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Moeen is on a high as England pull away

By Rory Dollard

Published 29/12/2015

Treble top: Moeen Ali took three wickets in the morning
Treble top: Moeen Ali took three wickets in the morning

South Africa were left frustrated on day three of the first Test against England after the umpires decided to change a ball that had started to reverse swing.

The Proteas thought their luck had come in when Alex Hales smashed Dane Piedt for six against an advertising board, causing damage to the surface of the ball.

Umpire Rod Tucker was initially happy to continue with the original but he and colleague Aleem Dar made the decision to call for a replacement when Hales departed 10 overs later.

South Africa captain Hashim Amla was seen in lengthy conversation with the officials, with team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee later seeking clarification from match referee Ranjan Madugalle.

Dr Moosajee said: "The reason I have been given is that when it hit the advertising board, a chunk of the ball came out.

"Because there was unnatural wear and tear they have the right to change the ball. At first we were not very impressed but they are the officials and we have to take their word on these kind of things.

"Maybe it was because of an unnatural amount of reverse swing.

"If the match officials make a call, as much as I have my own opinion, I have to respect it."

At the end of the third day, the South African team looked as though it had suffered some unnatural wear and tear too.

They closed 261 behind, with England 172 for three in their second innings.

England all-rounder Moeen Ali took three wickets in the morning session to hasten South Africa's first-innings decline, finishing with four for 69.

"It was a great day, probably our best of the three so far, but we want at least (a lead of) 350 and we know there's a long way to go," he said.

"The last two days a lot of wickets have fallen in the first session so we have to play well to build that lead.

"And it will be the same thing with the bowling. We are going to have to play really well over the next two days to win the game."

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