Test series report cards: England
It's the beginning of the end for Alastair Cook, while the Gary Ballance gamble paid off – and England should be fine without a specialist spinner after all.
<b>Alastair Cook</b><br><i>78 runs @ 19.50</i><br>Cook will wax lyrical aplenty to the contrary in press conferences, but this might be the beginning of the end for the beleaguered opener. Without a Test century for all of 24 innings now, patience is wearing thin. <b>Cricket365 rating: 3/10</b>
<b>Sam Robson</b><br><i>171 runs @ 42.75</i><br>The latest in line to do what Nick Compton and Michael Carberry could not, the Australian-born Robson's debut was relatively low key. A vain Leeds century, though, showed the investment will be worth it. <b>Cricket365 rating: 7/10</b>
<b>Gary Ballance</b><br><i>201 runs @ 67.00</i><br>Cooked noted the promotion of Ballance to three in the order was a gamble. The risk paid off, handsomely, albeit in a losing cause. Having picked up a taste for Test cricket in Australia and here, Ballance will be afforded a lengthy stretch against India to truly prove himself. <b>Cricket365 rating: 8/10</b>
<b>Ian Bell</b><br><i>137 runs @ 34.25</i><br>Perhaps caught up in the moment of a milestone 99th and 100th Test, the 12th Englishman to do so failed to mark the occasion with the kind of form that heralded a very successful 2013. Expectations, indeed, were not obliged. <b>Cricket365 rating: 4/10</b>
<b>Joe Root</b><br><i>259 runs @ 86.33</i><br>Debate over Root's position in the order is settled. Fifth is correct, as a remarkable double century at Lord's prove. His role with the ball was a non-event, but will come into play again when England head away from home. <b>Cricket365 rating: 8/10</b>
<b>Moeen Ali</b><br><i>162 runs @ 54.00; 3 wickets @ 60.33</i><br>It's a cricketing shame that Ali's dogged, defiant century didn't result in victory in Leeds. But his clever, caring shepherding of tail-ender Anderson epitomised the modesty of a man cast among a bunch of big heads. A frontline spinner he is not, yet, but that Doosra – and other variations – certainly got the better of the steely Kumar Sangakkara. <b>Cricket365 rating: 8/10</b>
<b>Matt Prior</b><br><i>169 runs @ 46.33</i><br>Prior picked up right where he left off with the bat, with combatant cameos complementing the specialist batsmen and paving the way for the all-rounders. But he grassed the odd catch or two, keeping the incumbent Jos Buttler in the frame. <b>Cricket365 rating: 6/10</b>
<b>Chris Jordan</b><br><i>5 wickets @ 54.60; 92 runs @ 23.00</i><br>England's Test XI is suddenly blessed with bowling all-rounders, but really Jordan's primary role with the ball left a lot to be desired. A lack of first-class experience this season was always going to count against him. Perhaps Chris Woakes should have been given a run instead. <b>Cricket365 rating: 5/10</b>
<b>Liam Plunkett</b><br><i>11 wickets @ 30.09; 43 runs @ 14.33</i><br>After almost seven years without a Test match, Plunkett grabbed the lifeline with both hands. His new home ground in Yorkshire was particularly good to him, bringing a consolation nine-wicket haul in defeat. England might have found a solid first-change bowler again. <b>Cricket365 rating: 8/10</b>
<b>Stuart Broad</b><br><i>7 wickets @ 34.57; 75 runs @ 18.75</i><br>Unable to find a solid middle ground, Broad was too short at Lord's and too full in Leeds. Swing, for the most part, evaded him too – rendering the right-armer rather one-dimensional. <b>Cricket365 rating: 5/10</b>
<b>James Anderson</b><br><i>12 wickets @ 21.50</i><br>Anderson's series statistics defy what went on on the field. The wickets came, yes, but not when they were needed most. Pundit Geoff Boycott was damning in his assessment of the seamer, who won't count these dozen victims as his proudest. <b>Cricket365 rating: 6/10</b>
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