England suffered yet another damaging defeat on their tour of India, this time losing by an innings and 36 runs to go 3-0 down in the series. Here is how the players fared:
Alastair Cook (c) – 5/10
After getting himself set in the first innings, Cook will be very disappointed with the way he gave his wicket away. England were well set on 99-0 and Cook, on 46, was scoring at a strike rate of 76. So to come down the wicket and try and launch Ravindra Jadeja into the stands was a strange decision. His problems against Jadeja continued in the second innings, being trapped lbw by once again moving too far across his stumps.
The 31-year-old did not have a great captaincy display either, with the decision of not bowling Adil Rashid to Murali Vijay early on day three and there being too many easy singles for Vijay and Virat Kohli proving deleterious to England’s chances. However, Cook should not be blamed for the defeat as dropped catches and poor application with the bat were the real reasons behind England’s loss.
Keaton Jennings – 7/10
Made a magnificent debut hundred on day one. After suffering a nervy start, Jennings looked totally at home in the Test arena. What was most impressive was the way he played spin, combining a good judgement of length with some impressive execution of shots. It was his knock that laid the foundations for England’s first innings score of 400. Unfortunately, Jennings got a duck second time around, with some sharp swing from Bhuvneshwar Kumar proving his undoing. However, Jennings looks like he is here to stay in Test cricket.
Joe Root – 7/10
Failed to capitalise on a good start in the first innings, with Ravi Ashwin exploiting Root’s vulnerability of driving against the spin outside off-stump. Nevertheless, Root played beautifully on day four, scoring 77 at a strike rate of just under 70 when most of the other England batsmen struggled against Ashwin and Jadeja. The 25-year-old will have wanted to convert that 77 into something more substantial, though, and the conversion rate from pretty knocks into substantial ones is perhaps the difference between him and Virat Kohli at the moment. Also dropped a crucial catch at slip from Jayant Yadav, who went on to make 104.
Moeen Ali – 5/10
Moeen looked good in the first innings, scoring 50 and combining in a partnership of 94 with Jennings. Yet his mode of dismissals, not just in this match, but in the whole series is a concern. The left-hander gave it away on day one by slog sweeping one up in the air. Moeen also failed to keep the ball down in the second innings, flicking a sharp turning delivery from Jadeja to leg gully for zero. It looks like Moeen will be dropping down the order once again after this series.
Toiled hard without much reward with the ball, bowling 53 overs and picking up just two wickets. One of those, the dismissal of KL Rahul, showed how effective Moeen’s off spin can be when he gets it right.
Jonny Bairstow (wk) – 6/10
Threw his wicket away in the first innings, sweeping to deep backward square leg, as England went from 230-2 to 249-5. Bairstow showed much more application in his second knock, however, scoring 51 and putting on 92 with Root. Once the Yorkshire man was undone by an Ashwin carrom ball on day five, England’s hopes were all but over. Apart from a missed stumping off Murali Vijay – a costly miss – Bairstow gave another solid keeping display and to be out in the field for over 182 overs and then continue his great form with the bat was a commendable effort.
Ben Stokes – 5/10
Was unlucky to be given out on review when set on 31 in the first-innings after ultra-sound revealed the slightest nick. Yet his dismissal on day four, out reverse-sweeping, after England had recovered from 49-3 to 180-4 was an unnecessary shot in the circumstances. It started an England collapse from 180-4 to 195 all out.
Stokes only bowled 10 out of 182.3 overs in India’s innings, with the pitch offering very little for the pacemen. England could perhaps use Stokes more often with the ball, as he has the ability to produce decisive spells.
Jos Buttler – 7/10
Made a very impressive 76 in the first innings. What was most pleasing was not just the attacking strokes that Buttler played on day two – something we all know he can do – but it was the way that he grafted through a tough late day one spell from Ashwin and Jadeja. Buttler’s knock proved that he is an improving all-round batsman and can show application when required. Ran out of partners in the second innings, finishing on six not out.
Chris Woakes – 4/10
Was largely ineffective with the ball. Admittedly, the pitch was unresponsive, yet Woakes lacked control, going at 4.93 runs an over as he struggled to contain the rampant Kohli. Batting-wise, the all-rounder was unlucky to receive a cracking delivery from Jadeja in the first innings but played a loose shot against Ashwin on day five when he needed to stick with Buttler.
Adil Rashid – 6/10
A long slog for Rashid. He bowled a mammoth 55.3 overs in India’s innings, as the lack of a third spinner increased the workload on his shoulders. The 28-year-old chipped away, picking up four wickets, yet he did not provide the same threat as he did in the earlier stages of this series. Dropped a tough chance from Kohli off his own bowling when the Indian captain was on 68, which proved a very costly miss. Also failed again with the bat, scoring just six runs in the match, with his dismissal on day five particularly profligate.
Jake Ball – 6/10
A surprising inclusion considering the spinning nature of the pitch, Ball bowled with good pace and a lot of heart, going at just 2.61 runs an over. Took the key wicket of Pujara from just the second ball of day three to give his side a chance. His 31 in the first innings must also be given a mention, as he crucially combined with Buttler to help England to that all-important score of 400.
James Anderson – 5/10
Another wicketless Test for Anderson, who has taken just four scalps since coming back into the side in Visakhapatnam. A bonus with Anderson, however, is that when the wicket column dries up he manages to keep things tight through some disciplined line and length bowling. This Test was no different, as the Lancastrian went at just over three runs per over when the likes of Woakes and the spinners were proving more expensive. He should have had a wicket when he took the outside edge of Jayant Yadav’s bat, only for Root to shell the chance at slip.