England vs Sri Lanka: Players Ratings for Alastair Cook's XI After 2nd Test

Freddie Wilde@@fwildecricketContributor IJune 25, 2014

England vs Sri Lanka: Players Ratings for Alastair Cook's XI After 2nd Test

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    England have lost their thrilling two match Test series against Sri Lanka in dramatic fashion, the visitors taking the final wicket of the penultimate delivery of the second Test to take the match and the series. 

    The Headingley Test was a topsy-turvy one generating both heroes and villains on both sides. 

    This slideshow will evaluate the performances of England's eleven players and rank them out of ten. 

    Click 'Begin Slideshow' to discover who got what.

Alastair Cook: 0

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    It was hard to imagine after the horrors of the winter that Cook's captaincy could plummet any lower, but these were arguably the worst days of his career, and his tenure as captain is now under immense pressure.

    Twice Cook failed with the bat to compound his misery in the field. Not only is he captaining poorly but his batting slump is so protracted it can now be called his reality. England have sacrificed Cook's runs for his captaincy, but he's offering almost nothing in either department.

Sam Robson: 8

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    Dave Thompson/Getty Images

    Robson's first innings century was a performance of real toughness. Having failed twice at Lord's, doubts were quickly mounting over his suitability for Test cricket. However, in the ugly and gritty fashion that defines him, Robson battled hard and long to score a century that should ensure his selection for the foreseeable future.

Gary Ballance: 7

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    This was another encouraging Test match for England's new number three. His seventy in the first innings to go alongside his century at Lord's have banished doubts that Ballance is not of Test ability as well as beginning to justify the management's decision to bat him at three. 

    Sterner tests will arrive, if not against India, then in the more distant future, but Ballance—a pugnacious and varied batsmen—has, like Robson, secured his selection for the time being. 

Ian Bell: 6

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    Dave Thompson/Getty Images

    This was a disappointing performance by England's best batsmen in his hundredth Test. A fluent and elegant fifty was ended in all too predictable fashion with a weak dismissal, and his second innings dismissal was the final nail in the coffin for England's hopes. He was just one of a number of more senior players who failed to step and assist flailing captain Cook on numerous occasions, not least with the bat.

    Bell fronted up to the media after England's catastrophic fourth day, which was perhaps a suggestive nod towards the responsibility he could soon be alleviating from Cook's shoulders.

Joe Root: 5

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Despite scoring a double century in the Lord’s Test it would not be inaccurate to say in this second Test where Root didn’t score more than 50 runs, we learnt more about him as a person and a player.

    Root was very conspicuous in his willingness to chat back to Sri Lankan fielders and was the target of a lot of sledging but didn’t back down. Root failed to score big but hung around for a long time in the second innings. It was his feisty character that came to the foremost however. 

Moeen Ali: 9

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Ali’s unbeaten second-innings century was one of the finest innings played by an Englishman in modern times. A truly incredible feat of longevity, focus and discipline, Ali has secured his spot in the side for the considerable future. It was an innings so good it seemed almost unfair he ended up on the losing side.

Matt Prior: 2

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Prior, like Cook, had an awful Test match. Both with the bat and more obviously with the gloves Prior was well, well below his usually high standards.

    On the long and tiring fourth day his presence in the field was not obvious. His days are numbered as an international player unless things improve fast. He can consider himself unlucky to be dismissed of what seemed to be a no-ball in the second innings however.

Chris Jordan: 5

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    A slightly underwhelming performance from England's great new hope. Jordan bowled OK but struggled to string together many probing balls, too often releasing the pressure. He batted with fortitude on the final day.

Liam Plunkett: 8

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Plunkett was certainly England's best player in this Test and arguably alongside Ballance, the find of the series. He thoroughly deserved his five-wicket haul on the first day and stuck to his task well on the long fourth day. Plunkett's tireless bowling is exactly the kind of thing the attack needed.

Stuart Broad: 3

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    Dave Thompson/Getty Images

    Broad did not appear fully fit during this Test. His pace was down and normal zip absent. His drifting sub-80-miles-per-hour half-volleys were all too easily dealt with by Sri Lanka.

    Broad does not enjoy bowling at Headingley, but this was poor by his recent high standards. He needs to prepare himself to become the leader of this attack and suggestions that he was doing so were not in evidence during this Test.

James Anderson: 2

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Perhaps the most concerning thing about this Test was the performance of Anderson. Not only was he down on pace, appeared tired and lacked penetration, but Anderson's assistance to Cook on the fourth day was conspicuous by its absence.

    Anderson is the leader of this attack, but his failure to take on responsibility and rise to the challenge was extremely concerning. His body is tiring, and perhaps his mind is too. His tears after his epic resistance on the final day perhaps reveal the extent of his ennui.