Moeen spins England to big win

Wednesday 12th July 2017 08:01 EDT
 
 

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 331after England had lost their nine remaining second-innings wickets to be dismissed for 233, the touring side 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. 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 the home of cricket, but the tourists must have felt they were in with a chance after dismissing England so cheaply by mid afternoon.

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.

The pitch had been misbehaving and a target of 331 always looked too much, but it was poor batting rather than the surface that did for most of the South African batsmen.

Faf du Plessis watched on from the balcony, having returned to London overnight. His return will provide some reassurance for a team that came into the series unsettled, but there are clearly many more issues for South Africa to solve ahead of the second Test at Trent Bridge on Friday (July 14). They are only 1-0 down in a four-match series but it feels like a long way back from here.

Brief scores:

England 458 & 233 (Cook 69, Bairstow 51, Maharaj 4-85) beat South Africa 361 & 119 (Moeen 6-53) by 211 runs


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