England Second Test Ratings vs Pakistan

Once again, England came agonisingly short, this time in forcing a draw, in the second Test in Dubai. Adil Rashid’s painful slap to cover with just 6.3 overs left means England can’t win their first series in the UAE and have it all to do to square the series at Sharjah. There were, yet again some standout, performers for England amongst others who have their places under threat for the final match.

England Second Test Ratings:

Alastair Cook – 6/10

Once again, Cook was looking supremely comfortable in the first innings before a Pakistan’s clever plan of having him caught at leg slip worked perfectly off the bowling of Yasir Shah. After long stints in the field with Pakistan flaying runs in the first and second innings especially, England’s captain was suffering from back and groin problems and didn’t look himself as England began their quest to save the match, as he fell early for 10. It was tough for him to captain out in the field, but he was still open to innovative ways to get the Pakistani batsmen out, which is good to see. England will be praying he is fit for Sharjah.

Moeen Ali – 4/10

Disappointing with the bat, as scores of just one in both innings don’t look to be justifying his promotion as an opener. It would be a perfectly valid question to ask why England would restrict the freedom that he plays with, which was what made him so dangerous in the Ashes, by moving him to a position where much more discipline is required. It is, therefore, hard to see him opening in South Africa. Ali bowled well, however, keeping tight lines and providing further evidence that he is an ever improving off-spinner. He also passed 50 wickets for England, and has the best strike-rate of an England spinner to reach the landmark.

Ian Bell – 5/10

Things just aren’t going right for Bell at the moment. He received a beauty from Imran Khan in the first innings as England were looking for a strong reply to Pakistan’s 378. Yet he produced a gritty performance of 46 from 122 balls in his second knock and added 102 with Joe Root – just what England needed after the openers’ early departure. However, he gloved a catch off Babar shortly before the close on day four, and perhaps threw away all of his hard work. It is no secret that these aren’t his favoured conditions but England seem to have a lot of faith in Bell to nail down the no.3 slot for the near future.

Joe Root – 8/10

Superb once again with the bat, scoring 88 and 71 respectively. The skill and confidence he breeds is exemplary and is already a crucial cog to England’s brittle middle order. Always looks to be positive and keeps the scoreboard ticking over whatever the situation, as well as having an average of 92.33 in the series so far. Will be frustrated to yet again miss out on a hundred though and his country will need him to go big in Sharjah if they are to produce their first win in the UAE.

Jonny Bairstow – 5/10

Got starts in both innings as England needed big middle order partnerships. Instead, in the first innings, England produced a collapse that cost them the match, while Bairstow was trying to hold the innings together. Nonetheless, the Yorkshireman is a player England need to invest a lot of time in, purely down to the excellent scoring ability he possesses. He is likely to have a different role in the next Test, however, as he is tipped to take the gloves from Jos Buttler and move down to six. England need him to perform in order to arrest these middle-order slides.

Ben Stokes – 3/10

Bowled with a lot of heart as usual but had little to show for his efforts on a dying pitch. Looks to be struggling with the bat and seems to have been unable to find his timing ever since that sparkling 87 at Lord’s in the Ashes. Batted for 66 balls in the second dig but as England reflect on the ifs and buts of this Test, they may wonder if only Stokes had batted a bit longer when set, the match may have been saved. 76 runs from four innings is a worrying return for a man of his ability. England need stability in the middle order and the form of Stokes will need to improve in order for that to happen.

Jos Buttler – 2/10

It is no secret that Buttler’s position is under fierce scrutiny after yet another pair of failures in this Test. The 25-year-old possesses a lot of ability, as we have seen before, but he doesn’t seem to have made up his mind on what approach he should take in Test matches with the bat. Many, including Sir Ian Botham are calling for Buttler to have a rest, as the workload of keeping wicket in all three formats may be finally taking its toll on him. On a positive note, he kept very tidily.

Adil Rashid – 7/10

Produced a magnificent effort with the bat that almost pulled off a remarkable rescue act for England. His 61 off 172 gives comfort to England supporters that he will be a fine lower order player in the future. Tried hard with the ball also but, like Stokes couldn’t find many breakthroughs in the wickets column. Offers something different with his guile and flight and it looks like it will be a straight shootout with Moeen Ali at Sharjah to decide who England’s spinner will be for the first Test in South Africa.

Mark Wood – 8/10

England’s best bowler in this Test by far. He bowled with hostility, pace and discipline and, most importantly, had wickets to show for his efforts. Picked up 3-39 off 19.5 overs in the first innings in what has to be his best bowling display for his country so far on a flat wicket. In addition, was heroic with the bat in seeing out nearly 30 overs with Rashid as England came so close to another great escape. Has plenty batting ability and should become a handy no.10 for England, who will hope his dodgy ankle stays in shape for Sharjah.

Stuart Broad – 6/10

Little reward with the ball for Broad in this Test, but he at least bowled relatively tightly when the going really got tough in both innings. Like Anderson, offers plenty of control when the wickets are drying up, which is important. Was another member of the lower order which nearly pulled England towards a remarkable draw. The confidence and freedom which once made him a very dangerous player with the bat looks to be finally reappearing after the damaging blow he received from Varon Aaron last summer.

James Anderson – 7/10

Showed immense skill yet again on a dry surface, especially in the second innings, where his 2-22 off 15 overs at least offered England a curb on the Pakistani run scoring. His ability to offer virtually nothing to the batsmen in such unforgiving conditions is a testament to his fitness and quality as a fast bowler. He has become an extremely consistent bowler and is ever creeping up the list on the all time Test wicket takers.