ENRG Sport’s Moments of 2017: Moeen’s astonishing three-ball hat-trick

On a landmark summer’s afternoon at Lords, England needed three wickets from their final three balls to clinch victory over South Africa. It seemed impossible, but not to Moeen Ali. It’s one of English cricket’s most iconic moments. By John Menzies.

My sporting moment of 2017 was one that made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. It was a moment that made me stand up and just think: “Wow, that is incredible!”

The third test of the four-match series between England and South Africa took place at The Kia Oval in central London. It was already a special occasion, with the ground hosting its 100th test match during this game. But it was the remarkable ending to the test that will live long in the memory of supporters and players alike, but it’ll be more special to one player in particular: Moeen Ali.

The Worcestershire all-rounder delivered one of English cricket’s most iconic moments – he took a hat-trick with the final three balls of the match, dismissing Dean Elgar, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel as England won the match by 239 runs. But what made it even more special, was that it was the first hat-trick in test cricket at The Oval, despite having hosted a century of matches. So, it was fitting that the duck was broken on this landmark occasion.

When I was watching the match, there was almost a sense of inevitability of it happening, particularly after Rabada was dismissed. I remember thinking to myself, “he’s gonna do this, isn’t he?” When the ball struck Morkel’s pad, I found myself appealing along with the England team and the crowd. I don’t get that excited when I watch cricket, but it was just one of those moments that was so special. It was sickening when the umpire initially gave the decision not out, but that soon changed when England captain Joe Root referred the decision and it was overturned on ball tracking. The celebrations were amazing, watching the England cricketers hoisting Moeen into the air, patting his head – it was just amazing. What a moment.

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