Three Tests and a Tri-series give us a handful of classy performances from cricketers around the world this week. Centuries, excellent bowling performances, all-round performances with bat and ball – you name it, we have it this week.
Choosing just 7 out of them was tricky as it always is, but then we do sweat to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the laudable performances in a given week. Some good performances like the 90 from Babar Azam against New Zealand, Josh Hazlewood’s 4-for against South Africa and Jonny Bairstow’s gritty 89 miss out but such has been the quality on show this week.
On that note, take a look at the top 7 performances over the past 7 days!
#7 Mohammed Shami (India) – 3/63 against India
Bowling on the sub-continental pitches could be hard but Shami has consistently shown that with the right skills it is possible to buy wickets on these tracks. The 26-year-old had an unlucky start to the third Test at Mohali against England when he had Alastair Cook dropped by Jadeja in the slips and then dropped again by Ashwin, the latter chance an absolute sitter.
But, Shami is India’s most potent weapon with the new ball and the reversing ball. He bounced Moeen Ali out with a terrific short delivery and then cleaned up the lower order to make sure England were all out for just 283. With a little more luck and support from his teammates, Shami could’ve easily ended up with a fifer.
#6 Tim Southee (New Zealand) – 6/80 against Pakistan
Batting first after losing the toss, New Zealand were wrapped up for just 271 on Day 1 of the second Test at Hamilton. Pakistan, though, were tormented by New Zealand’s premier fast bowler, Tim Southee, who picked up figures of 6-80 in 21 overs. Three of those wickets were top-order wickets.
Southee, supported well by Neil Wagner, ensured New Zealand got a lead of 55 runs after which, Ross Taylor, with a century, stretched it to 368. Pakistan have a tough Final day to survive at the time of writing this article. New Zealand have already won the first Test by 8 wickets.
#5 Mitchell Starc (Australia) – 53 and 6 wickets against South Africa
In an excellent week for all-rounders, Starc showed his batting talent, by scoring 53 at No.8 adding a valuable 44 with Khawaja and then another 30 with No.9 Josh Hazlewood, to push Australia’s score to 383, ensuring a lead of 124 runs.
Starc then came strongly with the ball in South Africa’s second innings, picking the top order wickets of Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook for figures of 4/80. 6 wickets in the match and a gritty half century to contribute to an excellent win for the hosts, puts him on this list without a doubt.
#4 Stephen Cook (South Africa) – 104 against Australia
In only his 6th Test, Cook showed his class, scoring a second-innings century in a losing cause after South Africa conceded a 124-run lead in the Final Test at Adelaide against Australia.
Cook, who showed his form in the first innings as well, with a valuable 40, adding 51 with his skipper Faf, went the full distance scoring his second Test century. He almost carried his bat through the innings as he was the last man to be dismissed. It was Cook’s 240 ball knock that ensured South Africa had at least 126 runs to bowl with in Australia’s second innings. Without his pluck, the Proteas would have faced an embarrassing defeat.
#3 Evin Lewis (West Indies) – 148 against Sri Lanka
In a thriller, Evin Lewis took West Indies close to an improbable victory in a Tri-series ODI against Sri Lanka. Dickwella and Kusal Mendis scored 94 each to propel Sri Lanka to 330 in Bulawayo.
Chasing 331, West Indies started well adding 63 for the opening partnership in just 8 overs. Lewis’ 122-ball-148 was studded with 15 fours and 4 sixes and by the time he was run-out, West Indies were within touching distance, requiring 69 runs in 57 balls, very gettable in modern ODI cricket. West Indies eventually fell just a run short of the Sri Lankan score.
#2 Faf du Plessis (South Africa) – 118* against Australia
It was a tough week for the South African skipper Faf who was found guilty of ball tampering charges. Coming into the match with a lot to prove, Faf found South Africa tottering at 44 for 3 when he walked in, in the third Test at the Adelaide Oval.
But he scored a resolute century adding 110 runs for the 7th, 8th and 9th wicket partnerships before declaring the innings to have a go at Australia under the lights. Faf’s 164-ball knock had 17 fours and was masterly given the pressure he was under throughout the entire length of the innings.
#1 Usman Khawaja(Australia) – 145 against South Africa
Australia have been under the pump over the last week after losing a home series against South Africa and seemingly in utter disarray. They rung in some massive changes and were desperately looking for some inspiration. It came from none other than their opener Usman Khawaja in the third Test at the Adelaide Oval.
Faf du Plessis, the South African skipper declared on 259 for 9 on the first day to give the hosts some really scary overs under lights. Khawaja not only saw those off but also batted the entire second day, eventually getting out in the 109th over of the innings, but not before making sure Australia had a sizeable lead. He scored 145 in 308 balls, his long vigil comprising of just 12 fours.