All-rounder Moeen Ali celebrated the finest performance of his career after his bowling tore through South Africa and earned England victory by 211 runs in the first Investec Test at Lord’s on Sunday.
Moeen took 6-53 – giving him 10 wickets for the match to go with a valuable first-innings knock of 87 – as England skittled the tourists out for just 119 to win Joe Root’s first match as captain.
Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow had earlier contributed a precious 51 as the hosts recovered from a batting collapse of their own to set South Africa a target of 331.
“It was the best all-round performance of my career. It was a great wicket and I was trying to attack the batters as much as possible and it worked out well,” said Moeen.
“I learned a lot in India. It helped my mindset a lot and it worked out well. It is almost like a fresh start for me with a new captain.”
Root, who hit 190 in the first innings, praised the whole team for engineering a winning start to his Test captaincy.
“It’s a great start, and the whole team were fabulous throughout,” he said.
“Everything that was thrown at them and asked of them, they responded extremely well. I didn’t really know what to expect, but what was really pleasing was everything I asked of the lads they were very open to.”
The win was sufficiently convincing for England to name the same 12-man squad for the second Test of this four-match series, which starts at Trent Bridge on Friday.
South Africa will welcome back skipper Faf du Plessis, who missed this match to be at the birth of his child, but will be without fast-bowler Kagiso Rabada, who is suspended.
Coach Russel Domingo also looks set to miss the match after he returned home last night to be at the bedside of his seriously ill mother.