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If you are a South African supporter, chances are extremely high that Moeen Ali is public enemy number one. The All-rounder has become a pain for Proteas for quite a while now, be it with the bat or with the ball. After mauling South Africa in the third Test at the Oval with his accurate off-spin bowling, the southpaw made great use of his willow to pile up absolute misery for the visitors in the fourth and final Test at Manchester.
Having gained a sizeable lead in the first innings, it was imperative for England to build on that and bat South Africa out of the match, and thereby out of the series. There seemed to be some chaos in the middle order once a flurry of wickets fell.
However, Moeen let his bat do the talking as aggression was his answer. Thanks to his rapid counter attacking knock, where he remained unbeaten on 67 off just 59 deliveries by the end of play of Day 3, England now hold a clear grip on the game.
Post the day’s play, Ali admitted that this was probably the best knock of his career.
“It was the best innings in terms of trying to take momentum away and putting pressure on them,” Moeen said. “It was a tricky wicket to bat on. I felt the situation of the game needed some impetus and a few shots.”
“Sometimes you can be a sitting duck and today I didn’t want that. I’ve always had the backing to play with that freedom. I decided I was going to play like that. There have been times in the past when I’ve done it and it’s not come off but we had to be positive and try and take it away for them as much as we can.”
When asked about his rising stature as a match winner, Ali credited the confidence he gained from the constant backing. “I think batting and bowling
“I think batting and bowling is getting closer together in terms of quality,” Moeen said. “The experience of playing regularly is great for my confidence. I could have been dropped before but captains have always stuck with me. The best things is that we stick with players as much as we can. Hopefully, I can repay that.”