England v Sri Lanka, 1st Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day June 16, 2014

Plenty of ticks for England selectors

England's new era selections in detail after the first Test at Lord's

There were six changes for the Lord's Test compared to the England side which took the field at the SCG in January. ESPNcricinfo assesses how each of them performed in the opening match of the series

Sam Robson

A tricky start for England's latest opener on his homeground. He edged to the keeper in the first innings, reaching for ball that travelled down the slope, and was then beaten by one holding its line in the second. Regardless of success at domestic level, the step up will bring challenges more often than not and it would be unfair to make snap judgements after two innings although to be troubled on both sides of the bat is a concern. Would be ideal, before the arrival of India, if he could settle himself with a useful score at Headingley.

Joe Root

His absence from the Test side only lasted one match and his double hundred has set up his summer beautifully. Continued a strong association with Lord's where he scored 180 against Australia last year and 71 against New Zealand. The tempo of his first innings was what stood out. Often in Australia he became static, unable to rotate the strike, but back down at No. 5 he seemed far more at ease. After a year of shuffling around the order, hopefully he has now found a permanent home especially after Gary Ballance's corresponding hundred at No.3. "It's obviously been quite a tough winter, from a team point of view and personally as well," Root said. "So to come back into the side and score a hundred meant a lot to me."

Moeen Ali

Moeen certainly did not look out his depth in the Test arena. Off the mark with a whip through square leg, the only nervous moment in his first innings was an edge through a vacant third slip. The rest of his stay was studded with wristy elegance, so much so that when he edged a loose drive to slip it came as a surprise. The second innings was brief, but action-packed: off the mark first ball with a lofted straight drive then bowled through the gate by a lovely response from Rangana Herath. The bowling was what you would expect, steady but without a huge amount of threat against batsmen who can play spin in their sleep. "I think he looks like someone who has already played 20 games," Paul Farbrace said. "I thought he looked at ease with the bat and with the ball he looks like a very quick learner. He has a great future."

Matt Prior

Lucky to be recalled? Maybe, but Prior took his opportunity although it was a successful return by a matter of inches when he escaped a mighty close lbw second ball. But after that, he played very much like the Prior of old, counter-attacking against a tiring attack on the first day although he will not have enjoyed being bounced out by Shaminda Eranga. With the gloves he was solid, the horrors of Perth forgotten, and generally coped well with the low bounce that made life tricky behind the stumps. "I've had a rough year but the three or four years before that I'd played some pretty good cricket and I know what I bring to the team," Prior said.

Chris Jordan

There is a vibrancy and exuberance about Jordan's cricket that is impossible not to admire. A wicket with his third ball in Test cricket would have settled any remaining nerves, but he does not appear to be the type of cricketer to be overwhelmed by an occasion. Three hard-earned scalps in the first innings were just rewards and his final spell of the match - 8-7-2-1 - was unstinting. The other side of his game was on show when he strode in with England 121 for 6 in the second innings. Ian Bell would have been proud of some of the off side drives he played during a sparky 35 which eased England's worries. "We've seen quite a lot of Jords in the one-day game, he's got a lot of skills," Alastair Cook said. "I love his attitude, he always wants to bowl. He's nagging me from second slip saying he needs to come on now, it's an infectious attitude and we haven't seen the best of him yet either."

Liam Plunkett

Match figures of 48-7-155-2 did not scream a successful return to Test cricket for Plunkett after a seven-year gap, but neither do they tell the full story of the effort he put in. It was a foreboding surface for anyone trying to extract life with short deliveries - a method of attack England were keen to take against the Sri Lankans - but Plunkett still had the strength and stamina to have the batsmen hopping at times with speeds in excess of 90mph. He may, occasionally, have forgotten the value of the pitch-up delivery and his yorker to remove Angelo Mathews in the first innings should be one to file away, but he should feel heartened heading to his new homeground for the second Test. "Liam has got one of the best engines I've seen, his pace pretty much stayed constant through the whole game," Cook said.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prithvi on June 17, 2014, 16:49 GMT

    I would give Robson a chance in the next game too,the first game might be a matter of nerves.If he fails in the next game too then I'd be tempted to call in Vince who's in tremendous form n is a class batsman.Even though he scored most of his runs in d middle order i think he has d technique to handle d new ball n finally England shld find a way to accomadate Taylor.His numbers can't be ignore n he had a good tour of Sri Lanka with thye A teams too

  • Jonathan on June 17, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    Just one thing, Nicholas Ryan - where would a number 4 like James Vince fit into the team?

  • Dummy4 on June 17, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    James Vince ... 1,000 runs at an average of 80 and a strike-rate of 80 ... what more is there to say?!

  • Tom on June 17, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    Great debut for Jordan, and Ballance has claimed the number 3 spot. Also Prior looks to have nailed his place back down. Those are some big positives. And Plunkett and Ali certainly did enough to stay in the side for Headingley.

    Robson should be given several games so we can have a proper look at him. After all, Gooch got a pair on debut.

  • Rizwan on June 17, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Chris JORDAN appears to have the midas touch and is a fantastic player - a very good bowler , hand with the bat and he making of a brilliant slipper - Kudos to the selectors for unearthing a gem

  • Dummy4 on June 17, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    Not convinced about Ballance or Robson and suspect Plunket will be there until Finn gets his Mojo back. Hopefully this has taught England that 4 seamers is not a good attack. Ali is a good and improving second spinner, but not a first choice here at the moment. I think it likely that Ai is a better batter than Ballance in the long run though. Not convinced at all by Ballance despite his runs. Robson looked pretty poor. Turned around "two eyed" against even the slower SL bowlers and wafting outside off stump every over. He doesn't look like he has the technique to play test cricket For me Robson and Plunkett out (no fault of Plunkett - just can't have 4 seamers) Compton and Panesar in. Ballance still very much under review.

  • xxxxxxxx on June 17, 2014, 10:17 GMT

    Some positives (as they say in the current crick-speak) but also some failures. A more postive batting approach but the funky fields seemed to come more from the bowlers and the game was drawn due to poor over rates and because a higher priority seemed to be placed on milestones and statistics rather than winning.

    So no real change in the captaincy and since the whole approach (sackings included) is predicated on Cook and his captaincy only time will tell if this is really progress.

  • ESPN on June 17, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Clearly Robson has technique issues but more importantly had nerves and this is not surprising for an opener in his first match. Moeen looked the part and fair enough a loose shot did for him in the first innings. However he looked unflustered and will come back stronger. Don't judge his bowling on a non turning flat deck, he was achieving extremely high revs and good drift and on a turner would have taken several wickets. People seem to be queuing up to attack Moeen, he had a solid debut and I think it is unfair he his being targeted in this way...

  • Martin on June 17, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    While there were some obvious improvements from last winter some commentators get so carried away after 1 test. Yes it was a good performance being so close but because SL are not the best side & playing in foreign conditions it was not that good. There were still 2 batting collapses, there was no spinner & the declaration, although reasoned, was very conservative. On the above. I think it is too early to judge Moeen or Robson. Prior was incredibly lucky not to get a pair but the others did seem to do ok but can't see the point of recalling Plunkett, surely better to work on a younger bowler like Finn. Jordon was the most impressive but ironically creates a problem as would England be able to play him and Stokes, who is probably the other best newcomerl, in the the same team?

  • David on June 17, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    Mostly good. Pace, penetration, Steven Finn.

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