England captain Joe Root lauded off-spinner Moeen Ali’s match-winning effort of nine wickets terming his performance in the 60-run win as the best ever for the national team.
Having taken 5 for 63 in the first innings, Moeen took 4 for 71 in the second essay including wickets of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane to decisively tilt it in favour of England.
“Today was probably the best I have seen him (Moeen) bowl in an England shirt. Such a testament to how he’s gone about things. That strength and depth of the squad really excites me. When you’re in the form he’s in, it’s a nice luxury to have (about playing him at three),” Root said after the match.
He also praised young Sam Curran, who has turned out to be a real find for England, according to rival captain Virat Kohli.
“For a young guy (Curran) to have such an influence is outstanding. Credit to the group, they were outstanding throughout. From being up against it on the first morning, character has been a massive strength of this team. Then the skill level to back it up has been phenomenal.
“For the seamers, it was about hitting the surface as hard as possible and for spinners it was about being as aggressive as possible. Keep the catchers in and trust that there would be one ball that would turn the game around. The way we went about how to approach the day’s play was outstanding.”
Man of the match Moeen said that he missed the time that he was away from the squad.
“It was great to be back. I have missed Test cricket a lot. Needed a break. Just to appreciate everything in general. To enjoy my cricket again. When I was watching the guys at home, I missed it. Great to come back and contribute to winning a game. Playing in England for a while now, back myself a bit more.”
Moeen came back after a good all-round show in county cricket including double hundred and a few wickets.
“Got more confidence from county cricket. Done a lot of hard work with Saqlain (spin consultant Saqlain Mushtaq). Feel like I’m getting better as a spinner everyday. When they were about eight down, Root asked me if I fancied it (batting at three). Did enjoy the 15 balls I faced. If I do bat there again, I need to tighten up. Something I’m not thinking much about.”