Stokes Delivers Outstanding Ashes Performance Despite England’s Loss – 17/12/13
Australia needed just 14 days of cricket to regain the Ashes after completely outplaying an out-of-sorts England, who were simply unable to hit the heights they reached three years ago on their last tour of Australia.
That trip, under Andrew Strauss, was characterised by the broad blade of Alastair Cook as he amassed 766 runs, the swing of Jimmy Anderson, who took 24 wickets and the miserly off-spin of Graeme Swann, who took 15 wickets and conceded runs at just 2.72 runs per over. Kevin Pietersen was at his flamboyant best in Adelaide and Matt Prior thrashed late-order cameos at the rate of 78 runs per 100 balls.
That, of course, seems like an age ago as Australia has nullified England’s major players by producing a positive and aggressive brand of cricket. Starting with the rate of scoring; Australia scored 2,152 runs for the loss of 45 wickets at the rate of 3.72 runs per over. They hit 230 fours and 36 maximums and have gone after Swann in particular, who conceded runs at 3.94 runs per over. His seven wickets have come at 80 apiece.
England have scored 1,403 runs for 60 wickets at just 2.83 runs per over, with 164 fours and 11 sixes. In the first innings – where their best effort was the 251 this week in Perth – they managed 559 runs for 30 wickets at 2.67 runs per over. Cook scored 154 runs at a strike rate of 39 runs per 100 balls, with a brace of fifties. Ian Bell is the other batsman to pass fifty twice, scoring 190 runs at 51 runs per 100 balls, which is the same strike rate as Pietersen. In the 2010-11 season, Pietersen scored at a rate of 64 runs per 100 balls, Cook 53 and Bell 56.
Meanwhile, Joe Root, has 153 runs at 32 runs per 100 balls – a slower rate of scoring than Nick Compton’s 36 runs per 100 balls against a combination of India and New Zealand in last Winter’s FTI MVP campaign.
The shining success from Perth was Ben Stokes, who scored his maiden Test century. He contributed 34% of England’s total of 353, taking 195 balls in compiling a brilliant 120. He has now scored 167 runs and taken five wickets, climbing to second in the England Winter FTI MVP behind Stuart Broad.
Stokes’ rise to prominence should be of no surprise to followers of the FTI MVP Rankings as he has been steadily climbing the County Rankings over the last couple of years. Last Summer, he placed sixth in the Overall FTI MVP, his highest-ever finish, having come 11th in 2012. He placed 92nd in 2011, a remarkable achievement given he missed nearly three months with a serious thumb injury. He had set the early pace that year, returning 6-68 against Hampshire before smashing 135 off 145 balls, which included five sixes in one over. He scored 185 against Lancashire at the Riverside, but wrecked his season attempting a caught and bowled in the same match.The good news for England is that despite a humbling Ashes loss, they might have unearthed a potentially world-class allrounder.
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