Eng­land’s 10-wicket Ali a ‘bat­ter who bowls’

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Moeen Ali may have taken 10 wick­ets in Eng­land’s first Test win over South Africa at Lord’s, but the best way for him to con­tinue to be suc­cess­ful as a bowler is to think of him­self as a bats­man. That was the some­what con­vo­luted po­si­tion out­lined by Eng­land coach Trevor Bayliss, who stressed nei­ther he nor the all­rounder him­self were think­ing of the Worces­ter­shire man as a front­line spin­ner.

Ali starred with both bat and ball as Eng­land launched Joe Root’s reign as cap­tain with a com­mand­ing 211-run vic­tory in the se­ries opener against the Proteas, the win achieved with more than a day to spare.

Dur­ing the match, Ali be­came the sec­ond-quick­est Eng­land player af­ter Tony Greig to com­plete the all-rounder’s dou­ble of 2,000 runs and 100 wick­ets in Test cricket. His match fig­ures of 10 for 112 al­lied to a first-in­nings 87 also helped him move above Eng­land team-mate Ben Stokes into fourth place in the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil’s list of lead­ing Test all-rounders.

And yet Bayliss be­lieves it will help “com­plex char­ac­ter” Ali if left-armer Liam Daw­son is re­garded as Eng­land’s lead­ing spin­ner should they re­tain the same side for Fri­day’s sec­ond Test of a four-match se­ries at Not­ting­ham’s Trent Bridge. “We’ll stick with one spin­ner and one bat­ter that bowls a lit­tle ... and that’s im­por­tant for Mo more than any­thing,” said Bayliss. Of course, Eng­land won’t care a bit how they or Ali views him­self if he keeps on tak­ing wick­ets fol­low­ing his Test-best six for 53 at Lord’s on Sun­day that was key to South Africa’s col­lapse to 119 all out in their sec­ond in­nings.

‘PRES­SURE OFF’

“If he goes into the match as a bat­ter and the sec­ond spin­ner, as we saw in this is prob­a­bly more so for Mo’s ben­e­fit, to take a lit­tle bit of that pres­sure off him,” added Aus­tralian coach Bayliss. Hamp­shire’s Daw­son bagged a pair at Lord’s, his third nought in two ca­reer Tests af­ter an un­beaten fifty on de­but away to In­dia last year. Af­ter an un­cer­tain start at Lord’s, his bowl­ing be­came more of a threat on an in­creas­ingly help­ful pitch and he fin­ished with match fig­ures of four for 101.

“Liam ad­mit­ted him­self that he was very ner­vous in the first in­nings, first Test match at home, first Test at Lord’s,” said Bayliss. “But I thought he showed the char­ac­ter we know he has to come back and bowl bet­ter in the sec­ond in­nings-and bowl in a good part­ner­ship with Mo.” The match was a tri­umph for Root, whose first-in­nings 190 put Eng­land in a strong po­si­tion. “Be­fore this Test match, he was a lit­tle more on edge than I’ve seen him be­fore,” said Bayliss. “But he didn’t try to be some­thing he’s not. He’s a pro-ac­tive, con­fi­dent sort of a young bloke, and I thought that came across in the way he led the team.”

For­mer cap­tain Alas­tair Cook made a valu­able fifty in the sec­ond in­nings and Bayliss said he was en­joy­ing his re­turn to the ranks. “He’s lov­ing it! I was hav­ing a bit of a laugh about it, just watch­ing him in the field.

“For some­one in that stage of his ca­reer, it’s a good sign.” Mean­while Jonny Bairstow’s in­creas­ingly as­sured wicket-keep­ing, al­lied to his proven run-scor­ing abil­ity was ex­em­pli­fied by his ex­cel­lent leg­side catch to dis­miss Heino Kuhn on Sun­day. “That first catch was prob­a­bly the best he’s taken since I’ve been here in the last three sum­mers,” said Bayliss. “So that will give him a lot of con­fi­dence.” —AFP

LON­DON: Eng­land’s Moeen Ali, third left, leads Eng­land off the field car­ry­ing the ball and a stump fol­low­ing his 10-wicket haul with cap­tain Joe Root, sec­ond left, also car­ry­ing a stump at the end of the first Test be­tween Eng­land and South Africa at Lord’s cricket ground in Lon­don, Sun­day. — AP

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