England’s star all-rounder Moeen Ali continues to break the record in Test cricket. This time, he registered another record by claiming a hat-trick in the final innings of 3rd Test between England and South Africa at The Oval. Moeen’s hat-trick surely overshadowed the impressive performance by debutant Toby Roland-Jones, who finished with 8 wickets in the match, including a 5-wicket haul in first innings.
Moeen’s hat-trick becomes the first ever to happen at the iconic The Oval, where England played its first ever home Test. Moeen becomes 13th English cricketer to scalp a Test hat-trick, which is also the most from any team, followed by Australia with 11. Moeen probably had not achieved this feat if Toby had taken the hat-trick after he scalped consecutive wickets of Temba Bavuma and Vernon Philander. However, Toby did his best and managed to get an edge of Chris Morris off the hat-trick ball but the cherry fell short of Ben Stokes at third slip.
After Toby’s wrath put South Africa heavily on backfoot at 106 for 6. Moeen began his final spell by dismissing Morris at 205 in 66th over. From there on, Dean Elgar, who was frustrating England with his brilliant ton had a decent partnership with Keshav Maharaj. The duo added 47 runs for 8th wicket stand. And then finally came Moeen’s three magical deliveries, which started with Elgar off the 5th ball of 76th over, then Kagiso Rabada off the last ball. Both the batsmen were edged and caught at slip by Stokes.
Moeen remained stranded on a hat-trick with South Africa nine down. Ben Stokes came to bowl the next over but Maharaj escaped the entire over by not losing his wicket and kept hope for Moeen. The next over, Moeen trapped lbw Morne Morkel, which was initially given not out by on-field umpire Joel Wilson. England then reviewed it and the replay showed that ball was heading straight away hitting stumps. Third umpire Kumar Dharmasena declares it out and England celebrates the victory with Moeen’s hat-trick. It was surely an icing on the cake for England.
Moeen became 4th English spinner to claim a Test hat-trick and first since 1938 after Tom Goddard in 1938, Johnny Briggs in 1892 and Billy Bates in 1883.
Moeen’s hat-trick helped not England won the Test but also take the unassailable lead of 2-1 in the series. This means that England will surely not lose the series. Chasing a huge total of 492, South Africa never looked comfortable in the chase. The foundation of this victory was set by all-rounder Ben Stokes for his ton in the first innings and ensured England post a good total of 353.
Then, Toby’s brute bowling force bowl out South Africa for mere 175 and gained a huge lead of 178 runs. England continued their domination in 3rd innings of the Test as well by posting 313 for 8 and setting a nearly impossible target for South Africa.
England will encounter South Africa for the last in the series at Old Trafford in 4th Test, which will start from August 4.