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More than 8000 kilometres apart, Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali did the star turn for their teams and made strong cases for being considered the best Test allrounder in the world. © Getty Images

An unbeaten 70 and a five-wicket haul to steer his team to a series win – Test cricket witnessed two such match-winning performances in last two days.

More than 8000 kilometres apart, Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali did the star turn for their teams, winning the Man of the Match awards at the SSC ground in Colombo and Old Trafford respectively, and making strong cases for being considered the best Test allrounder in the world.

The numbers don’t do them disservice. In last one year, Moeen has scored three Test centuries, to go with three five-wicket hauls including a hat-trick against South Africa in the recently concluded series. Jadeja, on the other hand, has seven scores of 50-plus to go with 87 wickets – the second-most in the period.

There are only five players who scored at least 500 runs and picked up at least 25 wickets in Test cricket in the last 365-odd days (since August 7, 2016). Unsurprisingly, these five gentlemen are also the top five allrounders in the world according to the latest International Cricket Council rankings.

With a difference in average of almost 18, Jadeja heads the charts, while Moeen is in third place with 9.10.

Player M R HS Avg 100s/50s W BBI Avg 5WI Avg diff
Ravindra Jadeja 16 663 90 41.43 0/7 87 7-48 23.47 5 17.96
Shakib Al Hasan 7 656 217 46.85 2/2 29 5-85 31.68 1 15.16
Moeen Ali 12 865 146 39.31 3/4 48 6-53 30.20 3 9.10
Ben Stokes 11 772 128 36.76 2/4 26 5-73 29.57 1 7.18
R Ashwin 17 684 118 32.57 1/5 97 7-59 26.03 8 6.54

* Minimum of 500 runs and 25 wickets – since August 7, 2016

After his brilliant performance against South Africa in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Moeen became the eighth player (the instance being the ninth, with Ian Botham having achieved it twice) to score 250 runs and take 25 wickets in a Test series. It is the first time someone has achieved this feat in a four-Test series, although two other players, George Giffen and Aubrey Faulkner, crossed that landmark in the fourth Test of five-match series, both over a century ago.

Player M R HS Avg 100s W BBI Avg 5WI Opposition
George Giffen (Australia) 4 367 161 52.42 1 29 6-155 20.13 3 England, 1894-95
Aubrey Faulkner (South Africa) 4 436 123 62.28 1 26 6-87 21.65 2 England, 1909-10
Moeen Ali (England) 4 252 87 36.00 0 25 6-53 15.64 2 South Africa, 2017

Back to the SSC, and apart from scoring a half-century in the second Test, Ashwin took another five-wicket haul during Sri Lanka’s first innings, taking his tally of five-fors to 26 in just 51 matches. He is now eighth on the list of players with most five-wicket hauls in Test cricket, with Anil Kumble (35) the only Indian ahead of him. When it comes to the number of matches played for each five-wicket haul, he’s fifth on the list, which is headed by Sydney Barnes, the England cricketer of the early 1900s.

Fewest matches per five-wicket haul

Player M W Avg SR 5WI Mat/5WI
Sydney Barnes (England) 27 189 16.43 41.6 24 1.13
Tom Richardson (England) 14 88 25.22 51.1 11 1.27
Charlie Turner (Australia) 17 101 16.53 51.2 11 1.55
Clarrie Grimmett (Australia) 37 216 24.21 67.1 21 1.76
R Ashwin (India) 51 286 25.47 52.7 26 1.96

Root’s golden run

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Root scored 52 and 49 at Old Trafford, extending his run of scoring at least one fifty-plus score in a Test to ten games. © Getty Images

The extra responsibility of captaincy and a change in his batting position don’t seem to have had any effect on Joe Root’s excellent form with the willow. Root scored 52 and 49 in the Old Trafford Test, extending his run of scoring at least one fifty-plus score in a Test to ten games. He is now two Tests away from matching AB de Villiers’s streak of 12 Tests.

Player M From Opposition To Opposition
AB de Villiers 12 November 30, 2012 Australia February 20, 2014 Australia
Viv Richards 11 January 23, 1976 Australia February 18, 1977 Australia
Gautam Gambhir 11 October 17, 2008 Australia January 24, 2010 Bangladesh
Virender Sehwag 11 November 16, 2009 Sri Lanka October 1, 2010 Australia
Mominul Haque 11 October 9, 2013 New Zealand May 6, 2015 Pakistan
John Edrich 10 July 10, 1969 West Indies February 12, 1971 Australia
Sachin Tendulkar 10 December 2, 2009 Sri Lanka October 9, 2010 Australia
Joe Root 10* October 28, 2016 Bangladesh August 4, 2017 South Africa

During the first innings, Root also completed 5000 runs in Test cricket, becoming the 22nd  English player to do so, and the fifth-fastest too, in just 105 innings.

Fastest to 5000 Test runs for England

Player M I Opposition Ground Match Date
Jack Hobbs 55 91 Australia MCG March 8, 1929
Wally Hammond 59 97 Australia SCG December 18, 1936
Ken Barrington 61 97 South Africa The Oval August 26, 1965
Len Hutton 55 98 South Africa Leeds July 26, 1951
Joe Root 57 105 South Africa Old Trafford August 4, 2017

Cook’s bogeymen

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Morne Morkel got the better of Alastair Cook again at Old Trafford, making it the 12th time he has scalped the former England captain in Tests. © Getty Images

In the second innings of the Old Trafford Test, Alastair Cook once again got out to Morne Morkel. This was the 12th time Morkel got Cook’s wicket in a Test. No other bowler has dismissed him more than nine times.

Bowler M I Dismissals Innings/dismissal
Morne Morkel 19 36 12 3.00
Mitchell Johnson 19 34 9 3.78
Ryan Harris 12 22 8 2.75
Ishant Sharma 12 20 8 2.50
R Ashwin 11 20 7 2.86
Ravindra Jadeja 10 18 7 2.57

Bairstow’s near miss
Jonny Bairstow was on 53 in England’s first innings when their ninth wicket fell. A partnership of 50 with James Anderson for the tenth, out of which Anderson’s contribution was just four, took Bairstow to 99 before he got out to Keshav Maharaj. He became the 15th England player and the third wicketkeeper overall to be dismissed on 99 in Test cricket.

Player R Opposition Venue Start Date
Brendon McCullum 99 Sri Lanka Napier April 4, 2005
MS Dhoni 99 England Nagpur December 13, 2012
Jonny Bairstow 99 South Africa Manchester August 4, 2017