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Fast bowler impresses on debut to give side Ashes hope.
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England’s express pace bowler Jofra Archer lived up to the hype on Test debut as he inspired his side to gain a foothold in the 2019 Specsavers Ashes series, whilst also making an impact on the PCA’s England Most Valuable Player Rankings.
Archer was hugely impressive during England’s successful ICC World Cup campaign, finishing the tournament as the team’s top wicket-taker with 20 at 23.05. Unfortunate to miss the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston with a side strain, the 24-year-old came into the side at Lord’s to give the England fans exactly what they were waiting for.
Match figures of 5-91 belied a game-changing performance from the Barbados-born man, the highlight of which was a thrilling marathon spell on Saturday afternoon which turned the game on its head.
Touching speeds of 96.1mph, Archer gave Australia’s Steve Smith a thorough working over before eventually delivering a crushing blow to the neck which caused the batsman to first retire hurt, then retire from the Test match altogether overnight.
Given that the Australian is averaging 126 in the series, the full impact of Archer’s spell to Smith could still be seen in the coming weeks.
Archer’s 23.56 MVP points in the game move him up to ninth in the Test MVP after just one appearance, and he remains just outside the top five in the Overall Ranking following his impressive World Cup.
Whilst Archer thrilled on debut, England’s other highlight in the match came from one of the side’s most seasoned campaigners.
Ben Stokes has always been destined for great things since he made a battling 120 at the WACA in his maiden Test series. Here, he made a fluent 115 from just 165 balls to well and truly take the game out of Australia’s reach after day five had begun with the match evenly poised.
The innings brought back memories of the all-rounders heroic 84 not out in the World Cup final at the same ground just over a month ago, as Stokes posted 45% of his side’s score at a rapid strike rate of 70 this time around.
The 28-year-old’s brilliant knock saw him take home the MVP award for the game, whilst moving up to third in the Overall MVP at the expense of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, and third in the Test Ranking above Rory Burns.
Stuart Broad, the most experienced player in the side, remains top of the Test MVP, having performed well in each of England’s three red ball fixtures this summer.
On the back of match figures of 7-79 and 6-177 in games against Ireland and Australia respectively, Broad took 4-65 in the first innings at Lord’s, all of them key wickets in David Warner, Travis Head, Matthew Wade and Pat Cummins.
The MVP formula was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to reward match-winning performances. On top of traditional batting and bowling averages, bonus points are awarded, as in Broad’s case, for taking top order opposition wickets.
Players will also benefit from hitting a high proportion of their team’s runs, scoring quickly and taking catches in the field, amongst other important disciplines.
Whilst broad tops of the Test MVP, Chris Woakes remains way out in front in the Overall Ranking.
Only Test skipper Joe Root has made more appearances for England this summer than Woakes’ 18, but the seam bowling all-rounder averages the most points-per-game (14.28) of any player to have made at least five outings.
He sits top, 46 MVP points clear of Root in second, and remains the favourite to take home the coveted individual prize at the end of the 2019 season.
With the 2019 Ashes back in the balance, every member of the England squad will be striving to move up the MVP as aim to bring the urn home.
View the England Men’s Test MVP Rankings here.
View the England Men’s Overall MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.