Manchester — Moeen Ali’s dashing fifty all but put the fourth Test beyond SA’s reach as England moved towards a series win at Old Trafford on Sunday.

When rain ended the third day’s play, England were on 224/8 in their second innings — a lead of 360 runs — with Ali unbeaten on 67.

SA already needed to set a new ground record if they were to end this four-match series all square at 2-2 as no side have made more in the fourth innings of a Test at Old Trafford to win than England’s 294/4 against New Zealand in 2008.

Ali made SA pay for Dean Elgar dropping him on 15 when a low slip chance off left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj did not stick.

England were bidding for a first home Test series win over SA since 1998, with Joe Root seeking a victory in his first Test series as England captain.

SA resumed on 220/9 and were soon all out for 226 when Stuart Broad dismissed last man Duanne Olivier.

That gave England a healthy first-innings lead of 136.

Olivier’s exit meant James Anderson, was denied a maiden five-wicket Test innings haul on his Lancashire home ground.

But figures of 4/38 in 17 overs gave Anderson, who had struck four times from the newly named James Anderson End on Saturday, his best innings return at Old Trafford.

In England’s second innings, Morné Morkel removed Alastair Cook (10) and Tom Westley (9), both caught in the gully.

Paceman Olivier, only playing in this match after back injuries ruled out Vernon Philander and Chris Morris, ended the day with fine figures of 3/38, but that was scant consolation to his side.


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