England v New Zealand, series ratings: Who is weakest link in exciting new English era?

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England v New Zealand, series ratings: Who is weakest link in exciting new English era? - PA
England v New Zealand, series ratings: Who is weakest link in exciting new English era? - PA

England wrapped up a series victory on day five of the third Test against New Zealand at Headingley.

Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow built on the fine work done on day four by Ollie Pope and Root, with England's man of the moment - Bairstow - hitting the winning runs with a six.

Nick Hoult runs the rule over Ben Stokes' men and offers his verdict.

Alex Lees

Expanded his game after the pedestrianism in the West Indies batting at a strike rate of 50 and looked much better for it. There was only one opening stand above 50 in six innings, so the old problem still remains. 5

Zak Crawley

The only player to regress under the new regime. He has their backing so plays against India but he is failing to convince he is a Test opener because of his shot selection and the new ball exposing technical issues. 2

Zak Crawley of England walks off after being dismissed during Day Four of the Third LV= Insurance Test Match at Headingley on June 26, 2022 in Leeds - GETTY IMAGES
Zak Crawley of England walks off after being dismissed during Day Four of the Third LV= Insurance Test Match at Headingley on June 26, 2022 in Leeds - GETTY IMAGES

Ollie Pope

Looks comfortable when it is flat, but still vulnerable when the ball is moving due to defensive issues. Second Test hundred was long overdue and may well follow the Root path, oscillating between three and natural position at four. 7

Joe Root

Even his batting has expanded. Reverse scoops for six show how freedom from burden of leadership can benefit an already great batsman, and led England home with first ever fourth-innings hundred at Lord’s. Almost impossible to bowl to at the moment. 9

Jonny Bairstow

It has taken almost 90 Tests but at the age of 32, Bairstow finally looks a settled player with a defined role in the team. This complex character needs wise handling and the inclusiveness of Stokes-McCullum has eased his insecurity, leading to two of the best performances of his career. 9

Ben Stokes

The body is creaking - he bowled only four overs at Headingley - but has been outstanding strategically, delivering clear messages and establishing a team identity in his first series. Batting frantic at times but it was deliberate: this is what I want, follow me. He will adapt when necessary. He is too smart a cricketer to bat in one gear. 8

England v New Zealand - Yorkshire Cricket Ground, Leeds, Britain - June 26, 2022 England's Ben Stokes reacts as New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell plays a shot - ACTION IMAGES
England v New Zealand - Yorkshire Cricket Ground, Leeds, Britain - June 26, 2022 England's Ben Stokes reacts as New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell plays a shot - ACTION IMAGES

Ben Foakes

A better series with the bat, especially at Trent Bridge where he scored his first Test fifty at home, batting under pressure with Root. Needs to progress when partnered with the tail and his keeping is not as assured as many think. 6

Matty Potts

Outstanding selection. Benefited from playing under Stokes, his Durham team-mate, and is built for Test cricket both in his bowling - honing in on off stump skilfully - and physically, too. England did not miss Anderson when Potts took new ball. 8

Jack Leach

His 25th Test at Headingley was like a debut. It was a fresh start. Contained and attacked well, and with the full backing of a captain who rates him, Leach is a different bowler. India will go after him but he should have more confidence in the tank to cope better this time. 7

England's Jack Leach celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand's Michael Bracewell with team-mates Joe Root and Ben Stokes (right) during day four of the third LV= Insurance Test Series Match at Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds - PA
England's Jack Leach celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand's Michael Bracewell with team-mates Joe Root and Ben Stokes (right) during day four of the third LV= Insurance Test Series Match at Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds - PA

Stuart Broad

Some prized moments - Lord’s spell and revving up Headingley. Embraced a fuller length but average of 35 and strike rate of 66 was the result. Much-improved body language when batting and when everyone is fit he should be used sparingly to keep him hungry. 7

James Anderson

Faded at Trent Bridge as he battled ankle problem but was magnificent up to that point. Topped the bowling average with 11 at 18.63 in point-proving mode after Caribbean axing. Competitive edge undimmed and Potts and Overton both credited his advice. 7

Jamie Overton

Looks a genuine allrounder, rather than lower-order biffer, and bowled well in spells offering a different option to Potts and Broad. Bowling short, sometimes around the wicket, added a streak of menace that England will need against Australia and India. 7

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