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England’s woes continued as they plummeted to their first defeat against India at home in seven years. Despite the rout there are a few pluses they can take from the Test. While the likes of Alastair Cook and Matt Prior had tough outings, England can take heart from Liam Plunkett and Moeen Ali’s performances. Ahead of the next Test at Southampton, the selectors would assess the performances of the side and some heads may roll. Abhishek Mukherjee rates the performance of each member of the English team at Lord’s on a scale 10.
7: Liam Plunkett
England’s surprise package for the Test without a doubt, Liam Plunkett kept on delivering the blows for the home side at regular intervals. Not only were all four of his wickets of top-order batsmen, he bowled with a purpose, made the ball lift from a good length, and gave England a whiff of a chance in the second innings with two wickets in two balls. Sent in as night-watchman in the first innings, Plunkett carved out a 79-ball 55 not out, and remained unbeaten in the fourth innings as well.
6.5: Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali reached the 30s twice but fell prey to lapses of concentration on each occasion. He should probably have scored less, but three wickets in the Test have probably shown that England may count on him on pitches where the ball does not have a lot in store for spinners.
6.5: James Anderson
James Anderson bowled with purpose, and was rewarded with figures of four for 60 in the first innings. He looked less dangerous in the second (though he broke through with the crucial wicket of Murali Vijay). He also scored a 21-ball 19 in the first innings to take England past India in the first innings.
6: Gary Ballance
One of the brightest prospects for England, Gary Ballance batted with caution and diligence in the first innings to score a splendid 110. He also looked confident in the second innings, helping Alastair Cook put on 58 for the second wicket, before a lapse of concentration undid him.
5: Joe Root
Root’s love affair with Lord’s continued. After he failed in the first innings, he batted with purpose in the second; he put India under pressure with a hundred-partnership with Moeen and a brisk partnership with Matt Prior, but threw it away when he fell for India’s short-ball ploy.
3: Ben Stokes
Stokes’ terrible form with the bat continued as he registered another pair. However, his five wickets in the Test (the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara stands out in specific) will probably make the selectors think before replacing him with Chris Jordan at Rose Bowl.
2: Stuart Broad
Though he produced a good ball every now and then, he returned a haul of three wickets (though two of them came from very good deliveries). He failed with the bat as well; the Test certainly did not do him any good as far as the claim to the leading all-rounder in contemporary cricket.
2: Matt Prior
Prior played a short cameo in the first innings; in the second, he played an innings that was too short to be classified as a cameo. He gets points for six catches, but loses out for conceding 36 byes in the Test. Surely the time has come for the selectors to think of Jos Buttler.
1: Alastair Cook
Cook’s horror run seemed to continue when he fell for ten in the first innings. He looked significantly better in the second and showed signs of coming back to form, but the innings came to a premature halt. His unimaginative field-placements and bowling changes would not earn him anything more than two.
1: Ian Bell
Bell’s ability to find out new ways of getting out continued: Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s ball in the first innings was certainly not outstanding, but Bell somehow managed to glove it to third slip. There was nothing peculiar about the second innings dismissal, though: a ripper from Ishant Sharma hurried him, the ball kept a bit low, and crashed into the stumps.
1: Sam Robson
While the entire country is baying for the blood of Cook and Prior, Robson has not really taken the pitch by fire at Lord’s. However, his hundred at Headingley and fifty at Trent Bridge have given him a long rope.
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