Moeen Ali confirms Test retirement after playing decisive role in England win

Moeen Ali confirmed his red-ball retirement after he played a decisive role in England’s victory in the final Ashes Test and joked he would delete any of Ben Stokes’ text messages in future.

Moeen claimed three for 76 on a dramatic fifth day at the Kia Oval to help inspire a 49-run victory over Australia that ensured the series finished level at 2-2.

The all-rounder had been in red-ball retirement before Stokes memorably texted him, ‘Ashes?’ upon the news England’s frontline spinner Jack Leach had been ruled out of the series before a ball had been bowled on June 6.

Doubts lingered for the 36-year-old after he struggled during his previous encounters with Australia, but he answered the SOS call and was thrilled to play his part in a remarkable seven weeks of cricket in this country.

“I know I am done. If Stokesy messages me again, I’m going to delete it! But, no that’s me done.

“I think I really have enjoyed it and it’s great to finish like that,” Moeen told Sky Sports.

Moeen Ali (right) celebrates the wicket of Australia’s Mitchell Marsh

Moeen claimed three for 76 on a dramatic fifth day at the Kia Oval (John Walton/PA)

While there had been no official announcement about Moeen’s plans to go back into Test retirement ahead of the Kia Oval clash, he was open throughout the whole summer about the Ashes being the only series that could tempt him to put England whites back on.

Captain Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum have often spoken about creating a pressure-free environment where players can express themselves.

And Moeen told BBC’s Test Match Special: “To come back was obviously a little bit daunting because I’ve never played that well against Australia.

“It was one of those things when Stokesy asked me I thought, ‘Why not, I’m going to go into a brilliant side and I still believe I can do alright’ and it’s just great to be back part of this amazing team.

“I’m so glad I came back and said yes. Just from the first day I came back into the changing room with Baz and Stokesy and to play again with (Stuart) Broad and Jimmy (Anderson) and (Mark) Woody, it’s been amazing and I’m chuffed that I can finish with a win against Australia with a bit of a helping hand.

“They brought the best out of me but I am not complaining. I’ve had a good run and I have really enjoyed playing Test cricket with England and representing everyone in this country. It’s been amazing.”

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