After a tough series in India which hammered home just how much England have to improve, Sportsmail casts its eye over the Test squad and assesses who did well… and who didn’t
- Jimmy Anderson and Joe Root were the standout performers for England
- Moeen Ali and Olly Stone were also among those to acquit themselves well
- We didn’t learn too much about Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler or Stuart Broad in India
- Jonny Bairstow was the worst of the buch, with others like Dom Bess doing badly
The 3-1 Test series defeat in India left England with much to ponder as they look to improve significant before facing Virat Kohli’s men in a five-Test series this summer.
The task of winning on the subcontinent against the world’s number one Test side was always going to be an incredibly tall order, but low points during the series – particularly the ignominious two-day defeat in Ahmedabad – won’t be easy to shift.
Here, Sportsmail picks out the players who will have impressed Chris Silverwood – and those with a lot more still to prove.
HEAD HELD HIGH
Jimmy Anderson: 8
8 wickets, AVG 15.87
Bowled the most memorable over of the series in the first Test, when he bowled Gill and Rahane. Magnificent in the fourth, when India chose to block him and score off the others. Can he do it in Asia? You bet he can.
James Anderson had India worried in the first and fourth Test and again underlined his class
Joe Root: 8
368 runs, AVG 46; 6 wickets, AVG 23.50
Laid the foundations for England’s first-Test win with an epic 218, but managed only 150 runs in seven more knocks. After his heroics in Sri Lanka, mental exhaustion played a part. Needs one more victory to overtake Michael Vaughan’s England record of 26 as Test captain.
Jack Leach: 7
18 wickets, AVG 28.72
England’s leading wicket-taker with 18, even if he wasn’t quite in the class of Patel. But he removed Sharma and Pujara four times each, and is now indisputably the team’s No 1 spinner.
NOT BAD AT ALL
Moeen Ali: 7
49 runs, AVG 24.50; 8 wickets, AVG 28.25
Covid and rest/rotation limited him to one game, in which he took eight wickets and blasted five sixes in an 18-ball 43. England missed him dearly in the last two Tests.
Olly Stone: 7
4 wickets, AVG 17
Shame he played only once, but hurried India with his pace. Remains part of the plans for Australia, assuming he can stay fit.
Ben Stokes: 6.5
203 runs, AVG 25.37; 5 wickets, AVG 30.60
Began and ended strongly, but struggled against Ashwin in between. Asked to do too much in the last game, when he opened the bowling for the first time in Test cricket, despite a stomach bug, and sent down 27.4 overs, having managed only 19 in total in the first three games.
Ben Stokes over-exerted himself in the last Test as he bowled 27.4 overs after a stomach bug
Ben Foakes: 6
78 runs, AVG 15.60
Poetry in motion behind the stumps, but more prosaic in front of them — though he rarely caved in and looked more solid than some of his top-order colleagues. Now gives way to Buttler.
Dan Lawrence: 6
149 runs, AVG 24.84
Batting at No 3 in India was a tough ask, but he looked a different player at No 7 in the fourth Test, making 46 and 50. Clearly a talent — it’s just a question of where he slots in.
WE DIDN’T LEARN MUCH
Jofra Archer: 6
4 wickets, AVG 30.50
Made an instant impact by removing both India openers at Chennai, but chances limited after that, not helped by an old elbow problem.
Stuart Broad: 6
0 wickets, 78 runs
Did little wrong in his two Tests, and briefly looked dangerous with the pink ball under lights.
Jos Buttler: 6
54 runs, AVG 27
Played one Test, scored 30 and 24, held five catches, then went home. India must have been delighted. His next gig will be the IPL.
Jos Buttler’s batting had India on the ropes in the first Test before he left the series far too soon
Zak Crawley: 5
67 runs, AVG 16.75
Missed the first two Tests after he slipped on a marble floor, then lit up the first game in Ahmedabad with a boundary-studded 53. But he never looked comfortable against the spinners, especially Patel.
Dom Bess: 4.5
5 wickets, AVG 39.40
The cautionary tale of England’s winter. They dropped him after the first game, with a flea in his ear. Then they recalled him unnecessarily for the last, with predictable results. Too many full-tosses for a club player, let alone at Test level.
Dom Bess bowled poorly by county standards as his return to the fold did not prove inspired
Rory Burns: 4
58 runs, AVG 14.50
Who knows how his tour might have developed if he hadn’t decided to reverse sweep Ashwin shortly before lunch on the first morning of the series. Made two ducks after that, and was then dropped. Will have to fight his way back this summer.
Ollie Pope: 4
153 runs, AVG 19.12
His reputation as a sound player of spin took a hit. Reached double figures seven times, but couldn’t pass 34, and was repeatedly bamboozled by Ashwin. In that he wasn’t alone, and England will not lose faith.
Dom Sibley: 4
134 runs, AVG 16.75
Began with a promising 87 at Chennai, but as soon as the ball turned, Sibley was in a spin. Seven more innings brought 47 runs. Patel was all over him.
Jonny Bairstow: 2
28 runs, AVG 7
After being rested and rotated out of the first two Tests, he replaced Lawrence at No 3 — and promptly made three ducks in four innings. Not for the first time, his Test career looks on hold.
PS Chris Woakes and Mark Wood didn’t play at all.
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