C365's Test series report cards: England

Blog Opinion

With England winning the five-match Test series against India three-one, with the final game at The Oval over on three days, there were clearly some impressive performances, especially in the latter half of the series.

With England winning the five-match Test series against India three-one, with the final game at The Oval over on three days, there were clearly some impressive performances, especially in the latter half of the series.

Here are our marks, out of 10, for Team England.

<b>Alastair Cook</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 298<br><b>Average</b>: 49.66<br><b>HS</b>: 95<br><b>Catches</b>: 10<br><b>Wickets</b>: 1<br><b>Ave</b>: 6.00<br><b>Best figures</b>: 1/6

If ever a player's statistics were deceptively flattering, this would be it. Cook should be extremely thankful his board and the BCCI are part of the Big Three, and thus able to arrange a five-Test series, because his series, and maybe his career, was saved in the second half. While his century drought is still in effect, he managed to score three half tons in four innings, though luck played a big part in that. He was dropped in the slips early on in nearly every innings, the most decisive of which was by Ravi Jadeja in the third Test, when he was on 15. He went on to make 95, and while he never looked overly comfortable in any knock, credit must be given for the way he doggedly carried on. It wasn't pretty, and his captaincy was made to look better than it was by his bowlers and India's utter ineptitude. His highlight though was the wicket he took with his dibbly-dobbly slow deliveries in Nottingham. Ishant Sharma will forever be mortified.<br><b>Out of 10</b>: 6.5

<b>Sam Robson</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 165<br><b>Average</b>: 23.57<br><b>HS</b>: 59<br><b>Catches</b>: 2

Of the new players in the side, Robson probably had the least impressive series. Aside from his half century in the first match, which ended in a draw, his batting was not eye-catching, and he found his bails removed more than he'd have liked. He was in such cracking form before the series that this will be a massive disappointment, especially considering how poor India's bowling was. If Cook could score runs considering the terrible form he was in, then Robson should have been raking in the tons. There have been calls for him to be jettisoned in favour of Michael Carberry or Nick Compton, themselves unceremoniously discarded.<br><b>Out of 10</b>: 4

<b>Gary Ballance</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 503<br><b>Average</b>: 71.85<br><b>HS</b>: 156<br><b>Catches</b>: 5<br><b>Wickets</b>: 0<br><b>Ave</b>: -<br><b>Best figures</b>: 0/5

The number three would have been the series's top run getter if not for Joe Root's ton in the final game, and was one of only two players to score more than 500 runs. The Zimbabwe-born batsman now averages over 60 across eight Tests, and scored two tons and two fifties in this series. He was calm when required, and flashy when allowed, and his 156 in the third Test built the platform for the win, and thus England's road to recovery. After Australia, England would have been very worried about replacing Jonathan Trott, but Ballance has filled the void with aplomb. Also, his slip catching was impressive, the highlight his one-handed take on day three at The Oval.<br><b>Out of 10</b>: 8.5

<b>Ian Bell</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 297<br><b>Average</b>: 42.42<br><b>HS</b>: 167<br><b>Catches</b>: 8

While Cook could not break his century-less run, Bell managed to do so. He had gone nearly a year without a ton, since the Ashes in England, but that all ended in Southampton, when he, Ballance and Jos Buttler racked up nearly 600 runs in the first innings, putting England out of reach. It was one of his best knocks, mixing patience with strokeplay, and that form continue into the next match, where he score 58 in Manchester to prevent a collapse. His slip catching was also superb, finishing just behind Cook at the top of the list.<br><b>Out of 10</b>: 7.5

<b>Joe Root</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 518<br><b>Average</b>: 103.60<br><b>HS</b>: 154*<br><b>Catches</b>: 6<br><b>Wickets</b>: 1<br><b>Ave</b>: 33.00<br><b>Best figures</b>: 1/5

The Yorkshire youngster was the star of the show, alongside Ballance, and showed up his senior counterparts for poise, technique and guts. He was a pleasure to watch, especially when given the freedom to attack, and his 149 in the final Tests was a case of rubbing salt in India's wounds. It came off just 165 balls and India's bowlers looked dead-eyed, ready to get on the plane back home. He batted in seven innings, scoring two big tons and three half centuries, taking full advantage of older balls and tired bowlers. His catching was also top drawer, and while he didn't bowl much, he was decent when he did (aside from a few full tosses).<br><b>Out of 10</b>: 9

<b>Moeen Ali</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 124<br><b>Average</b>: 20.66<br><b>HS</b>: 39<br><b>Catches</b>: 3<br><b>Wickets</b>: 19<br><b>Ave</b>: 23.00<br><b>Best figures</b>: 6/67

The all-rounder was brought into the side to be the go-to spinner, and while the first two games were below par in that regard, he worked hard to improve and was soon ripping through the Indian order and finished joint second on the wicket list. Whether that's to do with his skills or India's lack of fight is immaterial. His best effort came in the second innings in Southampton, where he took six wickets to lead England to their first win in 11 Tests. His batting wasn't overly impressive, mind you, getting out of the teens only twice. Considering many felt he was a batting all-rounder ahead of the series, able to bat at three, that would have been a disappointment. Still, he's the humblest accidental wearer of controversial wristbands we've ever seen, and he is the Beard To Be Feared.<br><b>Out of 10</b>: 7

<b>Jos Buttler</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 200<br><b>Average</b>: 66.66<br><b>HS</b>: 85<br><b>Catches</b>: 11

Buttler's highly anticipated Test debut came in the third Test, with Matt Prior opting to remove himself from the firing line and instead go for Achilles surgery. The Lancashire man took advantage of the call-up, scoring an impressive 85 on debut. He followed that up with scores of 70 and 45 in the next two Tests, contributing nicely to the cause and transferring his limited-overs skills to the longest format. Behind the stumps, he wasn't perfect by any means, but did pull off some impressive takes, and at the age of 23 looked better than Prior had at the same stage. He also managed to avoid getting Mankaded, so that was a plus.<br><b>Out of 10</b>: 7

<b>Stuart Broad</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 108<br><b>Average</b>: 27.00<br><b>HS</b>: 47<br><b>Catches</b>: 1<br><b>Wickets</b>: 19<br><b>Ave</b>: 23.00<br><b>Best figures</b>: 6/25

One of three players with 19 wickets, Broad's series saw a definite uptick in the second half. He was one of the senior players that looked out of sorts, hurt and tired in the first two games, and while he wasn't terrible, he wasn't great either. But then came Manchester, where he took six wickets for just 25 runs (his only five-fer) to demolish India, and thus set up a second consecutive win. It was also there that he got smashed in the face with a bouncer,