Marks out of 10: Player ratings for England in their Test series draw with New Zealand
@Ben_Wisden 4 minute read
Ben Gardner rates England’s players out of 10 after their Test series draw with New Zealand.
Ben Duckett – 6.5
151 runs at 37.75, HS: 84
Set the tone with nine boundaries in the first 10 overs in the series, but contributed little thereafter. Should still start the Ashes, however.
Zak Crawley – 2
58 runs at 14.50, HS: 28
Is Crawley’s time up? He failed to pass 30 in the series, despite receiving several reprieves, and rarely suggested any permanence. He has a high score of 41 since the first Pakistan Test and is surely the most vulnerable when Jonny Bairstow returns to fitness.
Ollie Pope – 5
115 runs at 28.75, HS: 49
Still searching for his Surrey relentlessness at Test level, Pope has made it to 40 four times in his last seven innings, but hasn’t passed 60 in that time. Earns a point for some stunning work as a close-in fielder.
Joe Root – 8.5
After falling reversing twice in the first Test, Root was imperious in the second – two notable blips aside, for which he’s been docked half a point, running out Harry Brook and then holing out in sight of what would surely have been a match-winning hundred. Doesn’t owe England anything, as he suggested between Tests, though if he feels like he does, on this evidence, that’s no bad thing.
Harry Brook – 9.5
329 runs at 82.25, HS: 186; 1 wicket at 25
Brook’s record-breaking start in Test cricket continued in style. His only dismissal below 50 came after being barbequed by Root, though Brook may also have been partly at fault, and he finished second in the bowling averages too, prising out Kane Williamson to seemingly turn the second Test England’s way.
Ben Stokes – 4
110 runs at 27.50, HS: 33; 1 wicket at 54
The follow-on was arguably a first major strategic mis-step as England captain. Considering his own fitness, the unchanged attack, and the pitch with few demons, a second dig was always likely to be a lengthy one, and England were, in the end, fortunate to keep the target close to 250.
In terms of his batting and bowling, a troublesome knee kept Stokes to two strange overs in the second Test and hindered him again in the chase, though he knuckled down admirably after his approach with the bat was criticised – perhaps unfairly, with England declaring not long after – in the first innings at the Basin Reserve. All that said, he captained England to a series draw, a creditable result given England hadn’t won a Test in New Zealand in 15 years before this tour.
Ben Foakes – 6.5
124 runs at 31, HS: 51
A quietly vital fifty in the first Test, two crucially consummate pieces of glovework in the second, and a cool-headed innings to so nearly take England home. He might not see himself as being ‘Bazball’, but he has offered plenty to England so far.
Ollie Robinson – 7
6 wickets at 33.83, BBI: 4-54
Bowled much better than his figures suggest, especially in a parsimonious first-innings performance at Wellington. All signs continue to point to him being a properly special bowler.
Jack Leach – 7
10 wickets at 34.60, BBI: 5-157
Another steady, reliable performance, with Leach bowling his arm off as England strove to break New Zealand down in the follow on. Pope makes him look significantly more threatening, turning quarter-chances into wickets and discouraging batters from coming forward.
James Anderson – 8
10 wickets at 16.80, BBI: 4-18
Still, somehow, extending his peak to new heights at the age of 40. Who’s to say he can’t keep going after the Ashes?
Stuart Broad – 6.5
10 wickets at 26.10, BBI: 4-49
The least consistent of England’s seamers, though a memorable new-ball spell in the first Test showed he’s still got plenty to offer, and a belated appearance in the Nighthawk role shows he’s still loving life under Stokes and McCullum.