Toby Roland-Jones added another twist to an astonishing debut in the fourth test against South Africa at the Oval on Monday, as the seamer took two wickets in successive balls to bring England to the edge of victory and a 2-1 series lead.
With spinner Moeen Ali claiming a further wicket with the final ball before lunch, South Africa were 205-7 in pursuit of a nominal target of 492.
Hat-trick!Moeen Ali finishes the 3rd Test in style, taking the first Test hat-trick at the Oval as England Cricket win by 239 runs: http://bit.ly/EngvSA9
England’s main obstacle remained opener Dean Elgar, undefeated on 113 after five hours at the crease, but Joe Root’s side have two full sessions to claim the remaining three wickets.
Roland-Jones, who took five wickets in the first innings, removed the battling Temba Bavuma and Vernon Philander, both lbw to fuller deliveries, to take his match tally to eight and open up South Africa’s tail.
Bavuma had not looked in serious trouble until the Middlesex seamer, who has become Joe Root’s go-to bowler in this match, trapped him on 32. He was initially given not out, but Root asked for a review and the decision was reversed.
Philander followed next ball, shouldering arms in an almost identikit dismissal to that of South African skipper Faf du Plessis, who had been trapped first ball by Ben Stokes the previous day.
Roland-Jones then came within a foot of claiming a hat-trick when Morris edged his next ball just short of Stokes at slip. Stokes looked rueful, having also taken two wickets in two deliveries on Sunday.
Watching at the other end, Elgar could only shake his head in disbelief after a promising first 45 minutes in which South Africa had scored freely.
The tourists, who began the day on 117-4, always knew test history was against them, with a team starting the final day four wickets down having secured draws only three times.
Elgar and Bavuma shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 108 before Roland-Jones struck and although the opener went on to pass his century from 149 balls — his eighth in tests and second against England — Root’s side will know time is on their side.
The fourth test starts in Manchester on Friday.
England XI: Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Toby Roland-Jones, James Anderson, Tom Westley
South Africa XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis (c), Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Vernon Philander, Chris Morris, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada
England vs South Africa:
Scoreboard at lunch on the fifth day in the third Test between England and South Africa on Monday in London, England
England 1st innings 353 (B. Stokes 112, A. Cook 88)
South Africa 1st innings 175 (T. Bavuma 52; T. Roland-Jones 5-57)
England 2nd innings 313 for 8 decl (J. Bairstow 63, T. Westley 59, J. Root 50)
South Africa 2nd innings (Overnight: 117-4; Target: 492 runs)
H. Kuhn b Broad 11
D. Elgar not out 113
H. Amla c Root b Roland-Jones 5
Q. de Kock b Stokes 5
F. du Plessis lbw b Stokes 0
T. Bavuma lbw b Roland-Jones 32
V. Philander lbw b Roland-Jones 0
C. Morris c Stokes b Ali 24
Extras (b-4 lb-7 nb-4) 15
Total (for 7 wickets, 66 overs) 205
Fall of wickets: 1-21 H. Kuhn,2-47 H. Amla,3-52 Q. de Kock,4-52 F. du Plessis,5-160 T. Bavuma,6-160 V. Philander,7-205 C. Morris
To bat: K. Maharaj, K. Rabada, M. Morkel
J. Anderson 13 – 3 – 26 – 0
S. Broad 16 – 4 – 47 – 1
T. Roland-Jones 14 – 4 – 35 – 3
B. Stokes 12 – 0 – 50 – 2(nb-4)
M. Ali 11 – 3 – 36 – 1
Umpire: Joel Wilson
Umpire: Aleem Dar
TV umpire: Kumar Dharmasena
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle