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England’s heroes of their win at Durban © Getty Images

England would be mighty pleased after beating South Africa in the first Test at Durban by 241 runs. It was an all-round performance from England as they outplayed South Africa in almost all departments. England, who came into the series after being mauled by Pakistan in Tests in United Arab Emirates (UAE), would have been skeptical about few of the members in the squad who were going through a lean patch. English team will be on a high going into the New Year, celebrating with much joyfulness as they embark on a quest to beat South Africa in the second Test as well, starting on second day of the Year. Vishal Mehra, takes enthusiastic look at the top five performances in the English troupe in the recently-concluded first Test. Full Cricket Scorecard: South Africa vs England, 1st Test at Durban, 2015-16

1. Moeen Ali: Moeen Ali, who as was adjudged Man of Match as he ruined hopes for South Africa coming into the Day Five. Moeen, picking AB de Villiers in the very first over changed the game, and tilted odds clearly in the tourists’ favour. Ali struck again picking Temba Bevuma for a duck, getting him stumped on a straight one and followed these two wickets by snaffling Kyle Abbott for 2. In the first innings, Moeen returned with the figures of 4 for 69, dismantling the South African lower middle order. Moeen had match figures of 7 for 116, most importantly having the dangerous De Villiers in the list of batsmen dismissed in the game. READ ALSO : Moeen Ali spins England to comprehensive victory against South Africa in 1st Test at Durban by 241 runs

2. Stuart Broad: Stuart Broad‘s blazing spell with the ball, and a raging batting display late into the English first innings played a pivotal part in the team’s victory. Broad, who dug in deep and faced the wrath of Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn bowling at express pace on Day Two, made a 33-ball 32 as England managed 303. Broad was high on confidence and started with the new ball, striking in the very first over of the South Africa innings, picking up Stiaan Van Zyl for two-ball duck. Broad then dismissed the South African skipper Hashim Amla for 7. Broad ended by being the difference between England and South Africa as he capped a good spell, picketing AB de Villiers for 49 in the first innings. Broad finishes the year 2015 with 56 Test wickets at an average of 23.82. ALSO READ: Stuart Broad: The batting and bowling marvel for England

3.  Nick Compton: Much like his grandfather Dennis Compton, Nick made a half-century debut against the African nation at Durban. Compton hit rock-solid 85 in the first innings versus South Africa in the first innings, which proved detrimental for the hosts. Compton faced 236 balls before missing out on a well-deserved century. Compton, in the second innings, helped his team put up a colossal target of 416 runs for South Africa to win. Compton missed out a half-century, as he edged one while batting at 49. Compton did manage to outdo his grandfather, who scored 72, 28.

4.  Joe Root: The No. 2 batsmen in the world just had to feature in the list, with his second innings score being 73. Root, who is having a remarkable year, hit his 13th half-century and helped England build a 415-run lead. With this half-century, he also equalled Virender Sehwag’s record of scoring 13 scores of 50 plus scores. In both the outings, Root scored at a strike rate in excess of 50, and even hit a six. The Englishman has made 1,372 runs at 62.36 in 2015, overtaking Alastair Cook as England’s top run-scorer this year. ALSO READ: James Taylor: England’s new crisis man

5.  Steven FinnOn his return to Test cricket after missing the tour of UAE for the series against Pakistan, Finn managed to turn the tide completely in England’s favour. In a brutish spell, Finn l severed South Africa’s chance of a significant win chasing 416 at Durban. He first grabbed captain Hashim Amla, for just 12 runs to handicap the South African chase. Finn accounted for Dean Elgar, the lone ranger for South Africa in first innings, who remained not out on 118. The final blow came in the final over of Day Four as Finn had the final laugh, knocking Faf Du Plessis out of his misery making 9 runs off 109 balls. Finn also got Dale Steyn on the final day to cap off well deserved figures of 4 for 42. His match figures were 6 for 91.

As the second Test already dawns upon us, it fits well for England to have a battery of players in bright form, with Moeen, Broad, Compton, Root and Finn looking great. South Africa might still be the No.1 Test side but England have proved why they are a dangerous unit in these conditions. James Anderson’s return will further boost the English side and don’t be surprised if the Cape Town Test turns out to be another one sided affair.

(Vishal Mehra is a reporter at CricketCountry, who enjoys his weekly dose of anime, and plays cricket once a white moon. His twitter handle is @vishal_oxyjinn)