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England captain tops the Rankings following victory in Galle.
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England captain Joe Root has moved top of the PCA Test Most Valuable Player Rankings after making his fourth career Test double century during his side’s seven-wicket victory in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
Root, appearing in the first of England’s 17 scheduled Tests in 2021, made a sublime 228 in England’s first innings before an unfortunate run out whilst on one in the second, earning him 42.3 MVP points for the match as well as the Player of the Match award.
The Yorkshireman’s mammoth knock accounted for 54% of his team’s first innings total of 421, earning Root bonus points for scoring a high proportion of his team’s runs.
Root’s excellent strike rate of 71 also earned him bonus points for accumulating his runs quickly, and he also accrued a single MVP point for captaining his side to victory in the first fixture of the two-match Test series.
Unlike most player ranking metrics, the PCA MVP takes into account match-winning contributions such as those outlined above on top of traditional batting and bowling averages, giving the clearest picture of the top performers in the game.
Behind Root, off-spinner Dom Bess currently occupies second position in Test MVP with 34.4 MVP points to his name.
The young bowler took career best Test bowling figures of 5-30 – his second five-wicket haul in Tests – as England skittled Sri Lanka for just 135 during a stunning day one performance in Galle.
Bess then backed that up with another 3-100 in the second innings, finishing with match figures of 8-130 and an impressive MVP points haul after the first Test of England’s marathon tour of the subcontinent, which will see them go on to compete in four Test matches against India.
For much of this fixture, Bess bowled in tandem with former Somerset teammate and fellow spin bowler Jack Leach.
Playing in his first Test since 2019, the left armer bowled with excellent control to return match figures of 6-177 and occupy third position in the Test MVP with 27.9 MVP points.
Though the dry, dusty Sri Lankan conditions usually favour spin bowlers such as Bess and Leach, the evergreen Stuart Broad again showed why he is one of England’s greatest performers in the Test format.
The seam bowler produced an outstanding performance on the first morning to claim 3-20 at an economy rate of just 2.22 runs per over, before charging in tirelessly in the second innings to return figures of 0-14 from his 17 overs, which included 11 maidens.
Broad therefore currently occupies fourth position in the Test MVP with 17 points, as he aims to defend the Test MVP crown he earned during home Tests against the West Indies and Pakistan during the 2020 summer.
After Root, the next highest-ranked batsman in the Test MVP is the returning Jonny Bairstow, who made 82 runs in the match to claim 15.9 points, whilst wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is sixth with 14.7 after claiming his first career Test stumping in Sri Lanka’s second innings.
Debutante Dan Lawrence was the only England player to join Root in passing 50 as he made an assured 73 in tough, spinning conditions during the first innings.
Lawrence, who also made 21 not out in England’s dramatic but ultimately comfortable second innings chase of 74, accrued 14.4 MVP points to move seventh in the Test MVP, as he aims to retain his spot in the middle order ahead of the second Test Match starting this week.
Looking forward to that fixture, England are set to respond to the quick turnaround by rotating the squad and the bowling attack in particular.
All-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson is likely to make a return in place of Broad, whilst both Saqib Mahmood and Olly Stone are in with a chance of replacing Mark Wood to provide genuine pace in the attack.
It remains to be seen whether Moeen Ali, who returned a positive Covid-19 test upon arrival in Sri Lanka, will come in for Bess, Leach or Sam Curran, whilst the spinning trio of Mason Crane, Matt Parkinson and Amar Virdi will be hoping to be given the opportunity to help England secure a 2-0 series whitewash in Sri Lanka.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.