Plenty of cricket was played last week - three Tests to be specific, in three different continents of the world. Each of these Tests gave us some fascinating performances and it was a tough job picking up 7 top performers, leave alone the usual 5 that we pick for the feature each week. The sterling performances came with both bat and ball, in conducive conditions as well as against difficult and adverse situations.
There were centuries, five-wicket hauls and all-round contributions as well. We tried to pick players based on the performance in the match situation, the toughness of the conditions and to some extent, the significance to their own career. Here are the ones we picked. Kyle Abbott’s Man of the Match performance will be spoken about next week as his best performance came in the current week and not the one gone by.
#1 Moeen Ali (England)
Player of the Match in the first Test against India at Rajkot, Moeen Ali walked in at a tricky time when England were 102-3. But, with Root, he added 179 runs for the fourth wicket to lay the foundation of a massive England total. He also took 3 wickets, 2 in the first and 1 in the second innings to give England a solid batting option in the middle order without compromising on his role as a full-time spinner. Ali’s off-breaks and his discipline ensured he didn’t leak too many runs, forming a good partnership with leg-spinner Adil Rashid.
#2 Vernon Philander
In conditions favouring seam bowling, Philander wrecked Australia as the latter were scuttled out for just 85 runs in the first innings of the second Test at Hobart. 48 of those runs came from Steve Smith, who was unbeaten and left stranded. Most of the damage was done thanks to a 5-wicket haul from Philander as he picked up three top-order wickets – those of David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Adam Voges. Philander returned innings figures of 10.1-5.21-5.
Five maidens and five wickets in just 10.1 overs is testimony of his accuracy and skill.