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Leach pips fellow spinners to top spot
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There was very little to split England’s three spinners after a remarkable Test series saw them finish first, second and third in the Test PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings.
England finished the series as 3-0 winners completing their first ever series whitewash in Sri Lanka to finish off the 2018 MVP Rankings in style.
Finishing with 84.24 MVP Points, Jack Leach claimed the PCA MVP for the series pipping his fellow spinners to the accolade after a combination of inspired individual performances. A career-best 5-83 during the second Test was one of many highlights for the Somerset man who also took the final wicket of the series in Colombo to clinch the series whitewash.
Leach recalled to the Test side for the series proved how pivotal the turning ball was in the sub-continent as the slow-left armer along with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid took a combined 48 wickets across the three Test’s with Leach and Ali finishing joint-top for the series with 18 poles apiece.
Moeen finished just behind Leach in the MVP Rankings after his 18 wickets took him to second place with 78.73 MVP points.
Moeen’s consistency and accuracy with the ball was as always crucial to England mounting pressure on the opposition
Leg-spinner Adil Rashid rounded off the top three finishing slightly behind his spin partners with 71.77 MVP Points. It has been a 2018 to remember for Rashid who returned to the England Test side over the summer and backed up his inclusion with some excellent bowling across this series.
The Yorkshireman took career-best figures of 5-49 during the third and final Test, with his five wickets taking his tally to 76 wickets in 2018, the most of any international bowler.
Rashid’s whirlwind year, filled with consistency and brilliance has put him as the top performer in the Overall England MVP Rankings. Rashid’s current haul of 141.77 MVP Points is over 35 points more than second place spin twin Moeen.
Surrey wicket-keeper batsman Ben Foakes made his Test debut in a series to remember as he replaced the injured Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps as a late addition to the squad. Grabbing the opportunity with both hands Foakes went on to score a Test century on debut and record an average over 69 for the series with the bat.
Foakes finished as the highest run-scorer for the series and had the highest amount of batting points in the MVP Rankings with 49.47.
On top of his terrific batting, Foakes was faultless behind the stumps with a combined 10 catches and stumping’s as he finished in fourth place in the MVP Rankings narrowly behind the spin trio with 70.47 MVP Points.
The MVP formula was designed by the players to identify the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic and international season.
The innovation, which provides a more rigorous analysis of player performances than traditional batting and bowling averages, the MVP algorithm, gives full credit to those players whose performances improve their team’s chances of winning.
Captain Joe Root led his side imperiously to the series whitewash, perhaps his greatest achievement since taking over the captaincy in 2017. Root’s finest individual moment came during the second Test in Kandy as he took the game to the hosts hitting a sublime 124 to put his side in charge and take the series after two Test’s.
England’s century making proved instrumental in the series whitewash with four centuries scored across the two innings.
Opener Keaton Jennings hit the highest score of the tour with a beautiful 146 not out in the first Test to silence his critics. Jennings was faultless in his highest ever Test total and has also found himself in demand at short leg after some breath-taking fielding.
Jennings’ bravery and agility was mesmerising at short leg as he took several contenders for catches of the series.
Jonny Bairstow returned to the side for the final Test at number three where he notched up his sixth Test century to put England in the driving seat. Bairstow’s injury combined with the excellent form of Foakes had kept him out of the side for the first two Test’s, but scoring 110 on return left no one in doubt of his quality.
To view the Test MVP Rankings click here