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Captain Joe Root proud as England stay cool to clinch series


By David Clough

England captain Joe Root was pleased with how his side overcame challenges as they wrapped up a 3-1 series win over South Africa.

Root's first series at the helm ended with a 177-run victory in the fourth Investec Test at Old Trafford after his side bowled out the tourists for 202 in their second innings.

The margin of victory was crushing in the end, but there was a period when Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis looked like they could lead South Africa to an unlikely chase of 380.

But three wickets in two overs from man of the series Moeen Ali wrestled control back to England and there was no way back.

It mirrored a similar theme in the series where England consistently bounced back from challenging moments.

Root said: "I am really pleased with the way the series has gone. Credit to South Africa, they put us under pressure a number of times throughout but the way our guys have responded has been exceptional. Great start.

"We have had to overcome a number of different challenges, but the way we have played as a unit, especially the last two games, we have been brilliant.

"We have got a lot of hard work to do in the future but it was a great series. It has been a fantastic team performance and that's what it takes to win a series like this, everybody contributing and that's what we have had this time around."

Root's opposite number Du Plessis had no complaints at the result and admitted his side could not cope with England's rampant bowling attack.

"England were well deserved winners of this series, they were consistently the better team. Three months in England has been a tough time," he said.

"At times we showed some good fight but consistently England were coming up with answers. The quality of the English bowling attacking was superb this series, they were relentless. As a batting unit we felt we could never get on top of them and from a runs point of view we felt we didn't do ourselves justice."

Ali was the standout player for England with 25 wickets and 252 runs. Despite taking 10 wickets in the series-opening win at Lord's, Ali was insistent that he was not England's frontline spinner, and he says that helped him.

"It has been good, it took some pressure off me and I feel like I got into a good rhythm," he said. "I have done a lot of work and I have had a lot of consistency."

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