Alastair Cook and Ben Stokes' crucial contributions and four other talking points from England's win over South Africa in third Test

Sport360 staff 21:10 31/07/2017
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Key men: Alastair Cook and Ben Stokes.

England got the better of South Africa by 239 runs to take a 2-1 lead in the series with one Test left to play.

Here, we have at look at five talking points from the match.

COOK, STOKES SHOW THEIR WORTH

Alastair Cook, after resigning from Test captaincy, continues to be an important batsman for England. The left-hander withstood some very good South African bowling to make a crucial contribution in the first innings before he was eventually dismissed for 88, but by then, he had done his job.

Ben Stokes, on the other hand, continued to show why he’s considered as one of the top cricketers in the world today. To go with a fabulous century in England’s first innings, he picked up four wickets in the match.

Unsurprisingly, Stokes was named as the Player of the Match.

ENGLAND’S THREE DEBUTANTS

After a poor all-round performance at Trent Bridge, England handed three Test debuts – Tom Westley, Dawid Malan, and Toby Roland-Jones. Out of the three, Roland-Jones had the most memorable debut, taking eight wickets in the match, including a five-wicket haul in the first innings.

Westley also had a good game, getting a start in the first innings before getting out for 25. Second time round, he brought up his first Test half-century in just his second innings at the Test level.

On the other hand, Malan disappointed with scores of 1 and 10, but one must say that he got an almost unplayable yorker from Kagiso Rabada in the first innings.

SOUTH AFRICA’S BATTING WOES

The South African batting line-up won’t look back at their efforts in this match with much fondness as they were bowled out for 175 and 252.

Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis is a very good 3-4-5, but the trio disappointed in this match as they managed a combined 34 runs between them over two innings.

Opener Heino Kuhn’s Test career has got off to a poor start as he has managed just 78 runs in six innings with a top score of 34.

BAVUMA AND ELGAR’S FIGHTING KNOCKS

After South Africa were reduced to 61-7 in their first innings, it was Temba Bavuma’s fine half-century that helped the visitors add 114 runs for the last three wickets.

In their second innings as well, the South Africans found themselves in all kinds of trouble, losing four wickets for 52. That was when Dean Elgar was joined at the crease by Bavuma and the duo put on a 108-run partnership.

Elgar went on to bring up his century on day five, eventually getting out for 136 while Bavuma scored 32. But their efforts weren’t enough as England won the match by a huge margin.

MOEEN’S HAT-TRICK

Moeen Ali has been a crucial member of the England set-up in all three formats of the game for some time now and he put in a Player-of-the-Match performance in the hosts’ victory in the first Test at Lord’s.

On Monday, Moeen became just the 13th English bowler (Stuart Broad has two) to take a Test hat-trick. He took the wickets of Dean Elgar and Rabada off the fifth and sixth deliveries in his 16th over.

He then dismissed Morne Morkel off the first delivery off his next over, with DRS overturning the on-field call on an LBW decision.

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