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By Julian Guyer
Southampton: Jul 30, 2014
Although his occasional off-spin has been derided in some quarters, the Moeen Ali has now taken 12 wickets in five Tests, including two for 62 on Tuesday, albeit both Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane gave their wickets away. Teammate Stuart Broad hailed Moeen’s performance.
This season England have called up Moeen Ali, primarily a batsman, to replace Graeme Swann. James Anderson and Broad’s workload has increased following the retirement of off-spinner Swann, who quit during England’s 5-0 Ashes debacle in Australia. At his best, Swann gave England both wickets and control, allowing three seamers in a four-man attack to be rotated and not over-bowled.
“Mo is developing every game as a spinner. He picked up two freebies really but I think that was out of the pressure he had developed. He deserved those two wickets,” Broad said.
England came into this match having gone 10 successive Tests without a win, with much of the talk centred on how senior players such as batsmen Alastair Cook and Ian Bell were struggling for runs, while Anderson and Broad had often looked both physically and mentally tired. By contrast, England newcomers such as Sam Robson, Gary Ballance and Moeen Ali had provided the highlights for the hosts during their 1-0 home series defeat by Sri Lanka and at the start of this five-match campaign with India, who are 1-0 up after a 95-run win at Lord’s last time out.
However, the seasoned campaigners have weighed in for England so far in this match, with Bell top-scoring with 167 and Cook making 95.
“In the summer so far there has been a lot of talk about the new guys coming in and the senior men taking responsibility and maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves,” Broad said. “Before this Test, Peter Moores (the England coach) came to a few of us and said just go express yourself, don’t worry about having to take responsibility, just go and play as though it is your first Test, and I think that has shone through.
“Cooky and Belly played fantastically with the bat and Jimmy and I have contributed today with the ball,” explained Broad.
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