England summer Test ratings: Bairstow purple patch and Anderson’s age-defying excellence crucial in success

·5-min read
England have won 6 of 7 Tests this summer  (Getty Images)
England have won 6 of 7 Tests this summer (Getty Images)

England made short work of South Africa during Monday’s final day of action to round off what has been a fantastic summer of Test cricket.

After an extensive rebuild of their approach, England have won six of seven Tests, with Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes yielding an impressive performance from a team playing with a renewed swagger.

Will Macpherson ran the rule over the England players during a triumphant summer of Test cricket.

Alex Lees - 5

7 Tests

327 runs at 25, HS 67

Method looks a little confused, but made a couple of excellent contributions to chases. Needs to work on his running, which always feels risky. Worryingly, felt like he was going backwards by the end of the summer.

Zak Crawley - 4

7 Tests

276 runs at 23; HS 69*

Crawley is not scoring enough runs, and knows it. Saved his best until last, and made himself tricky to drop. The upside is obvious, but a big tour of Pakistan is required.

Ollie Pope - 8

7 Tests

456 runs at 38

In the circumstances – never having batted No3, and a struggling opening pair – this was a very good effort. Would have liked another hundred, but twice made a breezy half-century in low-scoring games, which is significant. Earns an extra point for fielding superbly.

Joe Root - 8

7 Tests

615 runs at 68, HS 176

Brilliant start to the summer, before a quiet series against South Africa when he found pitches trickier. Unlike most former England captains, has so much left to offer after time in charge has ended. Has been terrific, subtle support for Stokes. A huge tick for the team that they won a series in which he didn’t score a half-century.

Jonny Bairstow - 9

6 Tests

681 runs at 75.66, HS 162

England’s man of the summer for the extraordinary purple patch that took them to remarkable wins at Trent Bridge, Headingley and Edgbaston. Also played a key knock at Old Trafford, and caught well too. Cruel that a freak injury will rule him out for the next few months.

Jonn Bairstow played a huge part in some extraordinay wins this summer (Getty Images)
Jonn Bairstow played a huge part in some extraordinay wins this summer (Getty Images)

Harry Brook - 4

1 Test

12 runs at 12

Was made to wait for his debut, which came in weird circumstances; first because of Bairstow’s injury, then the Queen’s death. Didn’t quite happen for him, but looked at home, and more chances await in Pakistan.

Ben Stokes - 8

7 Tests

368 runs at 41; HS 103

18 wickets at 26

At times, it felt like Stokes was using himself a bit strangely. But then you see the numbers, which are outstanding. Bowling against South Africa was especially good. As captain was superbly delicate with his players, and clear with his public pronouncements. Tactical approach takes some getting used to, but works. Set the tone, ran the show.

Ben Foakes - 7

6 Tests

240 runs at 40, HS 113*

26 catches

Kept pretty well if not absolutely perfectly throughout the summer and made some crucial contributions with the bat (although almost half his runs came in one innings). In the first and last Tests of the summer he showed he has a bit of work to do batting with the tail.

Sam Billings - 5

2 Tests

36 runs at 36; 3 catches

Always a willing stand-in, and did not let England down when replacing Foakes in strange circumstances.

Stuart Broad - 8

7 Tests

29 wickets at 27

Amazing feat to get through all seven Tests, and he was England’s leading wicket-taker. Took a while to get into the summer, but was simply outstanding in the final two Tests – oddly enough, when he had the new ball taken off him. We never did see the Nighthawk, but that is probably for the best.

Jack Leach - 7

7 Tests

16 wickets at 36

Slightly tricky one to rate. Often a bit-part player, but when England needed a Test winning at Headingley, he stepped up. Economy was under three for the whole summer. Is a better batter than he showed this summer, although he did get his switch-hit out at Old Trafford.

James Anderson - 9

6 Tests

27 wickets at 18

In a summer that included his 40th birthday, he was not quite fit enough to play all seven Tests (sitting out the dead rubber against New Zealand). But he was superb, and part of the reason it was such a torrid summer for opening batters.

Jimmy Anderson continues to wreak havoc on opening batters (AFP via Getty Images)
Jimmy Anderson continues to wreak havoc on opening batters (AFP via Getty Images)

Matt Potts - 7

5 Tests

20 wickets at 28

Out of the side by the end of the summer, but a very encouraging start to life as a Test cricketer. Whole-hearted and skilful, but a bit of work to do against left-handers.

Ollie Robinson - 8

2 Tests

12 wickets at 15

Only fit enough to play the final two Tests, but an outstanding return. Cut a slimmer figure, and his fitness told; he was outstanding every time he bowled and talked a good game, too. Hopes that he can get through more Tests next summer have significantly risen.

Jamie Overton - 6

1 Test

97 runs at 97; 2 wickets at 73

Like Potts, another decent find that adds to the pace stocks. Bowled quickly and batted very well in match-saving partnership with Bairstow. Can he get the ball to reverse in Pakistan? Will be a menace if so.

Matt Parkinson - 5

1 Test

1 wicket at 47

The forgotten man. Given a debut in the strangest circumstances due to Leach’s Lord’s concussion. Certainly didn’t disgrace himself, but hasn’t been seen much in any format since. It will be very interesting to see if he gets the call for Pakistan.