The Cricketer
Owen Riley Owen Riley


Root secures series win in first as skipper

Alastair Cook

268 runs @ 33.50, HS 88

A fairly solid series from a solid batsman. Nothing too much to shout about one way or the other, Cook just keeps on keeping on, 11,325 Test runs to his name. His first-innings knock (88) at The Oval was decisive in difficult conditions.


Keaton Jennings

127 runs @ 15.87, HS 48

Kagiso Rabada is sprawled out on the Old Trafford deck, Dukes ball - 10 deliveries old – is rolling away having escaped his grasp. Keaton Jennings has used up a life – one of several he has been given in his nascent Test career – but he would not make South Africa pay for any of their drops.

Jennings struggled throughout the series, Vernon Philander had the opener, like thick-cut marmalade... on toast.

He can consider himself unlucky in the first innings at Lord’s – where if he had reviewed, he would have been saved - who knows how that innings would have materialised...

Trevor Bayliss has not closed the door on Keaton, stating that England will need to take three openers to Australia, with Jennings likely to remain in the conversation.


Tom Westley

122 runs @ 30.50, HS 59

The Essex man appeared unfazed coming in at a tricky No.3. He produced some attractive strokeplay - scoring 75.4% of his runs in boundaries - that the Chelmsford faithful have long been treated to. He left well for the most part but produced a couple of loose shots against high-quality bowling. Better to be positive than tentative.


Gary Ballance

85 runs @ 21.25, HS 34

A fractured digit halved his series. Ballance showed some grit and determination on the evening of day three at Lord’s, alongside Cook, runs his captian described as being worth double under the circumstances. If Root is keen for Balance to be part of the side, then an average of 21.25 – although unspectacular – does not rule him out of the equation. The issues continue however, he gets too far back in his crease, there is a lack of footwork; if he gets another go, these problems must be eradicated.


Joe Root

461 runs @ 57.62, HS 190

A 3-1 victory, 190 at Lord’s, 461 runs at 57.62, Root’s first series has gone well from an individual perspective. There have been some questionable reviews along the way but three comprehensive wins over the world’s No.2 ranked Test side are not be sniffed at. His comments regarding the desire for his team to reach new levels and develop more consistency are encouraging.


Dawid Malan

35 runs @ 8.75, HS 18

Malan’s two Tests have not resulted in a great deal. After an electric white-ball debut, his performance in the test arena was less convincing. To be judge don just two Tests would be harsh, but with players returning form injury and others impressing in county cricket, his first foray into five-day international cricket may be short lived.


Ben Stokes

7 wickets @ 43.00, BBI 2 for 34; 299 runs @ 37.37, HS 112;

In a series lacking in centuries, Stokes’ hundred at The Oval was one to be admired for its rambunctiousness and restraint in equal measure. He can add two fifties to it as his batting and bowling averages near the crossing point.

Stokes has produced some wonderful spells of bowling in his career to date, but they are reasonably few and far between. On that front he has some way to go before the Botham comparisons can be taken seriously; Beefy had taken 14 five-wicket hauls compared to Stokes’ three at the same stage of their careers.


Jonny Bairstow

330 runs @ 41.25, HS 99; 17 catches

Watching Bairstow fall for 99 at Old Trafford was like watching a childhood pet get run down by a juggernaut. Cruel so it was, one miserly run short of a fourth Test hundred, but the 99 that went before it were a joy to behold. Bairstow’s glovework has improved markedly from a year or two ago, where in almost every Test there were questions over ability behind the stumps, those have not completely subsided, but they are far rarer.


Moeen Ali

25 wickets @ 15.64, BBI 6 for 53; 252 runs @ 36.00, HS 87

He is England’s second spinner, honest, a batsman that bowls a bit. If that’s what Moeen needs to hear, then so be it. Allow him to believe Nessie is the real deal and that the moon landings were filmed in a Hollywood basement, as long as he continues to get the job done.

Alongside Moeen, Sir Richard Hadlee is the only other player to take 20+ wickets and score 250+ runs in a Test series of up to four matches.


Liam Dawson

5 wickets @ 33.80, BBI 2 for 34; 18 runs @ 6.00, HS 13

Dawson’s two-match series was as uninspiring as his initial selection. A solid cricketer but one that does not have the tools to take England to the next level. Mason Crane has been invited to the pre-Edgbaston Test training, the youngster could leapfrog his Hampshire team-mate between now and November.


Toby Roland-Jones

10 wickets @ 22.20, BBI 5 for 57; 63 runs @ 21.00, HS 25

Roland-Jones has enjoyed an excellent start to life as a Test cricketer and has given the selectors a pleasant headache. A five-for in his first innings, and the removal of Hashim Amla three consecutive times points to his talent. He has three Tests to prove his consistency if he is to force his way into the Ashes starting XI.


Stuart Broad

11 wickets @ 32.00, BBI 3 for 46; 77 runs @ 12.83, HS 57*

Similarly to Morne Morkel, Broad’s numbers are probably somewhat unkind to his series’ work. The Notts man was bowling some absolute jaffas on the final morning at Old Trafford, he’ll be looking to getting his hands on the pink ball at Edgbaston. Rarely does it with the bat these days but his unbeaten 57 at Lord’s was highly entertaining.


Mark Wood

1 wicket @ 197.00, BBI 1 for 3; 34 runs @ 8.50, HS 28

Lined up as an impact bowler for the tour of Australia, Wood’s Test summer has hardly burst into life – with just the one wicket in two Tests – and the body has broken down again. With Roland-Jones impressing and Chris Woakes returning, the Durham bowler faces a fight for his place in the team.


Jimmy Anderson

20 wickets @ 14.10, BBI 5 for 72; 19 runs @ 6.33, HS 12

Picked up his best match figures of the series at Old Trafford, bowling from his own end. Only Moeen took more wickets than Anderson, who has once again shown there aren’t many better than he in English conditions. With 487 Test wickets, Jimmy is closing in on Courtney Walsh's tally.