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England closes in on series victory over South Africa

England closes in on series victory over South Africa

England were bidding for a first home Test series win over South Africa since 1998, with Joe Root seeking a victory in his first Test series as England captain.

Spinner Moeen Ali crowned his excellent series by taking five wickets as England beat South Africa by 177 runs in the fourth test on Monday to secure a 3-1 series victory.

Moeen made them - and pity the unlucky bowler Keshav Maharaj whose spin was then chosen for assault - pay for their mistake smashing an unbeaten 67 in 59 balls with eight fours and three sixes.

Moeen Ali finished 75 not out off 66 balls, a typically attacking innings from the No. 8 that had taken the game away from South Africa on Day 3 and left the tourists facing a ground-record chase at Old Trafford. Moeen was especially severe on Maharaj, hitting him for three resounding sixes.

A former Essex and England batsman, Insole was a Test selector for almost 20 years and an influential administrator.

Having a 136-run lead in hand after bowling the Proteas out for 226, England did not make the best of starts to their second innings as opener Alastair Cook was caught by Theunis de Bruyn at gully off the bowling of Morne Morkel for 10 runs.

No one has even won a Test match trailing by more than 300 heading into a fourth innings at Old Trafford.

A spirited ninth wicket partnership gave the Proteas a glimmer of hope but Rabada (23) was brilliantly caught in the final over of the day leaving England needing just one wicket to wrap up the innings tomorrow. The Faf du Plessis-led side limped to the close on 220 for 9, still trailing by 142, with Kagiso Rabada's last-ball dismissal summing up their futile situation.

Like Jonny Bairstow's 99 in the first innings, Ali's brisk half-century ensured England didn't succumb when under pressure, this time at 153-7.

They both fell to paceman Olivier, only playing this match after back injuries ruled out both Vernon Philander and Chris Morris.

"The great thing for their team is they've nearly got an extra player every time they can pick from", said South Africa captain Du Plessis in the post-match presentation. As a batting unit, we never really felt we could get on top of them. "I was desperately disappointed not to chalk up another hundred in Test cricket".