Chester-le-Street report cards: England

Blog Opinion

While Stuart Broad hogs the limelight, lest we forget the complementary services of Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan.

<b>1. Alastair Cook</b> <i>(51 and 22)</i><br>The laborious nature of the captain's first-innings half-century was lined with criticism – and rightly so, after he failed to convert the grind work into three figures. Hardly out of form, but perhaps the pressure of the Ashes captaincy are telling. A series win, however, would have eased the demands – and perhaps The Oval will bring Cook a fitting, final flourish. <b>C365 Rating: 5/10</b>

<b>2. Joe Root</b> <i>(16 and 2)</i><br>Root's series average is still bordering on 40 – thanks only to that 180 against an empty Australian attack at Lord's. Otherwise, he has offered very little at the top of the order – and perhaps Nick Compton's rejection was premature after all. Taking nothing away from the superb delivery, but the way Ryan Harris castled Root in the second innings exposed a technical flaw unbecoming of a Test match opener. <b>C365 Rating: 3/10</b>

<b>3. Jonathan Trott</b> <i> (49 and 23)</i><br>Trott, for all his ambition to improve on a trying stretch of form of late, can consider himself unlucky this time. A thriving vigil was stopped dead in its tracks the first time around, while on another day he might not have gloved the short ball ended his second innings. <b>C365 Rating: 5/10</b>

<b>4. Kevin Pietersen</b> <i>(26 and 44)</i><br>The way Pietersen attacked Nathan Lyon in the first innings spoke volume of the batsman's attitude, even if the technique was not complementary. In the second innings, however, the right-hander reined it in – ensuring Ian Bell an adequate partner, and calm amid a potential top- through middle-order collapse. <b>C365 Rating: 6/10</b>

<b>5. Ian Bell</b> <i>(6 and 113)</i><br>Second to none in the 2013 Ashes, Bell's current form has also earned a long-term legacy. Right up there with the likes of David Gower and Len Hutton now, critics can no longer doubt the previously temperamental right-hander. Respected pundits like Ian Botham are spot on in their assumption that England might not have retained the coveted urn were it not for the perennial centurion. <b>C365 Rating: 9/10</b>

<b>6. Jonny Bairstow</b> <i>(14 and 28)</i><br>Bairstow's aggressive intent in the second innings spoke of a man desperate to impress. Despite this approach and overall talent, questions remain over his berth in the Test XI. He'll be the first to go if Root is pushed down the order and Compton recalled for future series, particularly if he doesn't put in a big knock in London next week. <b>C365 Rating: 5/10</b>

<b>7. Matt Prior</b> <i>(17 and 0)</i><br>Another unusually quiet match for Prior, whose status as Test cricket's finest wicketkeeper-batsman has taken a bit of a hit over the past month. The awkward manner in which he fudged the possible run-out of Jackson Bird late on the fourth day won't be held against him, but a more dire situation and the proverbial knives might've been out. <b>C365 Rating: 5/10</b>

<b>8. Tim Bresnan</b> <i>(1/63 and 2/36, 12* and 45)</i><br>Bresnan's second-innings dismissal of Warner was absolutely fitting, as it was the left-hander who threatened to render obsolete the difference Bresnan's late-order 45 brought during Monday's early stages. Faith restored in the big Yorkshireman's role with the bat, indeed, but is he doing enough with the ball to warrant selection ahead of England's fringe seamers? Reverse swing is too much of a crutch. <b>C365 Rating: 5/10</b>

<b>9. Stuart Broad</b> <i>(5/71 and 6/50, 3 and 13)</i><br>Love him or dislike him, there is little denying Broad's unending value. It takes considerable character to shrug off a relatively quiet string of Test matches, and put in a massive performance when the team required it most. On cue, Broad delivered to the tune of a match-winning, series-sealing 11-for – with near unrivalled aggression and the Man of the Match accolade. <b>C365 Rating: 9.5/10</b>

<b>10. Graeme Swann</b> <i>(2/48 and 2/53)</i><br>Swann's haul was certainly not as prolific as at Old Trafford and Lord's, but the importance of his wickets will be entirely appreciated. A telling brace when Chris Rogers and company were looking to kick on to a heft lead brought the initial damage, before Sunday's removal of Rogers and Usman Khawaja promptly stifled the Aussies' promising pursuit. <b>C365 Rating: 8/10</b>

<b>11. James Anderson</b> <i>(2/65 and 0/73)</i><br>That 10-for at Trent Bridge is all of a month ago now, as Anderson's continues. This is England's greatest fast bowler of the modern era, so there is enough room for a quiet patch, though. With the series wrapped, however, England must seriously consider resting the right-armer at The Oval. With Graham Onions injured, Steven Finn seems the standard replacement. <b>C365 Rating: 5/10</b>

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