The second Ashes Test is the obvious place to look for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week. From that match, the contributions of three Englishmen stand out. Joe Root, Ian Bell and Graeme Swann all played starring roles in the home side’s 347-run win that has surely seen them retain the famous urn.
Root edges out his team-mates to win the award, as he did the man of the match award, but it could so easily have been either of the other two. Bell made a vital 109 in England’s first innings to help them recover from 28 for three and then made an elegant 74 as they looked to press on to a declaration in their second innings. Swann, meanwhile, returned match figures of nine for 122 on a Lord’s pitch that aided his off-spin.
Root, though, put to bed any lingering worries about his elevation to opener and bounced back from three disappointing scores to make 180 in England’s second innings. He benefited from a piece of indecision in the Australian slip cordon early in his innings to see out the second evening when Peter Siddle threatened to bring the tourists back into the contest, and went onto to dominate the tiring attack after tea on day three. He was finally dismissed, attempting an audacious ramp shot, as he tried to hurry to 200, but then made a vital contribution with the ball in Australia’s second innings.
He removed Michael Clarke and Usman Khawaja in successive overs of off-spin to bring to an end their partnership of 98 and put to an end Australia’s hopes of salvaging a draw.
Other contenders for this week’s award included Marlon Samuels, who hit a century for the West Indies in a losing cause yesterday against Pakistan, and Kumar Sangakkara, who helped Sri Lanka demolish South Africa in the opening ODI with a dominant 169 in Colombo.
© Cricket World 2013