South Africa, on the other hand, have loads of questions to solve - Should they have risked playing a half-fit Philander? Should they change something in their batting? What could they have done differently? Knowing the fighting spirit of the rainbow nation, expect them to come all out in the last match between these sides that commences on the 4th of August, 2017 at 1100 local time (1000 GMT). Join us as we bring to you all the action from the Old Trafford. Till then, adios! Take care! Ciao!
That brings us to the end of a game that had centuries, runs, wickets, hat-trick and rains! In life, you bring nothing with you and take nothing away, but England came into this game with pressure and walked away with a thumping win. They have managed to tick most of their boxes.
Man of the Match, Ben Stokes says that he had to work very hard with the bat. Adds that early on it was a difficult track and Philander bowled well. Mentions that it is pleasing to go through that difficult phase and cash in later on. States that he always looks to play positive cricket. Adds that he looks to attack no matter what the situation of the game is. Opines that he was doubtful about the last wicket (hat-trick ball) that Ali took. He asked Root whether it was sliding down leg and there were two noises as well. Adds that it was a dramatic end to the Test. Congratulates Moeen for his hat-trick. On his own bowling he announces that he is working really hard with the bowling coach and it is paying off. Stresses that the spell he bowled at Trent Bridge was a confidence booster. Ends by saying that they need to keep playing this way when they will take on the Proteas in the final Test at Old Trafford.
Joe Root the English skipper, says that the hat-trick was some way to celebrate hundred Tests at The Oval. Feels they played a wonderful and a complete Test. Says it was important the way they batted in the first innings as the conditions became tougher as the game progressed. He credits Cook's innings by saying that it was crucial as they could have easily lost more wickets after losing four early on the first day. He also credits his bowlers for bowling well in the conditions. On the criticism that they got after the defeat in the second game, he mentions that they, as a side, never give excuses and always look to improve. The guys responded with good performances he adds. About the debutants, he states that Malan would have loved to get more runs, but is happy overall with them. He credits Westley for his knock. He adds that it is important for Roland-Jones to stay level headed and this start is important for him. On the composition of the side, he concludes by saying that it is important to look at the wicket and take a decision.
Faf du Plessis the Protea skipper, says that Philander missing out in the first innings was a huge blow. Feels that 350 was a hundred too many. Mentions that Vernon is that good that they are pleased to have him even if he is 50 percent fit. Adds that the plan was to bat first and give him time to recover. Feels that they really missed Philander in the first innings and that disturbed their consistency. Reckons that if they had an option, they would have liked to play right after winning the second Test instead of taking the break. Opines that they made obvious mistakes in the first and third Test. Credits England for their all-round performance. Adds that it is about doing the basics right. He appreciates Dean Elgar's innings. Credits his men for their fighting performance. Feels that as Test batsmen they need to score hundreds. Again appreciates Elgar for his courageous knock and says that they can learn a lot from him.
Buffaloes do not take to water as graciously as fishes do, similarly, the visiting batsmen did not adjust to the conditions as well as the home side did. England scored over 300 in both their innings, and the defeat margin of 239 runs shows how much the African side lagged with the bat. That nine of their batters ended up getting single digit figures in the match drives home the point. The visitors are now left facing with more questions which they seemed to have covered after their win in the second Test.
What an end to the match! A hat-trick. Finally. It's no accident that the number three is pervasive throughout some of the greatest stories, fairy tales, and myths, England got third time lucky! Stokes was on a hat-trick and missed, Roland-Jones missed his narrowly, Moeen Ali didn't miss his treble of three consecutive balls, hastening England's victory in the process. Elgar kept the Englishmen at bay, but after his fall, the shutters fell quickly. Stokes and Roland-Jones chipped in with important strikes throughout the match. The latter had a terrific debut, both with bat and ball.
Moeen Ali to Morne Morkel
OUT! Successful review and that's the final nail in the coffin! Moeen Ali bags a hat-trick to his name! A brilliant display of spin bowling and he gets the reward. This is the first time after 1938 that an English spinner has taken a hat-trick. He pushes it a bit quicker through the air and gets it to come in with the arm. Morkel prods forward to defend but misses it completely to get rapped on the front pad. Up go the Englishmen in unison but the umpire Wilson after a long thought stays unmoved. Root decides to take the review. The replays roll in. The Ultra Edge detects no inside edge. Time for the Hawk Eye. It shows three reds and Morne is a dead duck. The joy on Moeen Ali's face is prominent. ENGLAND WIN BY 239 RUNS TO GO 2-1 UP IN THE SERIES!
England decide to take a review against Morkel. Seems really close to the naked eye.
Broad is having a discussion with Ali.
Ben Stokes to Keshav Maharaj
Back of a length ball on middle and leg, strikes him high on the thigh pad.
Bouncer on middle, Keshav ducks under that and lets it go.
Length ball outside off, left alone by Maharaj.
Length ball around off, played off the back foot.
Length ball angling down the leg side, Maharaj goes for the flick and misses.
Length ball around off, defended from within the crease.
Morne Morkel is the last man in.
Moeen Ali to Kagiso Rabada
OUT! The bearded man gets two in two! Again floats it around off and entices the drive. Rabada facing his first ball, goes for the drive with hard hands, and edges it to the left of Stokes at first slip who takes a fine catch. England inch closer to victory as Rabada departs for a golden duck. The end is nigh for the Proteas. Ali will be on a hat-trick if and when he bowls the next over.
Kagiso Rabada walks in next.
Moeen Ali to Dean Elgar
OUT! ELGAR'S RESISTANCE ENDS! Tossed up just outside off, inviting the drive. Elgar this time falls for the bait. He goes for the drive through covers, ends up edging it to the right of Stokes at first slip who makes no mistake. A tame end to a top innings. Elgar departs for 136. England closer to performing the last rites!