It was a scintillating series, with a number of close run chases and momentum swings which belied the 4-1 scoreline. But who’s stock rose and who has seen them move to the back of the pecking order? We run our eye over our top 5 winners and losers across the sides.
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Virat Kohli (5 matches, 593 runs @ 59.3) – Will feel hard done by with a 4-1 scoreline but led his side masterfully. Further evidenced why he is the best batsman in the world, scoring 593 runs, over 200 more than anybody else, with two hundreds in conditions where he has previously struggled the most. Delivered where a number of his fellow batsmen were unable to.
James Anderson (5 matches, 24 wickets @ 18.1) – The evergreen Anderson once again evidenced why he is now the greatest pace bowler of all time, surpassing Glenn McGrath to claim his 564th test scalp to close the series as the leading wicket taker. His ability to swing both the new and old balls is unrivalled and as McGrath said, it feels highly unlikely in today’s modern age that anyone will ever replicate his longevity in the test format.
Sam Curran (4 matches, 272 runs @ 38.9, 11 wickets @ 23.5) – voted England’s man of the series by his Indian counterparts, it’s been quite a series for the youngest Curran brother. His gutsy batting displays added match winning runs in a tail that has so often failed for England, while his aggressive bowling claimed vital wickets throughout. Remains to be seen as to whether he will be able to perform effectively outside of English conditions, but the youngster will almost certainly have the chance to prove himself this winter.
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Joe Root (5 matches, 319 runs @ 35.4) – Made the shortlist for his successful performance as captain if nothing else. Under pressure going into the series following a dismal winter down under and disappointing drawn series vs. Pakistan to start the summer, Root’s side evidenced real strides to beat the #1 Ranked test side 4-1, no matter how much they were assisted by winning every single coin toss. A number of concerns remain about this England team but the improvement was quicker than anticipated, while scoring his first test match hundred in a year will be a major relief.
Ishant Sharma (5 matches, 18 wickets @ 24.3) – A brilliant return from India’s veteran seamer. Finished with a bowling average of 24 in foreign conditions, causing England’s openers all sorts of problems throughout, leading one of India’s strongest line ups for some time which pushed England all the way.
Keaton Jennings (5 matches, 163 runs @ 18.1) – Was provided a second chance in test cricket following the disappointing form of Mark Stoneman, but failed to grasp his chance, averaging just 18 in the series. Looked all at sea by the end with two horrible dismissals from poorly judged leaves, although the retirement of Alastair Cook and a lack of alternates may just bide him enough time to shine this winter, although this is surely last chance saloon.
Adil Rashid (5 matches, 119 runs @ 19.8, 10 wickets @ 30.9) – Feels a harsh inclusion given his Warne-esque delivery that turned the final test in the closing hours, but given the pages of debate about the merits of his inclusion in the test side before the series began, Rashid underperformed. Bowled only 87 overs in 5 tests and was outshone by Moeen Ali in the fourth test (who bowled 76 overs in just 2 matches). The magic ball may well have secured his place on the plane to Sri Lanka, however.
Dinesh Karthik (2 matches, 21 runs @ 5.25) – Replaced after just 2 matches having scored just 21 runs in 4 innings which included two ducks and a 1. While his replacement Rishabh Pant was inconsistent and his wicket keeping needs much improvement, his flamboyant final day hundred at The Oval and a 13 year age gap to Karthik means the latter is likely to remain the back up keeper for the time being.
Dawid Malan (1 match, 28 runs @ 14.0) – How quickly things change in test cricket. It was just last winter when Malan was one of England’s bright performers in an otherwise miserable Ashes defence, but after just 3 test this summer was cast aside, surviving only the first match of this series. With selections of Curran and Pope appearing to suggest the selectors wish to prioritise young players going forward, it feels unlikely that we will see Malan in an England test shirt again.
Shikhar Dhawan (4 matches, 162 runs @ 20.3) – Despite being predominantly a white ball player, Dhawan has adapted well to test match cricket, with a career average of over 40 in his 34 tests and 7 hundreds to his name. However, a poor return in this series highlighted frailties in foreign conditions when India needed strong starts. Has been flitted in and out of the side in recent years and another exile feels likely.