October 17, 2017

England hit back against South Africa at Trent Bridge

15 July 2017, 02:08 | Joan Schultz

From being a part-time tweaker to turning into England's mainstay- the evolution of Moeen Ali

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South Africa was 66-2 before a 113-run partnership between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock.

He senses the unbroken seventh-wicket stand between Morris and Vernon Philander has given the tourists a fresh impetus too.

Moeen Ali claimed his first Test ten-wicket haul but will happily play the second spinner's fiddle, while Root will look for more from Mark Wood and Ben Stokes on a ground where both played a key role with the ball when England regained the Ashes in 2015.

Root led from the front at Lord's, with his first-innings 190 laying the foundations for a 211-run victory over South Africa.

One of those pacemen, James Anderson, did not bowl much during Thursday's nets session, but Root insisted England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker was fully fit after struggling with groin and shoulder problems recently.

England's persistence paid off in a 15-over spell after tea, beginning when De Kock tried to play expansively to the first ball of the session from Broad and edged to Alastair Cook at first slip.

"Obviously, it could have been quite heavily in their favour if we hadn't got those four wickets in the last session".

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He had reason to smile after his two catches, including a very good one down the leg-side to remove South Africa captain Du Plessis off Stokes.

Anderson's 300th home wicket was the first strike of the match for England who are chasing a first Test win at home against South Africa in almost 20 years.

Until then runs were not easy to come by, but De Kock, elevated to number four, sparkled with some wonderful strokeplay.

"It was business as usual for me", said Cook, who scored a second-innings 69 at headquarters. Gary Ballance got starts in both innings, but will be confident with the team management retaining him for another game. Since England and South Africa first met in March 1889 in Port Elizabeth their meetings - and non-meetings - have provided some of the most memorable episodes in cricket history. "With that, we've asked the senior players to step up a little bit more this week because every vital bit of leadership needs to come out at a time like this". In this innings, he joined Morris to carry South Africa past 300 after they had lost four wickets in a span of 56 runs. "We would have chosen to bowl first but they applied themselves well and got stuck in".

"I still think you'll see the glint in his eye", Cook said ahead of Friday's second Investec Test match at Trent Bridge.

Root added: "I think it's really important Jimmy is smart in looking after his body, and the way he's gone about it this week has been just that".

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