Moeen Ali completed the first ever Test hat-trick at The Oval as England secured a 238-run victory over South Africa to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series. The Worcestershire all-rounder dismissed Dean Elgar, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel to underline a fine display from the hosts which sees them re-take the lead in a seesaw summer.
Toby Roland-Jones earlier took two wickets in as many balls to put Joe Root's side on the brink of victory, before Ali had Chris Morris caught in the slips by Ben Stokes. Opener Elgar led the resistance with a brilliant century but it was not enough as Ali produced the first hat-trick by an England spinner since 1938.
Victory ensures England retain the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy and head into the fourth Test at Old Trafford which starts on Friday [4 August] with the chance of winning the series outright. For South Africa, their miserable tour continues but they can still level the series this week.
"What a way to celebrate the 100th Test and this ground. It's been a great week for us," said captain Joe Root, whose side lost by 340 runs at Trent Bridge in the second Test. "The way we batted first innings was very important, found a good tempo and it's a benchmark for us. Was a challenging wicket which got better as the game went on. We always felt we were ahead of the game from there. [Alastair's] innings was cruical, we could have been five/six down. That's why he's scored so many runs. At no point have we made excuses, always looking to improve, and most pleasing thing is we've responded."
South Africa resumed with little hope of chasing down a world-record 492 to win having lost four second innings wickets on day four, and were purely in survival mode on the fifth morning of the 100th test at The Oval. It took 12 overs for the floodgates to open with Roland-Jones capping off a wonderful debut with two strikes in an over.
Temba Bavuma  was given out lbw after a review and Vernon Philander  followed the very next ball after failing to play a shot to another in-swinger from the right-arm bowler. Elgar reacted by swatting Ali down the ground to bring up his eighth Test century but the tourists were unable to restrict the damage as Morris  edged to Stokes to give Ali his first on the brink of lunch.
England needed 11 overs after the interval to wrap up the win all thanks to the brilliance of Ali. Elgar  and Rabada  edged behind before Ali struck again to dismiss Morkel - who was originally given not out before the decision was overturned via a review - to aptly cap off a fine return to form.