Stokes eyes Oval big finish for England as South Africa lose Van der Dussen

·3-min read

Captain Ben Stokes believes England have got their mojo back after mauling South Africa at Old Trafford.

His reign as skipper and Brendon McCullum's time as coach began in dazzling fashion with a 3-0 series sweep against New Zealand in June, followed by victory over India at Edgbaston.

Yet England were rocked by a Lord's thumping by South Africa last week, when the Proteas pacemen showed they had the skills to counter the home side's attacking approach.

That match was over inside three days, but so was the rematch in Manchester as England took their revenge, Stokes and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes hitting first-innings centuries to pave the way for victory by an innings and 85 runs.

James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson and Stokes himself impressed with the ball as England's attack outshone the tourists' pace squadron, halting South Africa's four-match Test winning streak.

This was an England display that Stokes described as "amazing", and he wants more of the same in the decider at The Oval, starting on September 8.

He told Sky Sports at the post-match presentation: "To come back from disappointment at Lord's and to put in the performance we have this week, it's given us a lot of confidence back and sets the series up nicely for the last game at The Oval."

Stokes was named player of the match after his 103 with the bat and match bowling figures of 4-47, but the all-rounder felt there was a more worthy recipient: Foakes.

"He should be the one up here receiving this award," Stokes said. "The innings that he played and the way he kept this whole game, and through the whole summer, has just been incredible.

"He took seven dismissals as a keeper, but how tidy he is behind the stumps is a massive plus as a team. It's great as a bowler knowing you've got him there, and as a captain as well."

England have now lost only one of their 10 men's Tests against South Africa at Old Trafford (W5, D4), with exception being a three-wicket loss in July 1955.

Stokes said the recalled Robinson showed he was "a quality, quality bowler", and he suggested England's positivity, seemingly back in plentiful supply, should continue to serve them well.

"This is another progression for us," Stokes said. "When you have that clear mindset and that intent to go out and score, it can make things a lot easier."

It was a tough day for South Africa and their captain Dean Elgar, who will be without batter Rassie van der Dussen for the series decider because of a broken left index finger.

Elgar said: "I think there's a lot of learnings out of this. I always try and see a positive even though the result didn't go our way.

"We've got quite a few days before the next Test so I'm sure we're going to go back to the drawing board."

Elgar said luck had been on England's side at times in the contest, and now South Africa will head to London without Van der Dussen at their disposal.

The 33-year-old Van der Dussen made an obdurate 41 to defy England during the afternoon on Saturday, but once Stokes removed him to leave South Africa on 141-4, it was downhill all the way to 179 all out.

"From what I've heard he's obviously got a fracture in his finger," Elgar said. "I'm not a medical doctor, but I do think he's going to be ruled out of this series, which is extremely unfortunate, especially with the way he played today."

That assumption was confirmed by Cricket South Africa, a sore ending to a rough day for the tourists.