Player ratings: Englands mixed winter

After a hiding from India, England's test specialists will return home whilst the multi format players will stay on in India for the T20s and ODIs to come.

After dominating Sri Lanka 2-0, England have been ruthlessly dispatched 3-1 by India having initially started so brightly, England were bungled out for 135 this morning to lose by an innings and 25 runs.

So with this mixed winter 3-3 win/loss; how did the players do?


Dom Sibley


Sibley struggled and struggled hard in Sri Lanka being dominated by Embuldeniya early on. An unbeaten half century to win the second test, second innings seemed to show that Sibley had learnt quickly as he'd previously shown in his test career and found a method that worked against spin.

This seemed to be shown again with a fantastic 87 on the first day of the first test in Chennai, batting with Joe Root to place England in a dominant position, setting up a historic win. Since then 47 runs in 6 innings for an average of 7.83.

Given his two half centuries, I've given him a 3, but he has much work to do against the turning ball.

Zak Crawley


A dismal showing in Sri Lanka scoring an 8.75. Followed by slipping over and injuring his wrist hence missing the first two tests against India. He returned in place of Rory Burns opening and he went off like a rocket scoring a imperious 53, scoring rapidly against Sharma and Bumrah. However his frailties to spin were once again ruthlessly exposed. He scored 14 more runs all series. After the highs of his 267 vs Pakistan, Zak has much to work on.

Rory Burns


After struggling against Pakistan last summer and the birth of his newborn child, hence missing the Sri Lanka series; Burns started well in the first test, before playing a ridiculous reverse sweep before lunch. After than two consecutive ducks and a 25 before being ruthlessly dropped for the returning Bairstow and Crawley.

Jonny Bairstow


I'm bored of reading 2 too, if that helps. Bairstow, Englands resident spin specialist was recalled from nowhere before the test, to much pain online, but with significant general public and media support. A middling Sri Lanka series with some important knocks, if not trouble the 50s column, he was sent home as apart of the rest and rotation protocol. Returning to the side his scores read: 0, 0, 28, 0. For me and most commentators, Bairstow for all of his talk of as being as good as Prior pre-Sri Lanka series, is finished.

Joe Root


Joe Root started in phenomenal form this winter; two double centuries and a century to lead England to three subcontinent victories in a row. Whilst his form with the bat fell off in the subsequent three tests, he did pick up the phenomenal figures of 5 for 8 in the pink ball test with ball in hand. He must however shed some of the blame for the confused selection of the third and fourth tests which did not aid Englands chances of victory.

Ben Stokes


After missing the Sri Lanka series, Stokes started the series with bludgeoning 81 before going for one slog sweep too far. Whilst scoring a further half century in the first innings of the 4th test, he was quiet with the bat against India, Ravi Ashwin having his number throughout the series. He barely bowled until the 4th test, where he was asked to share the new ball with James Anderson and Stokes produced a Stokes masterclass, taking 4 for 89 with an incredible 11 over spell in 40 degree heat. Altogether it made for a middling to quiet series from Stokes, where perhaps could have been asked from him particularly with the bat.

Dan Lawrence


After an impressive debut in Sri Lanka scoring 73; he found his next seven innings somewhat more difficult before being dropped for the third test against India. Being ruthlessly exposed at three, when recalled to bat seven in the final test of the series, he was far more composed. A half century with his fellow batsmen crumbling around him; he arguably played himself into Englands strongest XI ahead of the summer.

Ollie Pope


Being injured at the end of last summer and missing the Sri Lanka series through it; big things were thought of Ollie Pope before this series, however another struggling series averaging just 19.12 batting at number 6. Following on from a difficult summer; there are plenty to say that Englands boy wonder, needs time away from the test arena to build confidence and correct multiple technical issues.

Jos Buttler


Plenty of concern ahead of the Sri Lanka was of Buttlers wicket keeping to spin, after some decidedly poor keeping performances in the summer against West Indies and Pakistan. Buttler would prove these doubters wrong, keeping impecabbly, whilst not at the level of Ben Foakes, he is showing large improvements in his keeping. With the bat a half century and a average of 65.5 against Sri Lanka; whilst amusingly from his top score of 30 in his one match against India, it was enough for Jos to have the second highest average of the tour.

Ben Foakes


Foakes is the best keeper in the world. There I said it and its what all us biased English fans are thinking. His lightning fast hand work made for stumping chances that no-one saw coming.

With the bat, initially starting brightly with an unbeaten 43; he struggled there after averaging just 15.60 for the series. However, much judgement of Foakes' batting should probably be quantified that he'd played two red ball games in eighteen months. Being asked to keep for long periods then with at most a sessions rest before going out to bat amid a collapse; its asking a lot for anyone.

Moeen Ali


Probably the hardest on the list to rank; his one game, the second test was a microcosm of Moeens England career. 8 for 226 from his match; however going at nearly four and a half an over in the first innings meant India couldn't be squeezed effectively and meant Rohit and Rahane could escape and build an unassailable lead. The ball to Virat Kohli will live long in the memory, however.

With the bat; again a very Moeen performance; a genuinely dreadful 6 in the first innings, before absolutely blasting the ball to all corners in a last wicket partnership narrowly missing out on the fastest 50 in test history.

Sam Curran


Sam Curran played both Sri Lankan tests taking 3 wickets at 38. With the bat is poor form continues, scoring just 13 runs and a duck. His last fifty came two years ago, also in Sri Lanka. Hard to judge a seamer by Sri Lankan standards, hence a 5.

Dom Bess


Now put your pitchforks down Bess fans, I understand from pure numbers, this rating appears insanely harsh. 12 wickets at 21 in Sri Lanka and 5 for 126 in the first test in India; appears like England had unearthed Muralitharan before being dropped in the second test.

Whilst harsh at the time and many would call bad management; simply put Dom Bess was exceptionally fortunate. CricViz have Bess' fivefor in Sri Lanka as the luckiest fivefor by an English spinner in their database. Batsmen got themselves out to Bess. Two wickets from deflections off short leg. Wickets off long hops that were so long they were on their way back down by the time they were hit, wickets off full tosses. Whilst some spells were good including a snorter of an off break to remove Virat Kohli; too often Bess couldn't land the ball on the strip; his performance in the second innings of the first test was so bad, he was dropped - bowling a full toss every 4 balls. His recall for the fourth test was a painful watch for many; with Bess bowling an extreme number of full tosses and long hops; he ended up with 1 for 71 at an economy rate of over 4 an over. After a dismal return in the summer, averaging over 50 with the ball. Bess is likely to be dropped from England duty going forward.

Jofra Archer


Starting with the new ball in the first innings of the first test in Chennai having been rested for Sri Lanka; he produced a spell of fast bowling that people dream of when Archer is selected. Removing both openers with a devastating spell of fast bowling. That is pretty much all we got from Jofra. Hardly used in the second innings of that match and barely used in the third test, its difficult to call Jofras series anything other than quiet, for understandable reasons. His reoccuring elbow injury is of genuine concern going forward, with it being a year ago when he missed much of the winter through elbow injury.

Whilst I make no judgment of Jofras batting in my score; batting at 8 in tests is approximately 9 places to high for Jof.

Mark Wood


If you were going to use your 95mph overseas specialist, who blitzed through South Africa a year ago and West Indies the year before. Two test matches in the pacemens graveyard that is Sri Lanka probably isn't the best use of his winter. Taking a threefor was poor reward for how well he bowled and continued to bowl throughout the two matches. Hopefully he enjoys more game time in the white ball arena.

Jack Leach


Jack Leach endured a dreadful year, from being England's number one spinner to fighting for his life with sepsis, to shielding from coronavirus to spending months on end with no game time in the covid bubble. Recalled for Sri Lanka, he bowled far superior to his more more decorated colleague Bess, despite not bowling as well as he would have liked. In India Leach has reclaimed his spot as Englands number one spinner. His crowning achievement is making Pujara his rabbit throughout the series removing him four times throughout the series, with Pujara having not been removed by a slow left arm spinner previously in three years.

Stuart Broad


In Sri Lanka, he was a bowling metronome in Sri Lanka, bowling 14 maidens out of 26 overs bowled, taking wickets at 11.33. In India in conditions not of his making, he took no wickets and was relatively expensive compared to his Sri Lanka experience. Whilst undoubtably a lock in for the summer, its been a disappointing India tour for Broad.

Ollie Stone


Stone played just the once against India, however he bowled seriously quickly and in a match dominated by spin, he returned figures of 4 for 68. A superb return and probably should have bowled more overs in the match. A bright spark and with Archers elbow potentially reducing his red ball impact, Stone may feature more regularly going forward.

James Anderson


Words defy me. James Anderson bowling 85mph booming reverse swinging inswingers removing stumps left and right. Wow. After a slightly worse return in the summer than normal; Anderson did not prove the doubters wrong. He crushed them; in as extreme conditions as possible to be, compared to a nice cloudy day in England, Anderson was unstoppable. 14 wickets at 12.36 for a winter in Asia. Can he just never retire? Thanks


Whilst England have been battered in India, largely the bowling attack led by Leach and Anderson performed respectably. The batting line up having started this winter with murmurings of standing up to the great 2010/11 team; they have a serious amount of work to do.

Man of the winter for me is Jack Leach. Often mocked, underrated or misremembered for his batting rather than his bowling. He bowled superbly in all 6 matches this winter and has comfortably made England's spinning slot his own.

Plenty more to come from us here at inside edge cricket. Follow us on twitter @Insideedgecrick

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