Moeen Ali’s third Test hundred was the innings of a cavalier. Coming in at 110 for five, staying until England’s score was almost tripled, and scoring so quickly there was still time to take Pakistan’s first wicket, England’s left-hander was as rollicking as if he had been David Gower after a night on the tiles.
Moeen Ali, England’s all-rounder, has conceded that he perhaps would have dropped himself from the side earlier this season due to poor form. In the fourth and final Test against the visitors at The Oval, he shone brightly by notching up an enterprising 152-ball 108 to help England recover from a spot of bother when they found themselves precariously placed at 110 for 5.
Moeen thanked the selectors and Alastair Cook, England’s Test captain, for showing faith in him during tough times. “I have to thank the selectors and captain Cook, because I probably wouldn’t have picked myself at that stage,” Moeen said.
“At Lord’s, I wasn’t on it and I was really embarrassed. That is when I decided to bat properly again, and I have worked on my defence with batting coach Mark Ramprakash. I was sick and tired of not scoring many runs for England; it was a little bit embarrassing,” he added.
Moeen was struck by a hostile first ball from Wahab Riaz that crashed into his helmet and then survived a dropped catch at third slip by Azhar Ali on nine off Mohammad Amir. But in partnership with Bairstow, who made 55 after being caught off a no-ball from Riaz, he began to turn the day around before Woakes, 45, and the tail chipped in.
He said: “I really enjoyed batting with Jonny, he gets me going. Getting hit on the head first ball, I had to wake up. I have been hit a few times but I’m used to it. I tried to sway back but I knew it was going to hit me. But I am really pleased to get a hundred. The guys all the way down the order batted really well with me.”
Moeen needed the No11, Jimmy Anderson, to hang around long enough to see him complete his third Test hundred – and one that takes his average to 97.16 batting at No7 – bringing up the milestone by depositing Yasir into the Peter May stand with an almighty hit.
Moeen said. “I blocked a few to make them think I wasn’t going to go for it, then picked the ball, went on gut instinct, backed myself to clear the boundary and as soon as I hit it I knew it was six. I was really happy. It was a good connection.”