England have to sustain momentum to secure series
England put in a strong performance to take a lead into the final Test of their series against South Africa at Old Trafford.
A century from Ben Stokes in the first innings, along with a knock of 88 from Alastair Cook, laid the foundation of victory, while debutant Toby Roland-Jones shined with the ball.
Moeen Ali wrapped up the win on the final day at The Oval, becoming the first England spinner to take a hat-trick since Tom Goddard in 1938 by claiming the scalp of Morne Morkel.
Joe Root will now be aiming to secure his first series as captain, while the Three Lions are eyeing their first series win since defeating Sri Lanka early last year.
Since the arrival of Trevor Bayliss as coach in 2015, England have developed a habit of not being able to sustain momentum following Test match victories, especially at home.
Last year, they were in the position to secure a series victory over Pakistan after a dominant performance at Edgbaston. However, a poor performance with the bat allowed the Green Shirts to post a huge total and apply the pressure to win the match, drawing the series in the process.
The Three Lions were in the same situation earlier in the present series against South Africa. Root’s men began with a fine performance at Lord’s, winning the contest by a comfortable margin.
With the opportunity to seize the series by the scruff of the neck England folded at Trent Bridge, losing by 340 runs with two feeble efforts with the bat.
Root’s men bounced back with one of their best displays under the tenure of Bayliss, but now face the challenge of kicking on to win the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy.
If England can secure the victory and the series then it will be a telling factor in their development under the coach and Root going forward into the Ashes at the end of the year.