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Test captain leads from the front throughout series whitewash.
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England Test skipper Joe Root remains top of the PCA Test Most Valuable Player Rankings after he completed a dream tour of Sri Lanka from both a personal and team perspective on Monday morning.
Root, who topped the Test Rankings after scoring a memorable 228 in the first Test in Galle, is now sitting pretty on 81 MVP points after his side defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets at the end of a dramatic fourth day of the second Test at the same venue.
The classy batsman set his side up for victory with a magnificent 186 in the first innings – scoring 150 or more in two consecutive Tests for the first time in his career – claiming 39 MVP points for the second fixture of the two-match series.
Root’s mammoth 186 accounted for 54% of his side’s first innings total of 344, earning him bonus MVP points for scoring a high proportion of his team’s total during that knock.
He also accrued further points for taking two wickets in the match, as well as bonus points as a result of his two catches and for captaining the winning side, all of which contributed to his MVP points total for the fixture.
The MVP algorithm takes into account numerous key match-winning contributions such as those outlined above, therefore giving the clearest picture of the top performers in the game.
Root has certainly been England’s best performer during the rescheduled series in Sri Lanka, and heads to India for a four Test series against the hosts top of the Test MVP and having made the perfect start to a busy 2021.
Below Root, the spin duo of Dom Bess and Jack Leach complete the current Test MVP top three, with the pair currently sitting on 56 and 47 MVP points respectively.
After sharing 14 wickets in the first Test, Bess and Leach went wicketless in the first innings of the second Test, before coming back to claim four each to enforce a dramatic Sri Lankan collapse to 126 all out in the second innings.
Following a productive tour, during which Leach appeared for the first time in Tests since 2019, the former Somerset teammates take a combined 103 MVP points with them to India, where England’s spin bowling line-up is set to be bolstered by the returning Moeen Ali.
Whilst the spinners profited from helpful conditions throughout the tour of Sri Lanka, few fancied James Anderson to be one of England’s top performers during the series.
Having been rested for the first fixture, the most prolific seam bowler in Test history produced a stunning performance in the first innings of the second Test to claim 6-40 – his third best figures in Tests – and return 33 MVP points for the fixture and the series, putting him fifth in the Test MVP for now.
Sandwiched between Anderson and the spin bowlers is wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler, who reaffirmed his importance in England’s middle-order by accruing 34 points across the series.
Buttler was England’s third-highest run scorer with 131 at an average of 65.5, including a telling contribution of 46 not out during his side’s chase of 164 on the final day, accompanied by Dom Sibley whose 56 not out helped him to 14 MVP points for the series.
Buttler’s contribution of nine catches and one stumping behind the stumps also equated to 14 MVP points for fielding during the series and therefore his current position of fourth in the Test MVP.
With plenty of MVP points up for grabs during the upcoming tour of India, the stage has been set in Sri Lanka with Root and the spinners currently leading the race for the Test MVP.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.