Moeen Ali picked up two crucial wickets and held onto a fine catch to help push England’s bid for victory on the fourth day of the Second Test with India at Lord’s.
The Worcestershire Rapids Vitality Blast captain dismissed Ajinkya Rahane (61) and Ravindra Jadeja (3) in the space of three overs shortly before bad light ended play for the day.
It followed on from him showing a safe pair of hands to dismiss opener Rohit Sharma (21) as India closed the day on 181-6 – an overall lead of 154.
Moeen ended with excellent figures of 20-1-52-2 and earned praise from former England captain, Andrew Strauss, now commentating for Sky Sports.
He said: “Moeen has bowled exceptionally well in this Test, especially as he has been firing them in when playing in The Hundred (for Birmingham Phoenix).
“To come back and change his pace and make sure his line was right for Test cricket is no mean feat.”
Moeen held onto a low catch at deep square leg to account for Sharma off the bowling of Mark Wood.
When he came into the attack, he showed plenty of control before his crucial double strike.
Rahane, having faced 146 balls, went back to a delivery down the Lord’s slope from Moeen and edged through to keeper Jos Buttler.
Moeen then bowled Jadeja with a well flighted ball which turned and hit his off stump.
He was mobbed by his team-mates before facing the Sky Sports cameras at the close of play.
Moeen said: “It is easier to go from bowling quicker (in The Hundred) to bowling slow (in Test cricket).
“In the first innings there was a little bit of the one-day style, trying to bowl wicket to wicket, trying to go at two or three runs an over.
“I was just trying to give Joe (Root) some control and it’s something I’ve struggled to do in the past really. I made sure my basics were good.
“Second innings, it was just about staying patient really and I found that hard. I haven’t bowled a lot of overs but I managed to get a couple of wickets at the end which was quite nice for myself.
“I want my (Test) place back and I feel part of the team and I’ve enjoyed being back this week and, when I got the call, I was buzzing to get down here and start practicing with the guys.”