England vs. India: Player Ratings for Alastair Cook's XI After 1st Test
As expected, England and India played out a draw on the final day of the first Test of their eagerly anticipated five-match series at Trent Bridge on Sunday after the tourists declared their second innings on 391 for nine, giving them a lead of 352.
The following slides will show how all 11 of the home team’s players rated in Nottingham.
Alastair Cook (C)—6
Cook made just five runs in England’s first innings to continue what has been a truly miserable time with the bat for the opener this year.
However, the skipper did show some much-needed invention in the field in both of India’s two innings, in stark contrast to his efforts in the previous Test defeat to Sri Lanka at Headingley.
And a maiden Test match wicket right at the end, when the 29-year-old dismissed Ishant Sharma, brought a much-needed smile to the captain's face.
It was another impressive performance from the young Australia-born opener, Sam Robson. The 25-year-old compiled a trouble-free 59 during an excellent 125-run second-wicket partnership with Gary Balance in England’s first innings.
Clearly, it's still very early days in the Middlesex batsman’s Test career but whisper it quietly; this guy already looks like the real deal.
Gary Ballance – 8
Like Robson, yet again a hugely encouraging display with the bat from the Yorkshire No. 3 in the home side’s first innings, when 24-year-old Gary Ballance made his second half-century in only his fourth Test match.
In fact, the dogged left-handed batsmen has made such an assured start to his England career that calls for the return of Jonathan Trott can now barely be heard.
Ian Bell, the 32-year-old, played another attractive-looking knock in the first innings, while it lasted that is, which sadly for England and the capacity crowd at Trent Bridge on Friday, was all of 37 balls for his 25 runs.
In fact, perhaps the Warwickshire player’s biggest contribution over the five days was his stunning catch to get rid of Cheteshwar Pujara when the key India batsman looked well set in the tourists’ first innings.
Two hundreds in Joe Root's last three Test matches, for the young Yorkshire tyro, now shows that England’s selectors made the right call when deciding to move the 23-year-old down the order after his travails against the new ball in the last two Ashes series.
And the way in which the middle-order batsman managed to shepherd the tail in England’s first innings—while adding 294 runs for the final three wickets—demonstrated a maturity beyond his years, all of which bodes well for the future.
It was a disappointing first-innings performance with the bat for Moeen Ali, after the Worcestershire star gloved a Mohammed Shami bouncer straight to first slip, having made just 14. While as many had feared ahead of this series, India’s batsmen tucked into the 25-year-old’s part-time off-spin with some relish.
However, the tweaker was much more threatening in the tourists’ second innings on a fourth- and fifth-day pitch—as would be expected—in picking up three for 105 from his 28 overs.
And Ali also managed a far better economy rate of 3.75 runs per over, compared to the first innings when the off-spinner finished with one for 97 from just 18 overs at an alarming rate of 5.38 RPO.
Matt Prior (WK)—5
Another worrying display with the gloves by wicketkeeper Matt Prior, after his costly regulation drop to spare Kumar Sangakkara at Leeds effectively cost England the second Test with Sri Lanka last time out.
This time at Nottingham, it was an equally big drop from the Sussex stumper—who came into the match nursing a calf problem—to hand opposition captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni a life at the start of Day 2, and to compound matters, the 32-year-old was then wrongly given out caught behind for just five in England’s first innings.
For Ben Stokes, this was the much-hyped all-rounder’s first Test since the final Ashes encounter with Australia in Sydney at the turn of the year. And while the Durham youngster failed with the bat after being dismissed for a duck, his bowling again offered much encouragement for the future.
And the one thing that you can always guarantee from the 23-year-old are wickets, with the New Zealand-born star picking up two more in India’s first innings, and this was accomplished, despite sustaining an apparent twinge in his side on Day 1 of the match.
The Nottinghamshire star, Stuart Broad, just loves playing on his home ground—he memorably took a hat-trick at Trent Bridge last time India toured in 201—and the 28-year-old was the pick of England’s bowlers at Nottingham.
In the first innings Broad’s figures of two for 53 from 33 overs were truly outstanding, while second time around they were equally good, as the all-rounder picked up two for 50 off 25 overs, and on both occasions the paceman captured the prize scalp of Virat Kohli.
And that’s before we even begin to mention his rousing 42-ball 47 when England batted, a knock that proved to be the catalyst to the home side’s impressive recovery on Day 4.
Sure, 29-year-old Liam Plunkett can generate impressive pace at times with his bowling; however, as we saw in India’s second innings, the paceman can also go at a hefty 4.25 runs per over.
So would the England selectors not be better off picking either Steven Finn or Chris Jordan in his place for the second Test, which gets underway at Lord’s on Thursday?
If you had been told prior to the Test that the England seamer, James Anderson, would be Man of the Match in Nottingham, then few would have been that surprised, especially given that Trent Bridge is the 31-year-old’s most successful international venue to bowl at.
However, what would have caused more than a few raised eyebrows was the reason for the Lancastrian award, that being his maiden half-century and highest Test score of 81 in the home side’s first innings, as both he and Joe Root added a world-record 198 together for the last wicket.
Not only that, though, but the paceman also bowled with no little skill either during both Indian innings in recoding match figures of four for 170, with 18 maidens, from his 59 overs at an economy rate of only 2.73 RPO on a featherbed of a pitch.
Oh, and throw in a brilliant run-out to see the back of opposition skipper MS Dhoni, and it was a game to remember for Jimmy.