On a pitch offering little or no encouragement to batsmen, a hardworking 49 from 106 deliveries for Joe Root was the best England had to offer, as they looked to be letting South Africa back into a Test which had looked England’s all the way.
At 134-6, England were rocking when Moeen Ali came to join Jonny Bairstow at the crease.
Yet, a short time later, with Bairstow too a victim of the bowler-friendly conditions, Ali hoisted the second of three sixes up onto the players’ balcony to bring up his 50.
Bairstow ran forward to claim the catch, showing the ball to the crowd to great applause.
Alistair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Tom Westley, and Dawid Malan were all dismissed for less than 20, with the latter three facing a fight to retain their positions in the side after unconvincing series at two, three, and five respectively.
Worcestershire’s Moeen, nicknamed ‘The Beard That’s Feared’ lived up to his billing with an incredible display of counter-attacking batting to recapture the initiative.
Moeen ended on 75* from 66 balls as England were all out for 243 with a lead of 379, leaving South Africa requiring a world record run chase on this pitch for victory.
You can watch Ali's incredible six and Bairstow's impressive catch in the video below.
A super shot, and a solid catch from the England wicketkeeper.
“We needed a bit of momentum and it came off. I gave a few chances but it was nice to come off today,” said Moeen of his innings, having earlier been dropped before scoring off Keshav Maharaj by Dean Elgar at slip
Unfortunately, the English weather may prevent England from being able to complete an impressive first series victory for captain Joe Root with another win.
England are leading the four match series 2-1, so a draw or a win will see them win the Basil D’Oliveira trophy outright.
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