Joe Root Takes the Lead in the Test FTI MVP after the Second Ashes Test at Lord’s – 24/07/13
Joe Root has leapt to the top of both the Test FTI MVP and the Ashes MVP and closed within 26 points of Jimmy Anderson in the race for England's Overall FTI MVP after a Man-of-the-Match performance in the second Ashes Test at Lord's. Root scored 180 in England's second innings and then took 2-9 in Australia's second innings to rack up 54 MVP Ranking points, repaying the faith the selectors have shown in him as an opener.
Root has scored 728 runs across both forms played so far this season, 464 coming in Tests at a strike rate of 53 runs per 100 balls. He scored his maiden century at his home ground of Headingley against New Zealand, batting in the middle order, which is where he also bats in one-day cricket. England's selectors made the bold decision to move him to the top of the order alongside Alastair Cook for the Ashes at the expense of Nick Compton – no doubt noting Root's strong start to the season in the opening berth for Yorkshire – and reaped the rewards at Lord's.
Anderson, who took most of the plaudits after Trent Bridge, claimed three wickets at Lord's to take his tally for the Summer to 38 across both forms. He leads the ODI FTI MVP with 16 wickets but has dropped two places to third in the Test FTI MVP. Interestingly, of the 22 Test wickets he has taken this campaign, only ten of them have been top-six batsmen. Graeme Swann, who leads the Test bowling statistics with 23 wickets, has 13 top-six victims which earn a bowler more points under the MVP formula as they are the better batsmen and thus more valuable.
Usually, one would expect Anderson to take many more top order wickets than Swann as he has first crack at them with the new ball. What we've seen this Summer – particularly in the Ashes – is that the dry wickets have seen Swann introduced early and helped Anderson be more productive with reverse swing, which occurs later in an innings. Another factor was that at Trent Bridge, Anderson cleaned up the tail with the second new ball.
Swann has leapt over Anderson to take second spot in the Test FTI MVP. He took nine wickets at Lord's to go with his ten-wicket haul from Headingley against New Zealand (4-42 and 6-90). Swann is third on the all-time points-scorers list behind Broad and Anderson, and second on the Test points-scorers list behind Anderson.
Ian Bell has been a key performer in both Ashes Tests, scoring a hundred in each to wrestle the initiative back in England's favour just as it seemed Australia were getting a foothold in the game. Bell has scored 390 runs in Tests this Summer, 317 of which have come in the Ashes. By way of contrast, Root, who had a more productive series against New Zealand, has 464 runs in Tests, 221 of which have come in the Ashes. Bell, last year's winner of the overall FTI MVP, is ranked sixth Overall, fifth in the Test FTI MVP and fourth in the Ashes MVP.
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