stokes had bowled a maiden over at the other end, trapped Morne Morkel lbw.

Even then, the finish had more drama as the original not out verdict was overturned on review, with the ball shown to be clearly hitting leg stump.

Having begun the final day on 117-4, the overnight not out batsmen Elgar and Temba Bavuma batted through most of the first hour with few alarms. However, Stuart Broad would have had a wicket if England had reviewed a caught behind appeal against Elgar.

Instead, it was debutant Toby Roland-Jones who made the breakthrough after he successfully reviewed an lbw decision against Bavuma. From the next ball, Vernon Philander - who spent much of the match on his sickbed with a stomach virus - emulated captain Faf du Plessis by fatally padding up to his first ball. 

Like Ben Stokes on the fourth evening, Roland-Jones was unable to complete a hat-trick. When Moeen succeeded where his colleagues had failed, it was the first time in a Test innings that four men had been out first ball. 

South Africa's resistance was led by Elgar, who made 136, but it was otherwise a disappointing rearguard attempt by a side that has so far matched England's erratic form in the series. Thrashed at Lord's but on top at Trent Bridge, they will hope the worm will turn again at Old Trafford in the final Test.

By contrast, England fans booking corporate hospitality for the historic day-night Test at Edgbaston will be keen to see the home team displaying more consistency in its performance. The side had several strong performers at the Kia Oval; Ben Stokes was man of the match after his first innings century after Alastair Cook's 88 had seen the side through a tough opening day, while Roland Jones took five wickets in the first innings and Tom Westley made a half century as both enjoyed memorable debuts.

In the end, the most special moment came for Moeen. It was only the third time - and the first since 1902 - that a hat trick has finished a Test match, and the 14th hat-trick by an Englishman in Tests.

Half of those have come since the start of 1995, beginning with Dominic Cork at next week's Test venue of Old Trafford. That feat - at the time the first hat-trick by an Englishman in 38 years - came against the West Indies, as did Matthew Hoggard's trio in Trinidad in 2004. Stuart Broad has two Test hat-tricks, while Darren Gough and Ryan Sidebottom have also managed the feat. Moeen's success was the first by an English spinner - and the first by an Englishman against South Africa - since Tom Goddard's achievement at Johannesburg in 1938.

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