Marvellous Moeen's all-round skills prove too much for South Africa
Hendo 7th August 2017
End of game report: England 362 & 243 bt South Africa 226 & 202 by 177 runs. It is getting to be a habit. Moeen Ali wrapped up the third Test match with a hat-trick – the first in 100 Tests at the Oval – and ended South Africa's resistance at Old Trafford with wickets in successive balls. It gave him figures of five for 69, no more than he deserved as he bowled the decisive spell shortly before tea to match his exploits with the bat on the third evening, and a total of 25 wickets in the series – by far the best haul on either side.
Ali turns up heat to take game away from South Africa
Hendo 6th August 2017
Close of play report (Day 3): England 362 & 224-8 (Ali 67*, Broad 0*) South Africa 226. Moeen Ali's growing significance in the England set-up was emphasised in the final session at Old Trafford as he quashed any hopes South Africa had of forcing an unlikely victory with a superb counter-attacking innings. Moeen smashed an 11th Test fifty after his fellow big guns had laboured to press home the advantage England had taken on first innings after leaving their opponents with a 136-run deficit.
Anderson marks opening of his own end in inspirational style
Hendo 5th August 2017
Close of play report (fourth Test, second day). England 362 South Africa 220-9 (Morkel 18*). James Anderson backed up his words with actions as he celebrated the opening of his own end at Old Trafford in dramatic fashion to put England in a commanding position in the second Test. Anderson, insistent that redemption Down Under remains a target after the 2013-14 Ashes drubbing, produced a wonderful spell after tea, clean bowling Temba Bavuma and Faf du Plessis in the space of three balls, then finding Theunis de Bruyn's outside edge to have him caught at second slip.
Yogi Bear (Stow)
Paul Howarth 4th August 2017
Another sedentary – but entirely satisfactory – session for England. The run rate hasn't threatened 3 all day but, frankly, who gives?. Duanne 'Laurence' Olivier took the wicket of Root 66, bowling a good old-fashioned wicket-to-wicket line and trapping him LBW. Root's sheepish review was in vain. However, he had at least reached 50 for the tenth consecutive Test. More mature batting from Ben Stokes, the ginger wizard striking another half-century via a combination of solid defence and judicious stroke-play. Comparisons with Sir Garfield Sobers are not fanciful. No, really. KG Rabada had the last laugh, however, castling Stokes with a fast in-swinging yorker. Dawid Malan knows how you feel, Stokesy.
Moeen's hat-trick rounds off victory despite Elgar's resistance
Hendo 31st July 2017
Final report: (Third Test day 5). England 353 & 313-8 dec bt South Africa 175 & 252 by 239 runs. Moeen Ali finished off the historic 100th Test match at the Oval in appropriately memorable style with a hat-trick – the first in a Test match at the famous ground – to give England an emphatic victory and put them 2-1 ahead in the series with one to play. Ali finally ended the resistance of the admirable Dean Elgar, who almost single-handedly defied the home side, when he was induced to drive at one that turned from the footholes, and gave a simple catch to Ben Stokes at slip.
Du Plessis facing humiliation as England dominate day
Hendo 30th July 2017
Close of play report (third Test, day 4). England 353 & 313-8 dec South Africa 175 & 117-4 (Elgar 72*, Bavuma 16*). If he wasn't aware already, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was this evening made horribly cognizant of the dramatic changes in fortune cricket can deal its protagonists as South Africa's top order succumbed again to England's pace attack in the final session at the Oval.
Lunchtime score: England 20/0, SA 175; England lead by 198 (third Test, day 3 morning session)
Chris1209 29th July 2017
England 20 for none v South Africa (Cook 6*, Jennings 10*), lead by 198. Rain cut short an edgy first session of the third day of the 100th Oval Test, with England in complete control of the match despite some stubborn early resistance from Temba Bavuma and Morne Morkel. Toby Roland-Jones and Stuart Broad failed to extract the nip and bounce of the previous day, creating only one real moment of drama in the first dozen overs when Bavuma edged the famously petulant blonde seamer to Ben Stokes at gully only for the chance – difficult, fast and away to his left – to fly off his outstretched palm to safety.
Rain 2, England 1, South Africa 0
Nakul Pande 29th July 2017
Stumps, day 3: England second innings, 74/1, lead by 252 runs Tea: England second innings, 74/1, lead by 252 runs Nuff said. Oh, yes: Morne Morkel bowled Alastair Cook with the greatest ball no-one will remember.
Bloodied South Africa feel the full force of Stokes and Roland-Jones
Hendo 28th July 2017
Close of play score (third Test, day 2, evening session). England 353 all out South Africa 126-8 (Bavuma 34*, Morkel 2*). Ben Stokes went to a fifth Test century in a blizzard of sixes and Toby Roland-Jones enjoyed a dream-like introduction to five-day cricket as England carved out a commanding position on an exhilarating second day of the third Test at the Oval. Stokes, who hit 112 from 153 balls in an innings of impressive maturity, cleared the boundary three times in successive balls as he went in the blink of an eye from 91 to 109, before Roland-Jones, making up for lost time that meant his debut was delayed until the age of 29, found a glorious rhythm.
Cook in the swing as South Africa's bowlers find pitch to their liking
Hendo 27th July 2017
Close of play score (third Test); Eng 171-4 v South Africa (Cook 82*, Stokes 21*). There was rain, cloud, a greenish pitch, a moving ball and regular interruptions. In other words, the perfect conditions for Alastair Cook. The former England captain provided the kind of stern resistance that seems to be going out of fashion as South Africa's bowlers made the ball talk in any number of languages on the first day of the third Test at the Oval.