10 Jul 2017

Root leads England to victory at Lords

10:14 am on 10 July 2017

England's Joe Root has begun his reign as captain with an emphatic 211-run win over South Africa in the first test at Lord's.

England captain Joe Root and spinner Moeen Ali

England captain Joe Root and spinner Moeen Ali Photo: Photosport

England took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series after bowling South Africa out for 119 in their second innings, spinner Moeen Ali claiming test-best figures of 6-53 in Joe Root's first test as captain.

Set an improbable target of 331 after England had lost their nine remaining second-innings wickets to be dismissed for 233, the touring side never came to terms with a spiteful pitch of uneven bounce and were bowled out for 119.

The win was England's first against South Africa at Lord's since 1960.

Root simply had to rotate his bowlers, although spinner Moeen Ali took the honours with figures of 6-53, giving him 10 wickets in a man-of-the-match performance that included an invaluable first-innings knock of 87.

"It was definitely the best all-round performance of my career," Moeen said. "The pitch allowed me to attack their batsmen as much as I could."

England spinner Moeen Ali

England spinner Moeen Ali Photo: photosport

Moeen produced turn and bounce on a wicket that seldom favours fourth-innings run chases.

Only three teams have won a test match by scoring more than 300 at the home of cricket, but the tourists must have felt they were in with a chance after dismissing England so cheaply by mid-afternoon.

The size of their task, however, became clear when Heino Kuhn (9) and captain Dean Elgar (1) both fell with the score on 12 to fine catches from keeper Jonny Bairstow and Moeen off his own bowling.

JP Duminy also departed cheaply and once Hashim Amla was trapped lbw by Liam Dawson, it was only a matter of time.

The second test against South Africa starts at Trent Bridge on Friday.