India in England 2014 August 18, 2014

Root star of England's improving show

Marks out of ten for England during their 3-1 series victory over India
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10
Joe Root
Sure, there may well be tougher tests to come. But what other mark can you give a man who averaged in excess of 100 and who contributed two centuries and three half-centuries in seven innings?

9
Gary Ballance
The apparent ease with which Ballance has taken to Test cricket - and to the No. 3 spot - has been one of the highlights of the summer for England. Capable of solid defence and blessed with excellent concentration, he also demonstrated a welcome ability to change gear when required. And he caught well in the slips.

James Anderson
Petulant at Trent Bridge and poor at Lord's, Anderson responded with three of the best Tests of his career. Forget the comparisons with other bowlers, when the ball swings, Anderson is lethal. Was twice Man of the Match and finished as Man of the Series.

8
Jos Buttler
If he was sometimes untidy with the gloves and enjoyed a little fortune with the bat, Buttler was also selfless and brilliant at times. His batting, whether attacking at the Ageas or defending at Manchester, showed promise and he missed only one chance. He also completed a fine run-out at The Oval and provided the fresh start England required after the debacle of Lord's.

Stuart Broad
A fine series with bat and ball, Broad, Lord's apart, bowled with excellent consistency - no regular bowler cost fewer runs per over - and impressive skill. It was especially impressive bearing in mind his long-standing knee injury and, at The Oval, his broken nose. Man of the Match in Manchester.

7
Alastair Cook
His batting remains unconvincing - nobody benefited more from India's porous slip cordon - but he did register three half-centuries in his last four innings and he did respond to a mountain of criticism with calm and unfussy determination. A lesser man, a lesser leader, might have crumbled. He cannot be rated just on his batting and, after an awful game at Lord's, deserves credit for the much-improved display from his side in the final three Tests of the Investec series.

Ian Bell
His century at the Ageas Bowl was of typically high class and helped change the course of the series. And, if he had some luck at the start of that innings, he was also the victim of the ball of the game at The Oval. Still, England were hoping for more of Bell, who is now the senior batsman in the middle order and, by the high standards that he must now be judged, this was a slightly disappointing Test season.

Moeen Ali
Disappointing as a batsman but exceeding all expectations as a bowler, Moeen played a significant part in two victories and was hailed by his captain as improving more quickly than any cricketer he had ever seen. The suspicion that he has an issue against the short ball will be tested mercilessly at Test level.

Chris Woakes
The figures may not show it, but Woakes bowled with control, skill and no little pace in this series. He will bowl less well and claim double the amount of wickets.

Chris Jordan
A nervous start gave way to an increasingly assured performance with the ball. Jordan benefited from continuity of selection and, by the end of the series, was demonstrating the pace and swing he manages at county level.

6
Ben Stokes
Bowled better than his figures - and seven wickets at 33.14 is not at all bad - suggest but looked hopelessly out of form with the bat. Remains a big part of the team's plans.

Liam Plunkett
Unfortunate to play on the slowest wickets in the series and then forced out of the series through injury, Plunkett nevertheless added some bite to the England attack and surely has a role to play. He was also obliged to pursue an unwise short-ball ploy at Lord's that damaged his figures.

4
Sam Robson
One fifty in seven innings is a disappointing return for an opening batsmen and the manner of several of his dismissals - pushing outside off stump or beaten by straight deliveries - is a concern.

1
Matt Prior
It seems harsh to judge a man who was so patently unfit and who has served England so well, but Prior was a shadow of the man who was a fixture in the side only a year ago. His batting became frenetic and his keeping standards plummeted. The fact that it took him so long to accept his obvious injury issues might be interpreted as reflection of the pride he took in representing England.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • zarasochozarasamjho on August 21, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    Good article as it is balanced and well-reasoned; as they usually are from George. One word of genuine advice; never give a PERFECT score to ANYONE for ANYTHING. Perfect is an ideal that you strive for, but not humanly possible to achieve it. Another way to define PERFECT would be to say no room for improvement - and I am sure you would not say it yourself. Had Root scored enough runs in the test that England lost, then that test too would have been a win for England, making it 4-0, rather than 3-1. Even this performance added on will not make Root perfect.

  • Speng on August 20, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    As pointed out I think Ballance should've gotten at least as much as Root. Especially since he was basically opening with Cook's (early) and Robson's poor form going up against B. Kumar at his most dangerous.

    Moeen is a conundrum because one doubts he'll ever take that many wickets in a 5 match series again even on a subcontinent turner and he's a walking wicket against the short ball currently. I reckon when they go to the WI next spring that they need to trial another spinner alongside him on the spin friendly pitches to get head to to head comparison BUT he needs to bat better to justify his spot.

    Cook's captaincy was better after Lords but the quality of the opposition made it seem better than it was but he had the team more aggressive with the bat and the ball. Also managed to stop the Indian tail wagging which had been a worrisome trend.

    It's so hard judge when the competition was so hopeless though...

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 20, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx (post on August 20, 2014, 10:33 GMT): so what are you implying? Are you saying the great Don Bradman's figures are grossly exaggerated because he remained not out in some 10 innings in tests? I haven't seen anybody label Root, Ballance etc. as world beaters and that they'll dominate records/rankings in years to come; we're all just happy some young guys are showing class and excellent form for a change. I'm infamously/frequently harping on about a certain Australian opener who seems to be "all or nothing," but every time I point this out or express concerns about him being relied upon in swinging conditions (where he's inept) I get shot down.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 20, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Joe Root is an all or nothing player. If he gets in - forget it. It's a 100. However, he hardly ever gets middling scores, you can nip him out early and he won't hurt you at all over a series. A lot of his hundreds, have been not outs. They have been big hundreds as well so a lot of his runs he has in his career are just played of a handful of innings. Think about it, the big 180, the 200 no, 150 no, 149 no, 109. That's close to 800 (close to 50% of his career runs in just 5 knocks) runs for once out, heavily inflated, misleading figures.

    Don't get me wrong, i would pick him in the Aussie team still, but hmm...Jury's out. Same goes for Ballance.

  • landl47 on August 19, 2014, 23:43 GMT

    Just a little thought- if Joe Root gets a 10 for 518 runs in a 5-test series, what mark would you give Garry Sobers for his series in England in 1966? In 5 tests he got 722 runs, average 103; took 20 wickets @27; held 10 catches and captained the side to a 3-1 win.

    Now THAT'S a 10.

  • landl47 on August 19, 2014, 20:43 GMT

    @HatsforBats: had you seen more of the series, I think you would have seen that Cook made considerable improvements in his captaincy along the way. Like you, I was critical of his tactics up until the 3rd test. At last he seemed to get it; he used his bowlers in shorter spells so they came back fresh, he put more faith in Moeen, he set more attacking fields, he used some innovative field placings. Most of all, he stopped letting the game drift and made changes instead of just hoping things would change.

    There was an energy and enthusiasm about the England side in the last couple of tests that hadn't been present for a while. It helps, of course, when you're winning!

    This side has some way to go, but for a team with 6 players 25 or under and only 2 over 30 (Australia has 6 regulars in its side older than the oldest England player) it was a promising start. Cook must get some credit for that.

  • landl47 on August 19, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    Personally, I think Ballance had the best series of any of the England players. He and Root had almost the same number of runs and Ballance got them at #3, often having to go in when the ball was still new. His lowest score was 27, whereas Root had a 3 tucked in among the big scores.

    However, all the scores are subjective and don't mean much. We get the usual anti-Bell sentiments from Village Blacksmith, but actually Bell was important to this side in helping the younger players- he gets a lot of credit for pointing Moeen in the right direction.

    I'm glad Woakes was given some support; I think he bowled very well in the last test and showed the benefit of sticking with promising young players. If he can improve his inswinger and learn to hide what he's going to bowl a bit better (and hopefully he's working with Anderson, who is excellent at both) he'll be a good test player.

    A good start for a young side.

  • on August 19, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    So why was Joe Root not Man of the Series?

  • badboyblue on August 19, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Agreed with the ratings although Joe Root having a faultless performance in every innings is a bit OTT but I will give him 9.5/10 - he was the best player along with Anderson. Moeen seriously needs to improve on his batting as we cannot rely on his bowling despite the fact he had a very successful series with the ball. He was picked as a top 6 batsman so somewhere along the line he needs to sharpen up his batting otherwise someone else will take his place

  • shane-oh on August 19, 2014, 12:25 GMT

    @HatsforBats - sure, fair point. I didn't actually see that match but it was clearly an incredible achievement for Agar, I didn't see what Cook was doing with his field placements.

    I do think Cook is getting a better balance now between conservatism and attack. Sometimes you need to be conservative - test cricket hasn't changed so much that there aren't times where stopping the runs is important.

  • zarasochozarasamjho on August 21, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    Good article as it is balanced and well-reasoned; as they usually are from George. One word of genuine advice; never give a PERFECT score to ANYONE for ANYTHING. Perfect is an ideal that you strive for, but not humanly possible to achieve it. Another way to define PERFECT would be to say no room for improvement - and I am sure you would not say it yourself. Had Root scored enough runs in the test that England lost, then that test too would have been a win for England, making it 4-0, rather than 3-1. Even this performance added on will not make Root perfect.

  • Speng on August 20, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    As pointed out I think Ballance should've gotten at least as much as Root. Especially since he was basically opening with Cook's (early) and Robson's poor form going up against B. Kumar at his most dangerous.

    Moeen is a conundrum because one doubts he'll ever take that many wickets in a 5 match series again even on a subcontinent turner and he's a walking wicket against the short ball currently. I reckon when they go to the WI next spring that they need to trial another spinner alongside him on the spin friendly pitches to get head to to head comparison BUT he needs to bat better to justify his spot.

    Cook's captaincy was better after Lords but the quality of the opposition made it seem better than it was but he had the team more aggressive with the bat and the ball. Also managed to stop the Indian tail wagging which had been a worrisome trend.

    It's so hard judge when the competition was so hopeless though...

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 20, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx (post on August 20, 2014, 10:33 GMT): so what are you implying? Are you saying the great Don Bradman's figures are grossly exaggerated because he remained not out in some 10 innings in tests? I haven't seen anybody label Root, Ballance etc. as world beaters and that they'll dominate records/rankings in years to come; we're all just happy some young guys are showing class and excellent form for a change. I'm infamously/frequently harping on about a certain Australian opener who seems to be "all or nothing," but every time I point this out or express concerns about him being relied upon in swinging conditions (where he's inept) I get shot down.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 20, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Joe Root is an all or nothing player. If he gets in - forget it. It's a 100. However, he hardly ever gets middling scores, you can nip him out early and he won't hurt you at all over a series. A lot of his hundreds, have been not outs. They have been big hundreds as well so a lot of his runs he has in his career are just played of a handful of innings. Think about it, the big 180, the 200 no, 150 no, 149 no, 109. That's close to 800 (close to 50% of his career runs in just 5 knocks) runs for once out, heavily inflated, misleading figures.

    Don't get me wrong, i would pick him in the Aussie team still, but hmm...Jury's out. Same goes for Ballance.

  • landl47 on August 19, 2014, 23:43 GMT

    Just a little thought- if Joe Root gets a 10 for 518 runs in a 5-test series, what mark would you give Garry Sobers for his series in England in 1966? In 5 tests he got 722 runs, average 103; took 20 wickets @27; held 10 catches and captained the side to a 3-1 win.

    Now THAT'S a 10.

  • landl47 on August 19, 2014, 20:43 GMT

    @HatsforBats: had you seen more of the series, I think you would have seen that Cook made considerable improvements in his captaincy along the way. Like you, I was critical of his tactics up until the 3rd test. At last he seemed to get it; he used his bowlers in shorter spells so they came back fresh, he put more faith in Moeen, he set more attacking fields, he used some innovative field placings. Most of all, he stopped letting the game drift and made changes instead of just hoping things would change.

    There was an energy and enthusiasm about the England side in the last couple of tests that hadn't been present for a while. It helps, of course, when you're winning!

    This side has some way to go, but for a team with 6 players 25 or under and only 2 over 30 (Australia has 6 regulars in its side older than the oldest England player) it was a promising start. Cook must get some credit for that.

  • landl47 on August 19, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    Personally, I think Ballance had the best series of any of the England players. He and Root had almost the same number of runs and Ballance got them at #3, often having to go in when the ball was still new. His lowest score was 27, whereas Root had a 3 tucked in among the big scores.

    However, all the scores are subjective and don't mean much. We get the usual anti-Bell sentiments from Village Blacksmith, but actually Bell was important to this side in helping the younger players- he gets a lot of credit for pointing Moeen in the right direction.

    I'm glad Woakes was given some support; I think he bowled very well in the last test and showed the benefit of sticking with promising young players. If he can improve his inswinger and learn to hide what he's going to bowl a bit better (and hopefully he's working with Anderson, who is excellent at both) he'll be a good test player.

    A good start for a young side.

  • on August 19, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    So why was Joe Root not Man of the Series?

  • badboyblue on August 19, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Agreed with the ratings although Joe Root having a faultless performance in every innings is a bit OTT but I will give him 9.5/10 - he was the best player along with Anderson. Moeen seriously needs to improve on his batting as we cannot rely on his bowling despite the fact he had a very successful series with the ball. He was picked as a top 6 batsman so somewhere along the line he needs to sharpen up his batting otherwise someone else will take his place

  • shane-oh on August 19, 2014, 12:25 GMT

    @HatsforBats - sure, fair point. I didn't actually see that match but it was clearly an incredible achievement for Agar, I didn't see what Cook was doing with his field placements.

    I do think Cook is getting a better balance now between conservatism and attack. Sometimes you need to be conservative - test cricket hasn't changed so much that there aren't times where stopping the runs is important.

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    @ Shane-oh, thanks for the info on his improvements this series. Glad you brought up Ponting before I did: for me there are Taylors & Pontings, but Cook so far has shown even less nous than Ponting IMO.

    Yes they won the series, but he also let a #11 smash 98 on debut, largely through ridiculous field placements and lack of intent (not the first time it's happened to them either), and those sentiments come straight from the captain. Both Ashes series were strewn with periods of inactive captaincy, against better sides those sorts of periods in the game will cost you eventually.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 19, 2014, 10:59 GMT

    @HatsforBats, so far England has only lost 1 home series under Cook, and 1 away series. We all know there is more to what happened in the ashes Australia leg of the tour but so far no one has spoken openly only hinted. I suppose we need to wait for the respective Biographies to be published then read between the lines to get a goo idea of what occurred.

    As far as his 'negativity' is concerned, so what, in most cases the 'negativity' was because England were on the back foot, even Clarke can be negative but like most one-eyed aussies they fail to see it.

  • shane-oh on August 19, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    @HatsforBats - also, how on earth did his tactics cost England against Australia at home? He won the series 3-0!

  • shane-oh on August 19, 2014, 10:20 GMT

    @HatsforBats - well, I'm a bit old fashioned anyway in that I believe the best way for someone to captain a team is to do their job, a-la Ponting. He wasn't any kind of tactical genius, and he wasn't a good role model as a person. He just scored a mountain of runs and expected his other batsmen to do the same, and their bowlers to do their job. Of course, Cook has been out of form, but towards the end of the Indian series he at least started grinding out some runs.

    Re changing tactics: it's clear that he became more attacking as the series wore on. He started using far more attacking fields, which contributed to a number of Indian collapses. England's batting also became more aggressive, and clearly batsmen in certain situations were given a green light to go all out to press for victory - Butler, Root and Ballance at Southampton, Butler, Root and Broad at the Oval. He clearly became more attacking throughout the series in both disciplines.

    He's growing well into the role.

  • Chris1881 on August 19, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    All scores 2 points too high - except, I would have to say, for Prior.

  • real_gone_gadd on August 19, 2014, 9:34 GMT

    Please don't refer to Prior in the past tense - we can fully expect to see him back in contention for his place when he is fit.

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    @ Shane-oh, Cook does get credit for being good leader in the sheds and (when performing) with the bat (like in India). But are they his tactics? He inherited a ready-made winning team under the close direction of Flower, and Anderson, Broad, & Swann largely set their own fields without consultation. His job has been to motivate and perform with the bat. Now with a new set up his results are no where near as impressive as they started and his tactics (particularly against Australia home & away) have cost England.

    I thought he showed promise in some of early ODI games, but there seems to have been little positive progression of his match awareness . I'd like to hear about some the positive tactical changes he was making that you mentioned.

  • shane-oh on August 19, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    @HatsforBats - I've seen a lot of England playing under cook, including much of this series.

    Under Cook's captaincy England have won 12 tests, lost 8 and drawn 8. Twice they have come back from 1-0 to win test series against India, home and away. They've dished out some pummelllings to Australia on their way to a comprehensive Ashes victory. In fact, the only major blot on his two year stint as captain (plus one series as fill-in) is an embarrassing Ashes in Australia - a series where England massively under-performed and failed to deliver to their potential. Not to understate how poorly they played in that series, but surely Cook is doing something right to achieve results like this? Surely, at some point, he gets some credit for directing a successful team? Surely, his tactics must be pretty good?

    He can be slightly conservative at times but that gets overstated. Also, he showed in the most recent series that he can change things up when he needs to.

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    @ Shane-oh, like I said I haven't seen much of this series. But from previous observations; constantly removing slips early, setting deep point as soon as the first boundary is hit, and having 5/6 men out to stop boundaries (Ashton Agar is probably the best example of this). Overall, he seems too reactionary and defensive which releases the pressure for the opposition.

    Frankly, if you've seen England play under Cook then you've probably seen an example of what most commentators and armchair critics alike identify as Cook's "negative" captaincy.

  • jmcilhinney on August 19, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 on (August 19, 2014, 6:12 GMT), I agree that the England scores seem to be heavily weighted by the last three games but you can forget about comparing the England scores to the India scores. People do it every year and it's just as pointless and irrelevant every year. The scores for the two teams are always done by two different people and have never once been directly comparable to each other.

  • tjsimonsen on August 19, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    9 is too high for Anderson given his performances in the first two test, particularly at Lords, no matter how excellent he was in the last three. 8 would be more appropriate IMO.

  • shane-oh on August 19, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    @HatsforBats - all those claiming Cook's captaincy is "negative" and "poor" never seem to have any examples.

    I'm a neutral here but I'm glad to see England bounce back after all the unwarranted criticism. They've come through a difficult transitional period and have unearthed some real talent - as already noted, Root reminds me of our own Kane Williamson, albeit one that is taking to test cricket a lot faster than Williamson did. Balance has been incredible in hos short career and Ali has certainly silenced a lot of people.

    Good to see England preforming, I'm looking forward to seeing them play New Zealand here next year and hoping like hell I can get along to at least some of the test cricket, providing tickets don't prove impossible to find!

  • yorkshire-86 on August 19, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Bell 7 yet Dhoni 5? Dhoni scored far more runs! And Ali 7? He was an embarrassment with the ball in the first two, and only rescued his figures with a few tail Enders in the subsequent two. Whoever scored this series seemed to ignore the first two Tests.

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, you beat me to it. Having only seen glimpses of this series I was myself wondering just what stock you could place in any positives of the England performance. Yes you still have to make the runs and take the wickets, but when they are gift wrapped so handsomely they do lose their value. Make no bones about it, India were dread awful.

    When we beat them in Australia 4-0 they were poor & my celebrations were further tempered by the fact that India never win here. And this Indian side is far worse. Yes England have done well to turn around the deficit but they also lost to SL and they still appear to have major concerns in almost all departments. Importantly Cook's tactical captaincy is still poor and it will continue to cost them against sides that show some spine. Positively though, the young players show a lot of talent and will gain much from this series win.

  • Coolcapricorn on August 18, 2014, 22:47 GMT

    Cook benefited more than most from India's woeful catching but think he also had at least a couple of poor umpiring decisions that went in his favour - so not convinced yet that he has turned the corner in finding form with his batting. Poor Prior - had he stuck with the team for just one more Test, he probably would still be in the team today & his Test career wouldn't have been over. Think he made a hasty decision in jumping ship believing he was going to be dropped.

  • neil99 on August 18, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    7 for Bell is a joke. Bell managed just 2 decent innings out of 7 in series. As usual he did just enough to save his career after yet another poor run of form, and we have to put up with his inconsistency for another series or 2. Root & Ballance prove there's quality out there. It's time this has been was jettisoned once and for all.

  • Lmaotsetung on August 18, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    I wouldn't say Root is better than Kane atm but from now on these 2 will forever be compared side by side til the end of their careers.

  • VillageBlacksmith on August 18, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    ''Still, England were hoping for more of Bell, who is now the senior batsman in the middle order and, by the high standards that he must now be judged, this was a slightly disappointing Test season''… At last ….. Yes… Could not agree more.. My only disagreement is with the word ''slightly''…. Root gets 10, Bell gets 7… As the senior player…?? Just not good enough Bell … Cheers George!

  • on August 18, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    Root you beauty.. he is better than Kohli ,S.Smith and even K.Williamson at test level..

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 18, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    People are no doubt going to moan that these scores are vastly over-exaggerated because India never really turned up, but at the end of the day batsmen have to score the runs and bowlers have to take the wickets, so what more can be said. As I said on another thread, I don't think any England fans or even the media (yet!) are claiming we're suddenly world-beaters. But hell what a great series to restore some much-needed hope/confidence again and prove the guys have class. I'm sad about Prior, but what can you do... Gotta move on and Buttler seems to have taken to tests like a duck to water. Well played England. Things may indeed have been different had catches been taken and DRS had been used, but they weren't, and it wasn't, and you generally don't mark down players/teams that benefit because of such basic necessities in test matches. Biggest worries for the near-future are the lack of frontline spinners, Robson or a replacement opener, & will/when/how effectively will Broad recover?

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  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 18, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    People are no doubt going to moan that these scores are vastly over-exaggerated because India never really turned up, but at the end of the day batsmen have to score the runs and bowlers have to take the wickets, so what more can be said. As I said on another thread, I don't think any England fans or even the media (yet!) are claiming we're suddenly world-beaters. But hell what a great series to restore some much-needed hope/confidence again and prove the guys have class. I'm sad about Prior, but what can you do... Gotta move on and Buttler seems to have taken to tests like a duck to water. Well played England. Things may indeed have been different had catches been taken and DRS had been used, but they weren't, and it wasn't, and you generally don't mark down players/teams that benefit because of such basic necessities in test matches. Biggest worries for the near-future are the lack of frontline spinners, Robson or a replacement opener, & will/when/how effectively will Broad recover?

  • on August 18, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    Root you beauty.. he is better than Kohli ,S.Smith and even K.Williamson at test level..

  • VillageBlacksmith on August 18, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    ''Still, England were hoping for more of Bell, who is now the senior batsman in the middle order and, by the high standards that he must now be judged, this was a slightly disappointing Test season''… At last ….. Yes… Could not agree more.. My only disagreement is with the word ''slightly''…. Root gets 10, Bell gets 7… As the senior player…?? Just not good enough Bell … Cheers George!

  • Lmaotsetung on August 18, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    I wouldn't say Root is better than Kane atm but from now on these 2 will forever be compared side by side til the end of their careers.

  • neil99 on August 18, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    7 for Bell is a joke. Bell managed just 2 decent innings out of 7 in series. As usual he did just enough to save his career after yet another poor run of form, and we have to put up with his inconsistency for another series or 2. Root & Ballance prove there's quality out there. It's time this has been was jettisoned once and for all.

  • Coolcapricorn on August 18, 2014, 22:47 GMT

    Cook benefited more than most from India's woeful catching but think he also had at least a couple of poor umpiring decisions that went in his favour - so not convinced yet that he has turned the corner in finding form with his batting. Poor Prior - had he stuck with the team for just one more Test, he probably would still be in the team today & his Test career wouldn't have been over. Think he made a hasty decision in jumping ship believing he was going to be dropped.

  • HatsforBats on August 19, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, you beat me to it. Having only seen glimpses of this series I was myself wondering just what stock you could place in any positives of the England performance. Yes you still have to make the runs and take the wickets, but when they are gift wrapped so handsomely they do lose their value. Make no bones about it, India were dread awful.

    When we beat them in Australia 4-0 they were poor & my celebrations were further tempered by the fact that India never win here. And this Indian side is far worse. Yes England have done well to turn around the deficit but they also lost to SL and they still appear to have major concerns in almost all departments. Importantly Cook's tactical captaincy is still poor and it will continue to cost them against sides that show some spine. Positively though, the young players show a lot of talent and will gain much from this series win.

  • yorkshire-86 on August 19, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Bell 7 yet Dhoni 5? Dhoni scored far more runs! And Ali 7? He was an embarrassment with the ball in the first two, and only rescued his figures with a few tail Enders in the subsequent two. Whoever scored this series seemed to ignore the first two Tests.

  • shane-oh on August 19, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    @HatsforBats - all those claiming Cook's captaincy is "negative" and "poor" never seem to have any examples.

    I'm a neutral here but I'm glad to see England bounce back after all the unwarranted criticism. They've come through a difficult transitional period and have unearthed some real talent - as already noted, Root reminds me of our own Kane Williamson, albeit one that is taking to test cricket a lot faster than Williamson did. Balance has been incredible in hos short career and Ali has certainly silenced a lot of people.

    Good to see England preforming, I'm looking forward to seeing them play New Zealand here next year and hoping like hell I can get along to at least some of the test cricket, providing tickets don't prove impossible to find!

  • tjsimonsen on August 19, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    9 is too high for Anderson given his performances in the first two test, particularly at Lords, no matter how excellent he was in the last three. 8 would be more appropriate IMO.