Moeen Ali walks off the pitch with a memento after helping England to a comprehensive win over South Africa. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

LONDON - Hat-trick hero Moeen Ali was thrilled to secure England’s win over South Africa in style, saying he knew it was the right decision to review his lbw appeal for the final wicket.

Moeen’s treble was the first by an England spinner for nearly 80 years and ensured England took a 2-1 lead into the final Test at Old Trafford on Friday. He removed opener Dean Elgar for 136 and tail-ender Kagiso Rabada, before taking the wicket of No 11 Morne Morkel via a Hawk-Eye appeal.

"I was pretty confident it was out. I knew it was hitting the stumps. I’ve scored a few hat-tricks in our warm-up games of football, but this is a better feeling. It’s my first in any sort of cricket," he said.

He had to wait an over between the dismissals of Rabada and Morkel, and took the chance to listen to advice from Stuart Broad, who had taken England’s last two Test hat-tricks, against Sri Lanka in 2014 and India in 2011.

"Broady said it was the best chance you’ll ever get, Morkel a left-hander at No 11," he said. "I just tried to keep it straight."

Moeen was also the third man to find himself on a hat-trick in South Africa’s second innings, after Ben Stokes and Toby Roland-Jones. 

"I told Toby and Stokesy, 'Next time just try to hit the stumps'," he joked.

England have insisted Moeen is not their No 1 spinner, despite the fact he is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 18.

Turning to him during the close-of-play press conference, captain Joe Root said: "You quite like having that feeling of having less pressure on you.

"This should give him confidence when we need to take wickets in the fourth innings of a Test."

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