After a mid-series scare England bounced back to win the fourth test before sealing the series at the Oval for a 4-1 series win. We take a look at the English team for their end of series report card:
His struggles over the last 18 months continued this series, and he was unable to counter Ishant Sharma coming around the wicket and moving the ball away when the series was on. After Ashwin bowled him a couple of times early in the series, he found himself edging into the cordon a lot.
Calling stumps on his career looks to be good timing because the consistency has not been there for some time and he is no longer the reliable opener for England he once was. He did have one of cricket’s all-time great farewells– maybe the greatest – with runs in both innings, catches and a Test match win.
He’s been a wonderful servant for his country and will hold the record of England’s leading Test run-scorer for many years to come, though Joe Root is a chance to chase him down in time.
He just looks out of his depth at this level. Even when the pressure was off somewhat at the Oval he struggled on a flat wicket. Chris Vince, who was overlooked in this series, looks to be a better option at the top of the order. His highlight was a fighting 36 at Southhampton. He didn’t make a 50 and is unlikely to be seen at this level again.
Ali played only the two tests but his contribution, especially in the fourth test, was significant. The 81-run partnership in the first innings at Southhampton with Sam Curran, with England in deep trouble at 6/86, was crucial in posting a competitive score. He then took five first-innings wickets before being pivotal in the second innings there, taking a further four wickets, including the big wickets of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane.
He backed it up with a 50 at the Oval and a couple more wickets, and then went on to endear himself to everyone in the cricket world by saying how much he dislikes Australia, which seems to be common ground for everyone not from the land Down Under.
Like a salad sandwich on homemade pita bread– nice on the outside but no meat in the middle. Root started the series with an 80 and ended it with a 125, but in between that were a lot of low scores, often under 20.
Root could go down as Test crickets greatest ever coin-tosser after winning four out of five tosses in Australia, one out of two against Pakistan and five out of five against India – handy stats to know if ever in Las Vegas.
He started the series in great style, making important runs in the first two tests, but he fell away faster than Serena Williams’s patience. He made three ducks in the final three Tests and settled for an average in the mid-20s. His keeping was good even after the fractured finger.
A wonderful spell of bowling in the first Test deserved far better than the 2/73 return, but he got his rewards in the second innings with four wickets, including the crucial wicket of Virat Kohli. His 62 in a losing run chase showed important backbone for England. Instead of falling over and going meekly, he and Jos Buttler showed some fight in a losing cause.
He missed the second Test due to being in court, which thankfully you don’t see every Test series. He’ll never quite be the next Ian Botham, but he delivered handy contributions throughout.
He’s now completed one full cycle as a Test cricketer, having debuted against India in the corresponding series four years ago, despite excelling at the shorter formats of the sport. He may be finally coming to age as a Test cricketer, with handy to significant contributions in the final three Tests.
He made his first Test match century in the third Test and scored 50s later on to be England’s best-recognised batsman. His first goal will be to cement his spot in this team, and then an effort to convert 50s to centuries will be his next aim.
Curran made an impact by taking key top-order wickets in the first Test, but his real contribution was his ability to get his team out of big trouble twice. With England 7/87 in the first Test, his 62 gave them a score to defend. His 78 in the fourth Test, with his team at 6/86, again turned the match.
Without his contributions England would have been hard-pressed to win both Tests. He was one of the more bizarre dropped players for the third Test, though he returned for the last couple of Tests. He looks like more of a bowler suited to home conditions, so keeping an eye on his development on flatter tracks and Kookaburra balls will be needed.
He’s more a traditional leg spinner, with the odd loose ball thrown in amongst the good ones. He did bowl Kannanur Lokesh Rahul with an absolute beauty that got plenty of deserved attention. Ten wickets at 30.90 was a handy contribution, but he had some handy runs every now and then.
He went through the series a little under the radar and just happened to pop in every now and then with a wicket before going back under the radar. His 16 wickets at 29 were handy enough. It’ll be interesting to see how long he and James Anderson lead this attack, as they seem to have some very good batteries in them.
His battle with Virat Kohli in the first test will go down as one of the great Test match battles. After dismissing Kohli four times four years ago, he had lined him up perfectly in Birmingham, and with Kohli trapped at one end, 42 of the 54 balls Kohli faced were all from Anderson.
Anderson had bowled his last 25 balls to Kohli when he took the edge, only for Dawid Malan to drop a sitter at second slip. Although he would not dismiss the Indian captain in the series, he would still have a big impact throughout, taking exactly the 24 wickets required to go past Glenn McGrath as Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker for a paceman. The tears for his retiring mate Alastair Cook were a nice touch.
He dropped Kohli in the first Test, which got India going, but then he wasn’t seen for the rest of the summer.
A man-of-the-match performance, with four wickets and 137 not out at Lords while replacing Ben Stokes. He was dropped after the third test for Sam Curran, which was a good move by the selectors.
He’s not quite ready for Test cricket, but he will be seen again down the track.