Senior players step up at the Ageas Bowl – 04/08/14
England’s first Test win of the summer coincided with a return to form of their two leading batsmen, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell. Plus a first five-wicket return of the summer from their spearhead Jimmy Anderson. He has now opened a 61-point lead at the top of the England FTI MVP Rankings.
Anderson took 5-53 in India’s first innings at the Ageas Bowl to take his wicket tally to 28 from the five Tests this summer at an average of 22.93. His economy rate of 2.61 has helped build pressure on the opposition batsmen, as has the fact, 31.71% of his overs have been maidens. He’s weighed in with the bat, too, with a career best 81 at Trent Bridge. Anderson tops the Test FTI MVP Rankings and is ranked third in the ODI FTI MVP having taken eight Sri Lankan wickets from the five one-dayers with an impressive economy rate of 3.88 runs per over. And with no charges brought against him by the ICC following his altercation with Ravi Jadeja at Trent Bridge, Anderson now heads to his home ground of Old Trafford looking to extend his lead ahead of the Oval and one-day series.
Prior to the Ageas Bowl Test, Bell had gone past fifty only twice this summer and Cook had a top score of 29. Both showed plenty of character as Cook posted scores of 95 and then 70 not out to set up the second innings declaration, and Bell crafted 167 in England’s first. Cook earned a bonus point as winning captain for good measure. Bell is up to seventh, Cook tenth but what the statistics don’t show is the huge support demonstrated by the Ageas Bowl crowd for England’s resilient captain.
Gary Ballance is up to second following his third hundred in five Tests, a career best 156 in England’s first innings. Ballance has racked up 603 runs at a strike rate of 52 runs per 100 balls having chipped in with a couple of 70s in addition to those hundreds.
Perhaps the biggest success story of the Test, though, was Moeen Ali’s 6-67 in India’s second innings. Picked at the beginning of the summer as a batsman/ part-time spinner he has progressed Test on Test to the extent that India’s much-vaunted Batsmen had little answer to his brand of off-breaks. Ali has now taken 18 wickets from the five Tests and scored 259 runs including that unbeaten hundred at Headingley against Sri Lanka. That hundred was the only time he has gone past fifty for England in the Test campaign, perhaps a result of him concentrating most of his efforts on his bowling.
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