England vs India Series Review - England

These are the ratings of all of the players in the recently concluded India vs England series, as well as a series review for both teams.

England won the series 4-1, but it is clear that apart from Lords, they were pushed hard in 3 of their 4 wins. From an assessment, it is clear that England have won the series due to their lower order contributions, a common trend in test cricket nowadays where the home lower order always gets just a few more runs than the away lower order, and this often proves to be the difference between the 2 sides.

England went into this series with the top order as their weakness, and at the end of the series, well, it still is, although they seem to have found a gem in Sam Curran.

Alastair Cook : 5/10 - It is remarkable that Cook only gets 5/10 when he finished the 3rd highest scorer in the series, but he looked like a man who was seeing batting as a burden, and ultimately he chose the right time to go. ⅔ of his series runs came in the final Oval test where he batted like a free man again with no stress as he dominated India in his final test innings.

Keaton Jennings : 2/10 - Jennings played 5 tests and averaged 18. He got a start 3 times, but failure to convert a 42, a 36 and a 23 into anything meaningful may cost him his place in the side. These lack of runs, especially after starts are not the hallmark of a test match batsman. KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane and Jonny Bairstow did not have very good series by their standards, but when they did get in, they got runs (Rahane 81 , Rahul 149 and Bairstow 70 and 93).

Joe Root : Batsman - 6/10 - By his very high standards, Joe Root had a surprisingly poor series. Usually, he can be relied upon to make a 50 at least once every 2 innings, but in 9 innings he was only able to make 1 50 and 1 100 at the Oval. He was also run out twice in the series. A look at his overall record at number 3 compared to number 4 shows he is one of the best players in the world at number 4, with a comparatively terrible record at 3. I see why Bayliss wants him to bat at 3 overseas with less lateral movement, but at home you have to shield him as much as possible from the moving ball (like India do with Kohli).

England need a new number 3, they already have a perfect number 4.

Joe Root : Captain - 8/10 - Root had a good series as captain, sticking to his plans well. He is known for being a little defensive, which he still was, and the reason he didn’t get a higher rating was because of the final innings of the series where he and his bowlers stuck with a short ball tactic that clearly wasn’t working against KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant.

Dawid Malan : 1/10 - Safe to say Malan had a horror test match. He dropped a lot of catches at second slip, most notably Kohli on more than one occasion, and with the bat he looks like a sitting duck against the moving ball. This isn’t to say his England career is over though, I feel that he should be taken to Sri Lanka to test his game against spin instead of Ollie Pope (I think it is too early for him to be in the side), and he should be taken to all future tours of Australia for the foreseeable future.

Jonny Bairstow : 4/10 - Bairstow got a couple of scores in the series (a 93 and a 70) so it may seem a little harsh, but some of the shots he was playing when he was dismissed for the 3 ducks in 3 tests were not shots of a test match batsman. The commentators said that he was getting ‘beauties’, but if you are getting ‘beauties’ for 3 tests in a row, surely there must be something wrong with his technique. He walked in and essentially played ODI shots (staying leg side of the ball and just relying on his hands instead of getting behind the ball) and to be completely honest, looked liked he was protesting that the gloves were given to Joe Buttler.

Bairstow is one of the best batsmen in England, and they really do need him to be scoring runs and batting properly.

Ben Stokes : 8/10 - Ben Stokes had a very good series. Coming into it, you sensed that his batting was nowhere near the level you would expect, especially after a lean IPL and ODI series, but he really turned it around in the test matches, batting like a man who really does feel privileged to be playing for England with batting discipline previously unseen before this summer. His bowling performance in the 2nd innings at Edgbaston essentially won England the test, and the only reason he didn’t get a 9 or 10 is a lack of substantial scores after batting very very well. It is not unrealistic to see Stokes as England’s long term number 5, with a 4-5-6-7 combination of Root-Stokes-Bairstow-Buttler as strong a middle order as any in the world. Imagine if the top order actually gave them a platform of 150-2 instead of 50-2….

Jos Buttler : 7/10 - Jos Buttler essentially did everything he was asked very well (apart from Edgbaston). Credit to the selectors firstly, for picking him and then sticking with him. A truly fantastic hundred at Trent Bridge, followed by a 69 at the Rose Bowl and 89 at the Oval means he is a massive threat at number 7, whatever the situation. England’s most talented batsman had a very good series with the bat, the only thing really missing was a true match winning performance, which I’m sure will come in Sri Lanka.

Sam Curran : 10/10 - England’s man of the series, and essentially the difference between the 2 sides. He got a fantastic 4-for in the first innings of the series, especially when India looked poised for a big score after a rare decent start from the openers. He then got 63 of 65 balls in the second innings at number 8, and considering England won by 31 runs, these runs were huge in context of the match and took the game away from India. He was massively unlucky to be dropped for Lords and omitted again at Trent Bridge, but played another massive role at the Rose Bowl in another tight England win, rescuing England’s first innings, and again, ultimately giving India too big a target to chase in the 4th innings. It is no coincidence that India’s only win in the series came when he wasn’t playing.

Adil Rashid : 5/10 - It feels very harsh to not give Rashid a higher rating, considering he wasn’t called upon to do very much at all across the series (at Lords, he quite literally did nothing). He bowled the ball of the series to KL Rahul in the final test, and essentially dismissed tail enders very well whenever required.

Stuart Broad : 7/10 - Broad had an underrated series. He played the supporting role well for whoever was taking centre stage, be it Sam Curran, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes or James Anderson, but a lack of match winning contributions goes against him here despite being the third highest wicket taker in the series.

James Anderson : 9/10 - Anderson bowled with incredible control throughout the series. He was hugely unlucky to not get Virat Kohli out in the series, although Kohli seemed completely determined to not let Anderson dismiss him. Anderson bowled incredibly few loose balls and was almost impossible to get away throughout the series, and put in a fantastic performance at Lords to blow away India’s top order. Anderson finished as the highest wicket taker in the series with a mighty impressive average of 18.12.

Ollie Pope : 4/10 - Picking Ollie Pope was seen as a ‘positive’ move by the selectors who say ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’, but throwing him in at number 4 when the highest he had batted for Surrey was at number 6 was just incredibly silly. He played a few nice shots in each innings but ultimately got out driving away from his body too many times in the series, and although I think the selectors will take him to Sri Lanka, I just don’t think he possesses the same test match level quality that someone like Haseeb Hameed showed in his first test series (thats not to say I don’t think he will eventually make it, he just needs a few more seasons of County Cricket first.)

Chris Woakes : 8/10 - To be completely honest, the only thing that goes against Chris Woakes is the fact he didn’t play more than 2 tests in the series. This was due to selection calls (understandable as a second spinner was needed) and injury. He was quite simply unplayable at Lords and his century with the bat was simply outstanding. Another 3 wickets at Trent Bridge in the first innings meant India were kept in check.

Moeen Ali : 8/10 - Another man who only played the 2 tests, but what 2 tests they were. 9 wickets at the Rose Bowl while Ashwin was struggling in the other camp was a massive talking point, and a massive factor to England winning the match. His exploits at number 3 at the Oval were much talked about and he was criticised, almost ridiculed for how much he played and missed, but I feel this was completely unfair as it was clear that he was deliberately holding his bat inside the line of the ball and letting the ball move away past the edge.

Average (excluding Malan who played 1 test) : 6.46 (13)