Cricketers of the week: 5th March - 11th March
In a scintillating, see-sawing Test match at Bangalore, two top sides showed why Test cricket is here to stay. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka held fort well against a new-wave Bangladesh while the South Africa vs New Zealand Test match was hanging in the balance by stumps on Day 4.
Good matches, all of them. That is why all our cricketers of the week are from these games.
There have been phenomenal performances, quite a few, and hence some good ones missed out. Joe Root’s back-to-back influential innings in West Indies, Alex Hales’ comeback century against West Indies in the third ODI and centuries by Upul Tharanga and Kusal Mendis for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in a home Test miss out despite being of high-quality.
Boult misses out as well despite an excellent spell against South Africa.
Here are the top 5 cricketers of the week, keeping in mind, the conditions, opposition and match situation.
#1 Dean Elgar (South Africa)
In the first Test between South Africa and New Zealand at Dunedin, Elgar rescued the Proteas with a resilient 140 after SA were reduced to 22 for 3 in 19 overs. Elgar then added 126 with his skipper Faf du Plessis (52) and another 104 with Temba Bavuma (64).
His dismissal resulted in a South African collapse as they went from 252 for 4 to 308 all out, courtesy Boult, who returned figures of 4/64 in the innings. Elgar’s hard work was far from being done. In the second innings, having conceded a lead of 33 to New Zealand, South Africa started poorly again losing opener Stephen Cook in the first over.
Elgar then scored a gritty 89 off 249 balls as South Africa battled out 102 overs to score 224 for 6 by Stumps on Day 4.
New Zealand could still win this Test if they skittle out South Africa early on Day 5 but that also opens up the possibility of SA winning the Test by bundling out NZ on a Day 5 pitch. One way or the other, SA are still in it thanks to Elgar.