England have finally silenced their critics after defeating South Africa in a humdinger of a match. The main star was England's spinner Moeen Ali who bowled a hat trick to finish off South Africa in the third test match. Ali's dismissal of South Africa's last three batsmen in three balls across two overs handed England a 239-run victory and a 2-1 series lead ahead of Friday's fourth and final test in Manchester.
The England players celebrated after the last decision was confirmed by the umpire. Ali is the first England spinner to take a hat trick since 1938.
The off-spinner's hat trick started when Dean Elgar's resistance was finally ended for 136. Elgar edged the ball to Ben Stokes at slip, and Kagiso Rabada was out to an identical shot. At the start of his next over, Ali trapped Morne Morkel leg before wicket to give England a convincing victory.
Elgar was the only South African holding up England's victory as he batted despite an injured left hand.
Toby Roland-Jones took two wickets in two balls in the morning session and Ali dismissed Chris Morris with the last ball before lunch, leaving South Africa on 205-7 chasing an unlikely 492.
Roland-Jones, a seamer making his debut, took five wickets in the first innings to put England in command and claimed three more in the second innings.
South Africa resumed on Monday on 117-4 and Elgar combined with Temba Bavuma in a partnership of 108 before two wickets fell to Roland-Jones in successive deliveries. Bavuma was dismissed lbw on appeal for 32 and then Vernon Philander was trapped lbw for a duck to leave South Africa in deep trouble on 160-6.
Despite the injury to his left hand, Elgar hit 18 fours in his 189-ball innings, although he appeared set to run out of partners.
After lunch, South Africa could only add 47 runs as Ali skittled through the last batsmen.
England gained the upper hand in the first innings, scoring 353 with a century from Ben Stokes and 88 from opener Alastair Cook. Roland-Jones took 5-57. England scored 313-8 declared in the second innings, setting South Africa a massive challenge of 492 to win.
(With AP Inputs).