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

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

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