England eased to a nine-wicket win at Lord’s inside three days to claim their second Test series win over the summer. However, after a crushing win in the day-night Test at Edgbaston, they were made to wait to pick up the Wisden Trophy as the Windies hit back to claim an historic win at Headingley.
Inspired by James Anderson and Ben Stokes, two of the side’s top performers throughout the series, England responded to win a low-scoring decider with more than two days to spare.
But while Anderson and Stokes excelled, who failed to pull their weight? Bob Willis gives his verdict…
Alastair Cook – 8
304 runs @ 60.80, one hundred (highest score 243)
Alastair set the tone for England in that opening Test match, he is always the backbone of England’s line up. He’s one of the best players England have ever had.
Mark Stoneman – 6
120 runs @ 30.00, one fifty (HS 52)
Coming in after the demise of Keaton Jennings, Stoneman has looked the part without putting major scores on the board. I’ve been quite impressed with him and I can’t see any glaring weaknesses to his technique. He looks to be very mobile on his feet and it was a reasonable start for him.
Tom Westley – 3
71 runs @ 17.75 (HS 44no)
Tom Westley has been quickly found out in his Test match career. He has a tendency to play the ball across the line into the onside, wide of mid-on and, a little bit like Jennings, getting out in a similar way each time. Jennings was nicking off to the slips and Westley keeps getting trapped lbw to straight balls he is trying to play into the onside. He played okay in the final innings of the series to take England to victory but I can only give him three.
Joe Root – 8
268 runs @ 67.00, one hundred, two fifties (HS 136)
Joe is going to getting criticised for that declaration at Headingley from some quarters, but not from me. Those six overs on the fourth evening could have given England an opportunity to knock the Windies’ top order over. It didn’t happen and all credit to the Windies, they won the game.
Root didn’t get the opportunity at Lord’s to extend his run of fifties in Test cricket but scored another fine century at Edgbaston. He had a pretty good series as captain but he still has a long way to go in that department.
Dawid Malan – 6
154 runs @ 38.50, two fifties (HS 65)
Malan scratched around a bit in the middle order. Conditions haven’t been easy for batting in this series. He showed a lot of concentration and diligence, I’m not sure he’s got enough flair to make it at the top level but he has probably done enough to get on the plane to Australia.
Ben Stokes – 9
228 runs @ 57.00, one hundred, two fifties (HS 100)
Nine wickets @ 22.22, one five-wicket haul (best figures 6-22)
Ben Stokes was my player of the series for England, without a doubt. With bat and ball, he has matured tremendously. With the top order struggling, Stokes has come to the rescue time after time. And it was a brilliant display of swing bowling to pick up a six-wicket haul at Lord’s into the bargain. He’s been an absolute star and will be into the future for England.
Jonny Bairstow – 6
59 runs @ 14.75 (HS 21)
Nine catches, two stumpings
A quiet series with the bat for Jonny Bairstow. I still think he is batting too low in the order, at No 7, but perhaps a few reckless shots when a little bit more circumspection would have been appropriate when he came. I think if you bat at No 7, you play like a No 7 and I’d like to see him batting up at No 5. He’s been good behind the stumps, six out of 10.
Moeen Ali – 6
109 runs @ 27.25, one fifty (HS 84)
Five wickets @ 49.60 (BF 2-54)
He hasn’t needed to bowl much in this series and he was a bit disappointing with the ball at Headingley when England set West Indies that big target that was chased down. It always looks a bit of a soft dismissal when Moeen gets out but he had such a devastating effect in the first series against South Africa, you can’t expect him to perform like that all the time.
Toby Roland-Jones – 7
Seven wickets @ 16.00 (BF 2-18)
I thought Roland-Jones did brilliantly in the opening Test match. He is a very worthy performer, indeed. He bowls accurately, gets a bit of seam movement, bounce and he has got all the attributes to keep the batsmen quiet as well as dismiss them. There are some handy runs available from him down the order as well. A good start for Roland-Jones and he has done enough to get to Australia, I think.
Stuart Broad – 6
Nine wickets @ 36.22 (BF 3-34)
I think he has been almost as unlucky in this series as Morne Morkel was for South Africa earlier in the summer. Perhaps he overstrained at the leash a little bit, perhaps trying to keep up with his mucker at the other end, James Anderson. Anderson has picked up the wickets this time and Broad simply hasn’t. He has played an aggressive and important innings with the bat but he is a bit of a busted flush against quick bowling.
James Anderson – 9
19 wickets @ 14.10, two five-wicket hauls (BF 7-42)
He is a superstar in England and pretty much a superstar full stop. A sensational series for Jimmy, leading the attack and really making the ball talk. He’s loved bowling in the Stygian gloom of the official day-night Test match and the unofficial day-night Test match at Lord’s under the lights! Great stuff from him, he’s an absolute master and it was great to see him get past 500 Test wickets and fast on the heels of Courtney Walsh and Glenn McGrath.
Chris Woakes – 4
Two wickets @ 61.00 (BF 1-44)
84 runs @ 84.00, one fifty (HS 61no)
It was a bit of a strange decision by the selectors to recall Woakes. I know he was brought into the squad during the Natwest T20 Blast but I think they should really have waited and let Woakes play in the closing rounds of County Championship matches – my goodness, Warwickshire certainly need him!
But he was brought back too soon after that serious side injury and he had no real impact with the ball at Headingley. He showed us what he could do with the bat again but he shouldn’t have been picked.