England won’t regain the Ashes after they failed to hang on for a draw in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
With so much weather, England came within 14 overs of saving the Test, but just had too much time to survive in the end. They were in a bad spot after losing the toss and struggling to bowl Australia out in the first dig, before their big names struggled with the bat themselves.
Let’s have a look at how each of their players rated.
Rory Burns: 6/10
Burns is nothing more than an old-fashioned opener who is prepared to graft, grit and grind his way to whatever score he can make. It’s not pretty, but it was good in the first innings as he made an important 85. His score in the second, a duck at the end of Day 4, left England in a spot of bother.
Joe Denly: 5
It was probably unfair on Denly to send him to the top of the order and expect everything to be perfect. He certainly wasn’t out of sorts at number four, but was still hunting for his breakthrough score. He only got four in the first dig but toughed it out in the second for a half-century, which more importantly lasted 123 balls, before getting out at a bad time.
Joe Root: 5
Root needed to be better. His 71 in the first innings is nothing but a distant memory after his first-ball duck in the second dig. The skipper has been outplayed by Steve Smith, and it’s been a telling point on this Ashes series.
Jason Roy: 4
Dropped to number four, Roy ended up with scores of 22 and 31, which were his highest of the series. His Test career is on the ropes, and it looks pretty unlikely that he will be picked for the Oval.
Ben Stokes: 3
From the highest of highs at Leeds to the lowest of lows at Manchester, Stokes has experienced a wide range of emotions in the last fortnight. He scored a combined 27 runs across his two innings here, walking in the second on an average shot to be caught behind, while his bowling in the first dig lacked rhythm and penetration. He went at over six runs per over and was taken apart by the Aussies in what was a poor Test for the all-rounder, which made his third Test match-saving innings mean virtually nothing.
Jonny Bairstow: 4
Just when it looked like Bairstow was starting to find some form, he has put up a pretty ordinary return in Manchester – one which hurt England badly. On a pitch where starting was tough but batting got easier once set, Bairstow squandered scores of 17 and 25, getting out to Mitchell Starc in both innings.
Jos Buttler: 5
Like Bairstow, Buttler failed to capitalise on starts in both innings. His 41 in the first dig cam at a fair clip and he was looking confident until Pat Cummins got him with a beauty, while Josh Hazlewood did the same to him on Day 5 with England needing he and Craig Overton to take the game much deeper than they did. The situation didn’t suit Buttler’s batting though, and he deserves credit for showing the control to go at a strike rate of just 30.
Craig Overton: 6
Brought into the side to replace Chris Woakes, Overton didn’t do a bad job with the ball. While he didn’t get to bowl with a new ball in the first innings and his opportunities were limited in the second dig, he did the job as best he could.
Jofa Archer: 5
Archer looked like he had forgotten he was picked to bowl fast in the first innings. He didn’t provide England with the point of difference they so desperately required, and Smith had a field day against him. He finished the first innings with 0/97, and while he recovered a little in the second dig, his performance still wasn’t good enough.
Stuart Broad: 7
Broad was, again, the pick of the English bowlers. While he couldn’t get rid of Steve Smith, he did have it on a string against the Aussie openers in both digs, putting the tourists on the back foot early doors. He has made David Warner’s place in the Aussie side close to untenable and picked up five wickets for the match. Broad now has 19 at 26 for the series.
Jack Leach: 4
It really wasn’t a Test for the spin bowlers until the very end, and so Leach never really got a chance to bowl in suitable conditions. He toiled well in the first innings to grab a couple of poles, but only bowled nine overs in the second and went at more than six runs an over without being overly threatening.
Roarers, what did you make of England’s performance as they lost the urn in Manchester?