Ali's 5 gives England long-awaited home series win

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The 30-year-old Ali, an off-spinner and left-handed batsman, became the first man to score more than 250 runs and take 25 wickets in a four Test-match series during England's 3-1 win over the Proteas.

"He is brilliant with my mindset", explained Ali, who ended the match with two wickets in two balls after finishing England's victory in the third Test at The Oval with a hat-trick.

Victory, achieved with more than a day to spare, also saw Joe Root triumphant in his first Test series as England captain.

Victory handed the hosts a 3-1 win in the four-match series and lifted them into third place and above Australia, who they will meet this winter in defence of the Ashes, in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings.

It was England's second successive series win over South Africa after winning in South Africa 18 months ago, but broke a near two-decade drought on English soil.

"We all know how good AB is, and we missed him, but we've spent too much time talking about 'when is AB going to come back?'", said Du Plessis.

"We have got a lot of hard work to do in the future but it was a great series", said Root. "'Alastair Cook said 'make sure we take the team picture first" and then I moved out of the way.

But concerns surrounding England's batting line-up persist, with the likes of Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan all used against the Proteas, with minimal success.

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England under Root were convincing in three of the four tests, with its only wobble coming in a heavy defeat in the second match at Trent Bridge.

He said: "I only found out from you guys - that's the first we'd heard of it".

19 overs into their second innings and England were three down with just 40 runs on the board.

"This series I have felt more consistent with bat and ball, especially ball".

"I think with all these things you look at the positives - someone from the England set-up is being looked at for a higher job somewhere", the Australian added.

He got Amla for 83, with Quinton De Kock and Theunis De Bruyn also departing in a spell of three for five in 11 deliveries for the off-spinner. The Faf du Plessis-led side limped to the close on 220 for 9, still trailing by 142, with Kagiso Rabada's last-ball dismissal summing up their futile situation. Root's side had nonetheless made a credible total and they took that momentum into their display with the ball.

Durham left-hander Keaton Jennings, the latest in that lengthy list, endured a miserable series against his native South Africa, averaging just 15.87 in eight innings. "You often think he's not going to take wickets on the day and then you look up and he's got three or four, he's just brilliant and a real unsafe batter".