Monday, August 7th, 2017

Moeen Clocks Up Milestone As Boundary Blitz Puts England In Command

Moeen Clocks Up Milestone As Boundary Blitz Puts England In Command

Moeen Ali clocked up another milestone as he made his latest vital contribution to England’s cause with an unbeaten 67 off just 59 balls on the third day of the final Test with South Africa at Old Trafford.

The Worcestershire all-rounder became the first England player since Andrew Flintoff in the 2005 Ashes to score 200 runs and take 20 wickets in a series.

He came to the crease at 134-6 and his boundary blitz – three sixes and eight fours – had lifted England to 224-8 before rain halted play – a lead of 360.

The 30-year-old had a slice of good fortune at the very start of his innings when he inside edged Olivier for four and was dropped at slip by Dean Elgar off spinner Keshav Maharaj.

But then Moeen launched a scoring blitz against the latter and raced to his half century off 49 alls with a straight six off Maharaj which was caught on the players’ balcony by Jonny Bairstow.

Moeen said: “At places like here and Edgbaston, when the crowd get on your side, you ride the wave a bit.

“I just felt with the situation in the game, we needed a bit of momentum. It came off for me.

“I had a couple of chances but it was nice to play like that today.

“I went in and was just thinking about defending but sometimes you can be a bit of a sitting duck and I backed myself and thankfully it paid off.

“I like to entertain myself and everybody else when I am in that rhythm and mood. I just went with the flow.

“My family and parents were in the crowd and I wanted to make sure they enjoyed my batting.”

Moeen says he is targeting becoming a genuine all-rounder rather than, to use his words, “a batsman who can bowl a bit.”

He said: “I feel that now I have played quite a bit of Test cricket and my batting and bowling are getting closer together.

“The one thing that gives me the most enjoyment is bowling in the last innings.

“In the past, I have thought about it too much and the pressure gets to you but I have tried to keep my mind clear and just be as simple as I can with the ball.

“Thankfully I have been more consistent and that bowling average is coming down. I want to be known as an all-rounder but I am definitely a batsman who can bowl a bit.”

It was Moeen’s second half century of the series after his 87 at Lord’s in addition to 20 wickets so far during the series.