Watch: Moeen Ali invents new cricket shot – the one-handed switch-swat

Moeen Ali tries to swat the ball one-handed - Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Moeen Ali tries to swat the ball one-handed - Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Moeen Ali provided a moment of high farce in an England innings of high drama by trying – and spectacularly failing – to introduce a new shot to cricket’s lexicon: the one-handed switch-swat.

Moeen came to the crease with England looking to accelerate the scoring in the final 10 overs, after centurions Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler led a recovery from 14 for three.

The left-hander had 12 from eight balls and was facing the wrist-spin of Tabraiz Shamsi when he attempted an audacious innovation. From over the wicket, Shamsi bowled outside Moeen’s off-stump, but he switched his position, held the bat in his right hand and looked to swat it – like a top-spin forehand – through backward point.

The only trouble was that he missed. Perhaps Moeen used just one hand in a bid to get more elevation on the ball, but it meant he lost all shape and control in the shot.

Unlike many of England’s white-ball players who have an array of deft sweeps, Moeen’s strengths are more traditional, hence why South Africa’s field allowed him opportunities to score in the backward point area.

The next ball, Moeen returned to what he knows better, and laucnched Shamsi down the ground for six. That was the first of four sixes in his innings, all of them between long-on and midwicket in an innings of 41 from 23 balls. The innings ended in strange fashion, too, as he was bowled off successive deliveries – the first of them a free hit – off Lungi Ngidi.

Ngidi had been a thorn in England’s side at the start of the innings, picking up Jason Roy, Ben Duckett and Harry Brook in successive overs. That left England requiring a desperate recovery, with Malan and Buttler sharing an extraordinary stand of 232 from 211 balls. As England slogged late on, they finished with 346 for seven: a very good score as they looked to avert a whitewash.