A heavy series defeat for England is capped off with (another) humiliating collapse on day five at Chennai, but how did their players perform out of 10?
England 477 (Moeen 146; Jadeja 3-106) & 207 (Jennings 54; Jadeja 7-48) lost to India 759-7 dec (Nair 303*; Broad 2-80) by an innings and 75 runs
There was something inevitable about that. It hasn’t been the kind of tour that England could end with a nice drama-free day of batting. No, not even on a pitch that wasn’t unfriendly, this always had the air of something far more painful. 109-0 became 190-4 became 207 all out. Trevor Bayliss insists that England have “good times ahead”, but they felt a long way away today and during much of this tour.
HASEEB HAMEED 7.5/10
England’s little soldier. At the beginning of this season Hameed had just four first-class games to his name, now he’s excelled against some of the best bowlers in the world and earned the respect of Virat Kohli along the way, not to mention winning the hearts and minds of everyone who’s watched him. It’s bonkers to think he wasn’t in England’s XI for the Bangladesh series. Very likely to walk out with Alastair Cook against the South Africa in July, and that’s only off the back of three Tests.
His ‘Baby Boycott’ nickname – although not undeserved – doesn’t give enough credit to his burgeoning array of shots. His second-innings effort at Mohali – with a broken hand and a completely new grip, not least – was a little stunner. Well played, that man, and here’s to many more.
JOE ROOT 7/10
He said it himself in an interview with AOC: “If we’re to win in India, our senior players – like me – need to stand up and perform. It’s that simple.” Given that, and given he’s a player of such class that sometimes it makes you want to weep, he’ll be annoyed he didn’t push on and win England more games, despite being England’s highest run-scorer. These pitches haven’t been unfriendly, unlike many India have produced for tourists over the last four years, and a return of just one century prevents Root from scoring higher marks and indeed from being England’s best-performing player. You can’t help but compare him with Kohli and his Indian counterpart has taken the honours this time round. So much is asked of Root and it’s uncharitable to be too harsh on him, he can’t help that his runs haven’t been backed up by better English bowling, but for a man of such brilliance England needed just a little bit more.
MOEEN ALI 7/10
A tricky one. You could score Moeen anywhere between an eight and a five. He’s scored two centuries and he’s England’s second-highest run-scorer so, straight away, you think it’s been a good tour. But… there’s been precious little else around the tons and the manner of his dismissals continues to frustrate, not least today: a dismissal that started England’s vertiginous collapse. Then there’s the question of his bowling, which hasn’t looked all that penetrative, despite his best efforts. Perhaps too up and down to bat in England’s top six, despite his evident class. May find himself at No.8 come July.
KEATON JENNINGS 7/10
A tick in the box on a rough tour. Jennings scored a ton on debut at Mumbai after being drafted in to replace Hameed and he added a maiden fifty at Chennai today, before things went sour. He looks organised, mature and he seems to know his game. It helps that he’s come off a year in county cricket where he hasn’t stopped scoring runs. Not certain to play England’s next home Test (all the way away in July) but far more likely than he was before this tour and not many others will leave with credit in the bank.
ADIL RASHID 6.5/10
Now there’s a man who needs to get his feet up. Just the 232.2 overs for Rash (or 1,394 balls, if you prefer) and he’s done well. As England’s leading wicket-taker with 23 wickets he’s second only to Richie Benaud when it comes to most wickets taken by a leg-spinner in a series in India. He’s been bowled and bowled and bowled again because of the paucity of alternatives, which hasn’t helped him, but he can proud of his efforts. Perhaps still has one too many release balls in him and he’s a batter batsman than some of his sloppy dismissals suggest.
STUART BROAD 6.5/10
England’s best seamer, Broad was missed at Mohali and Mumbai. Four years ago Broad was dropped in India but his game has evolved since then and were there a sixth Test (thank God there isn’t) – with everyone fit and England picking two seamers plus Stokes – you feel Broad would be the first of England’s picks. He’s ready to take over from Anderson now, which is handy because Jimmy can’t have that many series left in him.
JONNY BAIRSTOW 6.5/10
Bairstow may have fell just short of breaking Michael Vaughan’s record for the most runs in a calendar year but he’s had a vintage 2016. He can enjoy Christmas knowing that very few people have done more than he has this year. His batting in India has at times been top-class, but he’ll be frustrated at never reaching three figures. His keeping remains a work in progress, there were one or two missed chances across the series, but he has certainly improved. He’s a hard-working guy and he won’t stop until he’s firing on all fronts.
LIAM DAWSON 6/10
He couldn’t have done much more. It’s a thankless task to be parachuted into the side for a dead rubber on a dead track when many are questioning why you’re there but Dawson demonstrated why the England management think so much of him. His first-innings 60 was crucial for England and he’ll take pride in being England’s most economical spinner in India’s run-fest. Hard to see him playing a Test in an English summer, though, and England aren’t back on the sub-continent for a while.
BEN STOKES 5/10
Never one to shirk a challenge, Ben Stokes has given his all throughout this series and across a winter that’s seen him stretched more than anyone. He’s been an ever-present in all forms since the beginning of the Bangladesh series and with that workload it’s surprising he can still reach the crease, let alone chase every ball to the boundary with madcap enthusiasm. His ton at Rajkot demonstrated he’s really developed his game against spin and his five-fer at Mohali was pure courage. In general, he’s been stymied by a lack of reverse-swing and his batting has tailed off as the series has progressed. Next time he’s in the sub-continent expect him to have added consistency to his game.
JOS BUTTLER 5/10
A return to the Test side for England’s short-form gun, which is progress, but doubts remain over his long-term role in the Test side. Batted well at Mohali and Mumbai but it’s doubtful whether England can continue with a specialist batsman at No.7. Unless he takes the gloves, and Jonny Bairstow would not like that, there may not be room for him in England’s top six. If he really wants it he may have to prove his worth in county cricket, and does he have time for that? Knuckled down admirably amidst the carnage this afternoon.
ALASTAIR COOK 4/10
Hmmm. His last tour as captain? England have not lost here because of his captaincy but some have the feeling that the time is right for him to pass on the baton. With the bat he’s been as consistent as ever, without ever looking as assured as he did four years ago, but he’ll be miffed at getting out to Jadeja on no less than six occasions. Perhaps loses a mark because his returns, while not bad, weren’t enough for a man who is so relied upon. That he’s so totemic is hardly his fault, but England needed him to score more runs.
CHRIS WOAKES 3.5/10
It’s very Chris Woakes that even in his breakthrough year of 2016 he ends up out of the side. It’s been a year to remember for him – a Wisden accolade for one of the five cricketers of the year surely awaits – but he hasn’t had returns to savour on this tour. Bowled well at times, noticeably at Rajkot, and he’s also looked incredibly assured with the bat, especially against spin. Inked into England’s side for their next home Test but all of England’s seamers can look at India’s – especially Mohammed Shami – and wonder how they were out-performed.
JIMMY ANDERSON 2.5/10
His first-innings effort at Vizag was vintage Anderson, but he was never quite able to replicate his form of 2012 when he took 12 wickets at 30. His four wickets this time round came at 53.5 and his strike-rate was up at 118.5. He was as tight as ever, going at under three an over, but the pitches were giving nothing.
JAKE BALL 2/10
A tour not without promise for Jake Ball who’s run in hard on unforgiving tracks. He leap-frogged Steven Finn for the third seamer’s spot at Mumbai and never stopped giving it everything at Chennai, even though it was one of England’s most depressing days in the field ever. One to watch next summer.
ZAFAR ANSARI 2/10
Zafar Ansari didn’t do too much wrong at Rajkot and Vizag but, as many expected, he never looked all that threatening. If he can define his role at Surrey – in terms of where he bats – he’ll continue to be an option for England sub-continent tours. His biggest issue may be the arrival of Liam Dawson, who performed well at Chennai. If England are sure they need a third spinning option to keep it tight and bat a bit (the question is: do they?) then Dawson may well be at the front of the queue now.
GARETH BATTY 1/10
An odd selection in as much as if you don’t want your third spinner to be an offie, don’t pick an offie. Clearly England wanted all three bases covered (leg-spin, off-spin, slow left-arm) so Batty became a bit of a spare part, despite some encouraging spells in his first Test back in Bangladesh. It says much of his perseverance that he came back well at Mohali to bowl a very tight second spell, having been punished the evening before.
BEN DUCKETT 1/10
Not the tour Ben Duckett would have wanted. A technical issue against off-spinners became far too big to ignore, and he’s been out of the side since Vizag. Test cricket is tough. An incredibly talented batsman, though. He’ll come again for England, and he’ll probably be better off for the hard times he’s had to go through here.
STEVEN FINN/GARY BALLANCE 1/10
You have to feel for Steven Finn. Did England need to take this many seamers with them to India? He must be desperate to go home. He remains a fine seamer but his up and down career keeps you guessing. Roll on the English summer and a return to Finn of the 2015 Ashes. Gary Ballance became “unselectable” after Bangladesh and, again, you wonder if it may have been best to send him home. Many still think he has lots of Test runs in him. The stubbornness he possesses when it comes to his technique may serve him well yet.
All Out Cricket’s coverage of the India-England Test series is in association with Southall Travel