Moeen Ali took three wickets in the morning session on day three.

Moeen Ali and England reaping the benefit of hard work with the ball

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Moeen Ali says his performance with the ball on day three of the first Test against South Africa at Durban was a step in the right direction.

Moeen added the wickets of JP Duminy, Kyle Abbott and Dale Steyn to his dismissal of Faf du Plessis on the second evening to finish with four for 69 as England bowled the hosts out for 214.

It signalled a return to form for the 28-year-old, who managed only nine wickets in three Tests against Pakistan in spin-friendly conditions in the United Arab Emirates.

"I've worked a lot harder since I've been here on my bowling and it's paying off slowly," Moeen told Sky Sports 2.

"There's a long way to go. I'm not going to stand here and say I'm a world-class bowler or anything like that. Today was a good step in the right direction.

"I've had to change my action quite a few times compared to when I first started. Even when I've bowled well in the past and felt like my action has been quite good, I've had to change that as well. It's mainly being patient and learning about the art of bowling spin.

"It's tough but I feel like I'm learning quite a lot.

"The Pakistanis were the best players I've ever bowled against. They never really let me settle. I tried everything out there and nothing really worked.

"I feel that because of that I'll become a better bowler."

England extended their 89-run first-innings lead to 261 after Joe Root and James Taylor took the tourists to the close on 172 for three.

"We probably have to be proactive tomorrow, while still having a lot of patience with the bat," Moeen added.

"We've got two guys in who score pretty quickly and the guys coming in after do as well.

"We've got a good foundation and tomorrow is about not doing what both teams have done and lose wickets in the first session in clusters."

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