LONDON: England all-rounder Moeen Ali paid due credit to his bowling coach Saqlain Mushtaq after claiming his maiden Test hat-trick against South Africa at Oval.
England were already cruising to claim thier second win against South Africa in the 4-match Test series when took to pitch on Day 5, but little did they expect that the victory would come along with a historic achievement for one of their players.
After an unremarkable morning, Moeen bounced up to the crease as the third English bowler to be on a hat-trick.
After a frenzied appeal, nail-biting review and final finger of doom, Moeen became the first player to achieve the feat in a test at The Oval and the first English spinner to bag a hat-trick since Tom Goddard in 1938.
Every now and then, cricket conjures up days that span generations. Within minutes of Moeen dismissing the unfortunate Morne Morkel, who had earlier bowled superbly for South Africa for no reward, statistics started to drip feed out of computers.
This was the third time a test had been completed with a hat-trick and the first for 115 years. Never before have four batsmen been out for golden ducks in the same test innings.
After achieving the historic feat, the 30-year-old spoke about how he had earlier claimed a few hat-tricks in football (scoring three goals) but to have done it in cricket is a different and better sort of feeling.
“I’ve scored a few hat-tricks in football but this is a different sort of feeling, a better sort of feeling,” Moeen said. “I have been working with Saqlain Mushtaq and he is helping me quite a lot with my spin. It’s coming out alright. We talk a lot and I’ve bowled a lot more now than I used to in terms of practice. He’s pushing me.”
He might be considered as England’s second choice spinner behind Liam Dawson, he still has 18 wickets in three Tests to his name. “I always enjoy bowling in tandem with another spinner,” admitted Moeen. “It does take a bit of pressure off and not over-think it. I’ve got 40 games under my belt now but I’ve always preferred it [bowling with another spinner].”