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Summary

  1. Moeen hits 67 off 59 balls to swing momentum
  2. Root made 49 but failures for out-of-form Jennings & Malan
  3. SA 226: Bavuma 46, Anderson 4-38
  4. England 362: Bairstow 99, Stokes 58

Live Reporting

By Amy Lofthouse

All times stated are UK

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That's us done for the day. We'll be back at 10:30 BST sharp for the fourth day's play.

I'll leave you with what was, undoubtedly, the best moment of the day. In a bit!

'We believe we can do it'

Duanne Olivier speaking to Sky Sports: "If we can bowl them out for 380, 390 to chase, I still believe it's possible. The wicket is difficult and the conditions are suited to bowling but we still believe we can do it. We've done it in the past - why can't we do it now?

"I'm very happy with my bowling and contributing towards the team. Our goal is to level the series. I started pretty well but I feel like I let ti slip, and maybe got a bit greedy, when Moeen and Roland-Jones were batting."

Graeme Swann

Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

I think Liam Dawson has had his time now. Adil Rashid doesn't like bowling with the red ball, he's not comfortable. His card has been marked by someone in the coaching team. Mason Crane is worth a punt for the Ashes.

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Ben Dunbar: Looking at the weather forecast for Tuesday, South Africa have one day to get the runs to draw the series. Not happening.

Graeme Swann

Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

Calls for Ian Bell to return? I don't think he will. His big chance was the first few games of the season and to score runs then. You've got to look at why players aren't picked, because someone at the top doesn't rate them. Personally, I think he is one of the best players ever, but by the end he just wasn't scoring heavily enough. I just can't see it.

Woakes takes two on return

Elsewhere, Chris Woakes made his return to county cricket today after a lengthy lay-off with a side injury.

After Warwickshire were bowled out for 126 against Middlesex, Woakes has taken 2-46, including dismissing opener Sam Robson, with Middlesex on 125-6.

You can follow that game, and the rest of today's county matches, over on our live page.

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I can't help but think that when Woakes is back, just drop Malan and move Stokes, Bairstow and Ali up one. Still bat to nine (not including Broad) and then we can stop experimenting with new batsmen, at least at five anyway.

Alex in Coventry

Phil Tufnell

Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

You have two schools of thought as a batsman when you're looking at the rough out there. Either you just poke it, and get out, or you have to take the onus to the left-arm spinner. And Moeen did that beautifully.

Graeme Swann

Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

I think if the rain hadn't come then England would have got bowled out. In all honesty, they should have been bowled out half an hour ago. In my opinion, they've put themselves in a position where they can't lose this match. Even 250 is enough on this wicket.

Close of play

And that, folks, is that. Play has been called off for the day. England will begin tomorrow with a 360-run lead and two wickets in hand.

If you're looking for some rain delay entertainment, you can get your questions in to Tuffers and Swanny, using the hashtag #askspintwins.

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Professor Dingo: The Old Trafford crowd know that Moeen just secured the series win for England.

George Causer: Few things more enjoyable than watching Moeen Ali playing cricket, such an elegant batsman.

Graeme Swann

Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

I love it when you have an aggressive man coming down the order who is capable of playing such shots. We used to have Andy Caddick playing in that position back in the day, now we have Moeen Ali.

It's still raining...

Hmm. The big covers are out on the wicket, along with the hover cover, and the majority have left the stands to find some more shelter. It's murky up above, too.

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Lewis Meagor: Having Ali at 8 in this team is a god send. Such valuable runs, don't move him. Unsung hero.

Tom Scarborough: Opening requires specific skills and Moeen does not possess them. Leave him to score runs late down the order. Gorgeous batsman!

We all want to watch some more Moeen, don't we? Here's a choice selection of shots.

Phil Tufnell

Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

Moeen is becoming very good at a floating seven or eight, coming in at times when England are in under a little bit of pressure.

Moeen is applauded off the field by the crowd and his team-mates as the first spots of rain start to hit the camera lens. He gets a pat on the back from Paul Farbrace and Trevor Bayliss as he enters the dressing room.

Rain stops play - Eng 224-8

Lead by 360

There's a collective sigh of delight around Old Trafford as Moeen crashes Kagiso Rabada back over his head for four. Rabada leapt in an attempt to get a hand to it but it went so quickly, and so powerfully, that he ended up groping at fresh air. Oh, suddenly everyone's marching off - the rain has arrived. Boo!

Here is the shot that took Moeen to 50 - and the sterling catch from Jonny Bairstow up on the England balcony.

Eng 219-8

Lead by 355

Oh, Moeen! A little shimmy down the wicket, he frees his arms and the ball goes crashing into the stands for another big six. He is magnificent to watch. Maharaj, a bit miffed at being hit for three sixes, spears in a flatter delivery and Moeen sweeps it, a little dangerously, for a single. Broad, giant arm guard in place, misses a sweep but sees out the over.

Moeen Ali
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Bill Bows: For all the praise rightly heaped on Stokes, Moeen is now a fearsome all-rounder & may just give England the edge this winter.

Scott Lennon: Heading down for day 4 from Glasgow tomorrow. Looking like it's going to be set up brilliantly!

Eng 210-8

Lead by 348

Width from Rabada, and Moeen obliges with an elegant crack of a drive that brings about a single. That brings new man Stuart Broad on strike, and he gets a bouncer up at his neck to say hello.

Phil Tufnell

Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

Maharaj has had to run back and he's has taken a fine catch over his shoulder. I think this is the best ploy by England, to come out and just give it a go. Have a bit of a swing and then get bowling.

WICKET

Roland-Jones c Maharaj b Rabada 11 (Eng 211-8)

That's a magnificent catch from Keshav Maharaj! Another short ball from Kagiso Rabada hurried Roland-Jones, who swung into a pull shot, and the top edge went ballooning up into the air. Maharaj, running backwards at mid-wicket, had to work really hard to keep his eye on the ball and then take a catch behind him.

Eng 211-7

I like Moeen in this position. I think he has the licence to play these gorgeous shots, and when England opened with him last time, I thought he went into his shell a little, and those shots that are so powerful now ended up getting him out. Let me know if you agree or disagree, but I think these runs are so valuable down the order for England, that it'd be a shame to change it up. Rabada goes too wide, and is signaled as such, before a square drive adds another single to the total.

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Gareth Thompson: Surely Moeen should open alongside Cook? Would create room for Woakes when he is fit.

Eng 200-7

Moeen takes a single and lets Toby Roland-Jones block out the rest of the over. Lovely stuff from the all-rounder.

Moeen
Reuters

50 for Moeen

Eng 206-7

That's HUGE! Oh, what a way to bring up your half-century! Moeen comes dancing down the pitch and thrashes Maharaj straight back down the ground for a gloriously languid six. In fact, that's gone towards the Engladn dressing room, where Jonny Bairstow takes a cracking catch on the balcony! Moeen grins and then raises his bat in acknowledgement of his half-century.

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Jim: Moeen stat (200 runs & 20 wickets) even more impressive given it's only a four-Test series.

Eng 200-7

Lead by 336

That drop brings Moeen on strike, and he digs out a yorker, before hoicking a short ball away to the boundary. That brings up 200 for England.

Roland-Jones dropped on 11

Eng 195-7

That's an unbelievable effort from Faf du Plessis! Roland-Jones got tucked up by a Rabada short ball, Du Plessis was running back from slip, dived, somehow manged to get a hand to the ball, but then came crashing to the ground and the ball popped out of his hand. That was a stunning, stunning effort, Du Plessis leaping like a salmon and shoving his hand out behind him. He's done himself a bit of a mischief on that shoulder but after a consult with the physio, he returns to the slips, and the Old Trafford crowd applaud accordingly.

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

Moeen just throws the bat it. That's how they should play. The openers should get you in a position so the middle order can do the damage, like this.

Eng 194-7

Lead by 330

I'm off to suggest that to my boss, Jay. Moeen plants a foot down the wicket and gets down low to hoick yet another boundary, this time over cover. And there he goes! A shimmy down the wicket, a hearty swing of the arms, and Moeen swings Maharaj high over cow corner and into the stands! Six! He backed himself completely there, with so much power behind the shot. Moeen promptly blocks out the rest of the over, and he gets a round of applause from the Old Trafford crowd for his troubles.

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Jay: Amy, I hope you get cult hero status (and a solid bonus) for that anti-rain dance. It seems to have done the trick

Eng 184-7

Rabada 13-4-21-1

That's that song firmly stuck in my head. The man in question, Kagiso Rabada, will continue, and Roland-Jones goes for an uppish drive that trickles out to De Bruyn at point. Roland-Jones ducks under a wild bouncer from Rabada, the ball going diagonally across the batsman, and he digs out a yorker to end the over.

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James Menzies: I can't stop singing: 'If you like Kagiso Rabada, and getting caught in the slips...'

Eng 183-7

Lead by 319

Vettori is my all-time favourite, but I'd back Moeen to go past that record. Moeen's a more natural batsman than the former Black Caps skipper, in my eyes. Shot! That's glorious from Moeen again, reverse-sweeping, and the ball bursts through Dean Elgar's hands at slips and away for four! That's, er, not quite so good from Moeen. Maharaj bowls a shorter delivery and Moeen, going for the sweep again, whips the ball up into his arms, then onto his gloves. The ball comes perilously close to crashing into the stumps and Quinton De Kock, scrambling behind the stumps, can't get a paw to it.

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Is Moeen Ali the best number 8 of all time? I can't think of anyone better?

Adnaan Haq

How about Daniel Vettori, Adnaan? He scored 2,227 runs at number eight at an average of 39.76. That includes four hundreds.

Daniel Vettori
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Eng 179-7

Roland-Jones 10, Moeen 25

What a stat that is. This has been a real defining series for Moeen, I think. On the subject of Moeen, this stunning piece by Donald McRae on the man is well worth a read. Kagiso Rabada is back and has a half-shout against Toby Roland-Jones, before the Middlesex man misses a shot and gets cut in half by a straight delivery from Rabada. In fact, that was really close to the stumps, just missing the bails by a whisker. Maiden.

Moeen Ali
Reuters