@Yas_Wisden minute read
After their win in the opening Test in Chennai, the wheels quickly came off for England.
They fell to a 3-1 series defeat at the hands of an impressive India side who will join New Zealand in this year’s World Test Championship final.
England scored 578 in the first innings of the series but passed 200 just once thereafter as India’s spin pair of Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin dominated the series.
Here’s how the 17 players used by England across the series fared:
Dom Sibley: 3/10
134 runs @ 16.75, one fifty; HS: 87
Sibley’s 87 on the opening day of the series helped to build the foundation that England’s first Test victory was built upon. That was very much Sibley’s peak of the series. From that moment on, he averaged less than seven as he became one of a number of English batsmen to struggle against Axar and Ashwin.
Zak Crawley: 3/10
67 runs @ 16.75, one fifty; HS: 53
Crawley has now been dismissed by spin in nine consecutive innings in Test cricket. When he did come up against pace, he looked good; his fluent 53 in the day/night Test was one of the few bright spots in a chastening defeat.
Rory Burns: 2/10
58 runs @ 14.50, no fifties; HS: 33
Dropped after the second Test, Burns will rue not making the most of his start on what was the flattest deck of the series in the opener at Chennai.
Jonny Bairstow: 2/10
28 runs @ 7, no fifties; HS: 28
Three ducks in four innings for Bairstow after his return from some time off in the UK. It’s not out of the question that this turns out to be his final outing in Test cricket; since the start of 2019, Bairstow averages 20.04 in Test cricket with a highest score of 52 from 27 innings.
Joe Root: 8/10
368 runs @ 46, one hundred; HS: 218
6 wickets @ 23.50; BBI: 5-8
Root’s double-hundred in the opening Test feels like an eternity ago. Without it, England almost certainly would have been staring down the barrel of a 4-0 defeat. Root probably bowled as well as he ever has for England and should almost certainly have bowled more than the 45 overs he sent down across the series.
Ben Stokes: 5/10
203 runs @ 25.37, two fifties; HS: 82
5 wickets @ 30.60; BBI: 4-89
That Stokes averaged 25 and ended up as his side’s second highest run-scorer rather sums up the series for England. There were brief flashes of Stokes at his best with the bat, but little more.
Dan Lawrence: 5/10
149 runs @ 24.84, one fifty; HS: 50
Struggled at three – where he has rarely batted at for Essex – but was a welcome addition to the side batting at seven in the series finale, adding a touch of respectability to both innings.
Ollie Pope: 3/10
153 runs @ 19.12, no fifties; HS: 34
A high score of 34 across eight innings sums up a disappointing series for Pope; he was so frenetic at the crease that his wicket rarely felt far away.
Jos Buttler: 5/10
54 runs @ 27, no fifties; HS: 30
When Buttler flew home after one Test with a series-best score of 30, you wouldn’t have imagined that he would finish second in the England batting averages. He kept well in the Chennai win and while he would have been unlikely to overturn the results of the three Tests he missed, England were a weaker outfit without him.
Ben Foakes: 4/10
78 runs @ 15.60, no fifties; HS: 42*
Foakes’ army of online devotees got a rare glimpse of their man doing his thing in Test cricket and he didn’t disappoint as he kept beautifully across his three Tests in the team. With the bat, his defence was compact but his returns diminished after his 42 not out in the second Test.
Moeen Ali: 7/10
49 runs @ 24.50, no fifties; HS: 43
Eight wickets @ 28.25; BBI: 4-98
Moeen was England’s leading run-scorer and leading wicket-taker in his sole outing of the series; he was sorely missed in the series’ last two Tests as England lost confidence in Dom Bess.
Jack Leach: 6.5/10
18 wickets @ 28.72; BBI: 28.72
A good series for Leach. Ever dependable and showed mettle in bouncing back from the Pant onslaught he received in the first Test. While he ends the series as England’s undisputed first choice spinner – something that was in doubt at the start of the winter – he was comfortably out-bowled by Axar and Ashwin.
Dom Bess: 3/10
Five wickets @ 39.40; BBI: 4-76
It all started so well for Bess. His four-for in India’s first innings at Chennai was arguably his best performance in Test cricket, prising all of Pujara, Kohli, Rahane and Pant as England secured a 241-run first innings lead. It then fell apart. Inconsistent in the second innings, he was taken out of the firing line for the second and third Tests before struggling on return in the series finale. It’s easy to forget how young he is given how much Test cricket he’s played; you’d hope that a spell back in county cricket will do him good.
Jofra Archer: 6/10
Four wickets @ 30.50; BBI: 2-75
Picked up crucial new ball wickets in England’s first Test victory and was rendered superfluous by conditions in his other outing, the two-day defeat at Ahmedabad.
Olly Stone: 8/10
Four wickets @ 17; BBI: 3-47
Stone was excellent in the second Test at Chennai and can count himself unlucky that he didn’t make another appearance all series. Barring injury, you’d think he’s done enough to show that he’ll be a threat during next winter’s Ashes.
Stuart Broad: 3/10
No wickets, 78 runs conceded
Ineffective in the second Test at Chennai where he was out-bowled by Stone, Broad also went wicketless during the day/night Test.
James Anderson: 9/10
Eight wickets @ 15.87; BBI: 3-17
Another impeccable series for the 38-year-old. His double-wicket burst in the first Test will live long in the memory and the way he led a weakened four-man attack in the series finale was a testament to both his skill and his enduring physical fitness.
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