Du Plessis admires victorious England's all-round depth

After Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow starred for England, Faf du Plessis said: "They've got so much balance in their side."

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis   -  Getty Images

Faf du Plessis highlighted the value of England's all-rounders after South Africa was condemned to a 3-1 series defeat courtesy of a 177-run loss in the fourth and final Test at Old Trafford.

Match Report

Moeen Ali was named man of the match and the host's player of the series, having followed up his valuable unbeaten 75 in England's second innings by taking 5-69 as South Africa collapsed from 163-3 to 202 all out in pursuit of 380.

In addition to Moeen, who ended the series with 252 runs and 25 wickets, Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow also shone across two disciplines for Joe Root's side.

"The great thing for their team is they've almost got an extra player every time they can pick from," said South Africa captain Du Plessis in the post-match presentation.

"They've got so much balance in their side, with all the all-rounders. And a real threat they have as a team is the fact that there's always one guy that comes in and almost blows the game away from you. That's their real strength.

"They are very, very fortunate with all the all-rounders they have in their team."

Du Plessis graciously acknowledged England as worthy winners, with South Africa well beaten in three Tests either side of the Proteas' thumping victory at Trent Bridge.

"Consistently, they were the better team, so well done to them," Du Plessis added.

"It's been a tough time for us. I thought at times we showed some real good fight, but consistently England were just coming up with answers all the time.

"The quality of the English bowling attack was superb in this series - they were relentless. As a batting unit, we never really felt we could get on top of them. And there were a few crucial opportunities and catches that we just didn't take."

England skipper Root was able to reflect positively on his first Test series as captain, labelling it "a great start".

"I'm really pleased with the way this series has gone," said Root, who acknowledged England were put under pressure as Du Plessis and Hashim Amla shared a third-wicket stand of 123 prior to South Africa's collapse.

"The way we've played over these last two games in particular, we've looked very dangerous. When you've got match-winners within your side like we have in that middle order, with bat and ball, it's a great luxury to have."

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