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Moeen on a new high after claiming historic hat-trick

 

By David Clough

Moeen Ali's first hat-trick made history at The Oval - and gave him plenty to talk about as England reflected on their 239-run victory over South Africa.

Winning captain Joe Root confirmed Moeen was full of chat about his feat which ended the 100th Oval Test.

The off-spinner made it third time lucky for England after team-mates Ben Stokes and Toby Roland-Jones both had hat-trick chances in the second innings as South Africa stumbled to 252 all out despite a wonderfully brave and defiant 136 from Dean Elgar.

The stoic opener was the first wicket in Moeen's hat-trick -England's 14th but the only one in Test cricket by any bowler in 137 years at The Oval.

Moeen, who finished with four for 45 and has taken 18 wickets in the series, had to wait for his final wicket - from the first ball of his next over - and, with nine down already, hope Stokes did not intervene at the other end.

He did not, and Moeen duly had last man Morne Morkel lbw - only after a review - to confirm England's 2-1 series lead.

"I've never taken a hat-trick," said the 30-year-old. "I've scored a few hat-tricks in football warm-ups, but this is a better feeling."

Moeen's public recap was otherwise relatively brief - unlike the description he gave his team-mates, according to Root.

"He's been talking us through (the hat-trick) for the last half-hour," said the captain. "It was a special way to finish, and quite a fitting one in the 100th Test here."

For Root, in only his third match as captain, it was a gratifying outcome after much criticism in England's second-Test defeat at Trent Bridge.

"The character they showed to come back was outstanding," he said, adding his hope they can buck their inconsistent trend in the final Test at Old Trafford.

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