Ali fifty puts England in sight of series win against South Africa
Moeen Ali made an unbeaten 67 on the third day of the fourth Test before rain brought play to a close.
Manchester - When rain ended the third's play early, England were 224 for eight in their second innings - a lead of 360 runs - with Ali unbeaten on 67
Published: Sun 6 Aug 2017, 9:51 PM
Last updated: Sun 6 Aug 2017, 11:55 PM
Moeen Ali's dashing fifty all but put the fourth Test beyond South Africa's reach as England moved towards a series win at Old Trafford on Sunday.
When rain ended the third's play early, England were 224 for eight in their second innings - a lead of 360 runs - with Ali unbeaten on 67.
South Africa already needed to set a new ground record if they were to end this four-match series all square at 2-2 as no side have made more in the fourth innings of a Test at Old Trafford to win than England's 294 for four against New Zealand in 2008.
Ali made South Africa pay for Dean Elgar dropping him on 15 when a low slip chance off Keshav Maharaj did not stick.
He may come in at No 8 for England but off-spinner Ali - who earlier in this match took 20 wickets in a Test series for the first time in his career - made his name with Worcestershire as a top-order batsman.
Ali, who bats left-handed, was especially severe on Maharaj, hitting him for three resounding sixes.
The second of those, a straight drive that saw Ali complete a 49-ball fifty - was 'caught' on the England dressing-room balcony by wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow to the delight of the crowd.
England were bidding for a first home Test series win over South Africa since 1998, with Joe Root seeking a victory in his first Test series as England captain.
South Africa resumed on 220 for nine and were soon all out for 226 when Stuart Broad dismissed last man Duanne Olivier.
That gave England a healthy first-innings lead of 136.
Olivier's exit meant James Anderson, England's all-time leading wicket-taker - was denied a maiden five-wicket Test innings haul on his Lancashire home ground.
But figures of four for 38 in 17 overs gave Anderson, who'd struck four times from the newly-named James Anderson End on Saturday, his best innings return in seven Tests at Old Trafford.
South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel then removed both Alastair Cook (10) and Tom Westley (nine) with the aid of gully catches.
At lunch, England were 53 for two, with Keaton Jennings - dropped in the slips on nought - 17 not out. But South Africa-born Jennings was unable to cash in on his reprieve.
The Durham left-hander had added just one to his interval score when, he edged a cut off Kagiso Rabada to first slip Hashim Amla.
Prior to Sunday's innings, there had been widespread speculation that the 25-year-old would be dropped for the start of England's upcoming three-Test series at home to the West Indies, which precedes an Ashes tour of Australia.
England 1st Innings 362
South Africa 1st Innings
Elgar lbw b Anderson 0
Kuhn c Stokes b Ali 24
Amla c Bairstow b Roland-Jones 30
Bavuma b Anderson 46
Du Plessis b Anderson 27
De Kock c Bairstow b Broad 24
De Bruyn c Root b Anderson 11
Maharaj lbw b Ali 13
Rabada c Stokes b Broad 23
Morkel not out 20
Olivier c Bairstow b Broad 4
Extras (b3, nb1) 4
Total (all out, 72.1 overs, 303 mins) 226
Fall: 1-2, 2-47, 3-84, 4-131, 5-132, 6-146, 7-167, 8-189, 9-220, 10-226.
Bowling: Anderson 17-5-38-4; Broad 16.1-4-46-3; Roland-Jones 11-3-41-1; Ali 21-5-57-2; Stokes 6-0-34-0 (1nb); Malan 1-0-7-0
England 2nd Innings
Cook c de Bruyn b Morkel 10
Jennings c Amla b Rabada 18
Westley c sub (Markram) b Morkel 9
Root b Olivier 49
Malan c de Bruyn b Maharaj 6
Stokes c du Plessis b Olivier 23
Bairstow c Rabada b Olivier 10
Ali not out 67
Roland-Jones c Maharaj b Rabada 11
Broad not out 0
Extras (b9, lb9, w2, nb1) 21
Total (8 wkts, 66.2 overs, 293 mins) 224
To bat: J Anderson
Fall: 1-16, 2-30, 3-55, 4-72, 5-129, 6-134, 7-153, 8-211.
Bowling: Morkel 12-2-39-2 (1nb); Rabada 15.2-4-37-2 (2w); Maharaj 27-5-92-1; Olivier 12-5-38-3