England vs. India: Player Ratings for Alastair Cook's XI After 5th Test
Another Test and it's another victory inside three days for England, thanks to India’s complete ineptitude. Their bowlers were largely assisted by India’s batsmen seemingly forgetting how to bat, but that does not take anything away from the big win. England’s batsmen were apt and a few stood out.
Here are the player ratings for England from the fifth and final Test at The Oval. All ratings are subjective, and your thoughts are welcomed in the comments.
While Alastair cook is not quite back to his batting best and still not very good at captaining, his effort at the top of the order was valuable. England clearly wanted to bat just once, and he stabilised the top-order effort with his 125-run stand with Gary Ballance. It wasn’t exactly a captain’s knock, but in the context of his current form, it was invaluable.
Sam Robson has struggled since the second Test, and that struggle for form continued into this Test. He missed a straight ball after looking reasonably comfortable, and while it was a good delivery, a better player or a player in form would have reacted quicker. He had a decent partnership with Cook at the top of the order, but it wasn’t quite good enough under the circumstances.
Gary Ballance got out in a foolish way, which drops his rating down quite significantly. His runs were a valuable contribution, but getting out by tamely poking the ball straight to point was unnecessary. It doesn't matter in the greater scheme of things, of course, but it was a dozy dismissal from a batsman who has been in such good form.
The only reason Ian Bell doesn't get a zero for this Test is because he didn't get out for naught, and he actually managed to take a couple of catches. He got out to a very good ball from Ishant Sharma, but it's not so good that it should get a player out every single time.
Joe Root just keeps on getting better and better and keeps piling on the runs. His unbeaten 149 was a textbook lesson in how to play it cool. It came just quick enough to help assert England’s dominance. It was also calm enough to ensure he didn’t lose his mind when England started a mini collapse.
Root is a supremely talented player and very possibly a future England captain. His classy knocks only reinforced the belief that he is going to become one of the finest players of our generation.
Since becoming a bowler England can rely on, Moeen Ali's batting has suffered a little bit. In this Test, though, he didn't even get to have an impact with the ball. As a result, his rating might be somewhat harsh; however, his struggles with the bat balances it out. He got out by playing on after being caught in two minds. Simply leaving the ball would not have been fine, but his indecision cost him.
Jos Buttler had a decent Test. His effort behind the stumps was more than adequate, and he is growing in stature as a batsman. Although he missed out on a half-century after falling into a trap set by India, his lower-order runs were still more than useful.
Chris Woakes wasn’t very handy with the bat, but he was very good with the ball. Of course England’s bowling unit was helped by India’s ineptitude, but as a rookie, Woakes applied himself aptly. He’s a much better batsman than he showed in this Tests and will only grow in stature from here.
Chris Jordan was the pick of England’s bowlers in this Test, assisted by India’s struggles. Although plenty of his wickets came from the lower order, having somebody who can clean up the tail pretty sharply is a handy asset for any team.
Jordan has much to learn in Test cricket, and since England don’t play again until next year, he can now go and refine his skills on the county circuit and in a shorter format of the game.
Despite having a broken nose, Stuart Broad stepped out at The Oval and still bowled out of his skin. His wickets and his cameo with the bat both played a big part in England’s victory. He only picked up three wickets in the Test, but two of them, MS Dhoni and Che Pujara, were big fish. His ability to build pressure and to support his fellow bowlers also went a long way in England’s three-day romp.
James Anderson might not have surpassed Ian Botham as England’s highest wicket-taker this Test, but he continued to perform out of his skin. Like Broad, Anderson managed to keep things tight in the second innings as he engineered the India capitulation with two early wickets. Although he was a bit more expensive in the first innings, his aggression and his incredible ability to use the crease is a joy to watch.
All quotes obtained firsthand, and all stats are via ESPN Cricinfo.