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Player Ratings: Tenacious England inspire awe

17 Dec 2012, 20:55 IST

It is rightly said that one of the biggest joys comes from doing what people think you cannot. Having drawn the Nagpur test and thereby completed a momentous come-from-behind series win over India, the feeling in the England camp will not be too different. Dogged by critics and flogged continuously for their inability to stand against quality spin bowling, here’s a look at how each of the Englishmen fared in what has been a series to cherish:

Alastair Cook: It is difficult to imagine Alastair Cook bettering his record in the 2010-11 Ashes series ever in his career (766 runs in 7 innings) and though he has not out-scored himself in this series, his performance as a captain in his first series has been immense. The rock of England’s batting throughout the series, Cook not just showed his fellow batsmen the way but carried a brightly lit torch for all of them to follow. Scoring runs and batting for time, Cook scored a ton in each one of the first three tests, twice coming within touching distance of a double century. His calm headed no-nonsense approach to the captaincy and his handling of the Pietersen-issue were both laudable. A near-perfect series for the captain. – 9.5/10

Nick Compton: Despite having scored only one fifty in the series where he scored 208 runs at an average of 34.66, Nick Compton proved to be an assured presence for England at the top of the order. A 123-run partnership with his captain in the second innings at Ahmedabad gave first signs of England’s ability to thrive in spinning conditions while another century-plus knock at the Eden Gardens fuelled England on its way to a series-deciding win. His ability to bat out time was as important as his runs and in what was a stern test in his debut tour; Compton came out with flying colours. – 5/10

Jonathan Trott: After having begun the series miserably at Ahmedabad (0 & 17), Jonathan Trott looked all at sea against spin. Another duck in the first innings at Mumbai meant he was in serious trouble, but a sedate 87 at the Eden got him back amongst the runs. The success of his team gave Trott the time and the confidence to rebuild, and he ended the series strongly with a 143 in his final innings. In the end, Trott was the third highest scorer behind Cook and Pietersen, justifying his seniority in the side. - 6/10

Kevin Pietersen: There is no doubt that this was Alastair Cook’s series, but it has to be said that the single most devastating innings came from Kevin Pietersen, with his 186 at the Wankhede setting the tone for England’s dominance. Pietersen had walked into the middle at a delicate time, with Trott having fallen on a duck and with the inexperienced Bairstow to follow, but a 200+ partnership with Cook settled the issue emphatically. Having struggled in the first innings, Pietersen did not look back after the Wankhede test and was as confident facing spin as ever in his career. A patient 73 at Nagpur showed uncharacteristic resolve and it was heartening to see that the re-integration was more than complete. – 7/10 

Ian Bell: After a shocker of a start in Ahmedabad for a first-ball duck, Ian Bell flew back to England for the birth of his child. He missed the Wankhede win, but was at hand to score the winning runs at the Eden Gardens. With the test petering out for a tame draw in Nagpur, Bell seized his chance and scored a patient ton to end the series with an average of 43.00. While more was expected of one of the most exciting stroke-makers in the English line-up, Bell would be delighted to be a part of a squad that has made history. – 4.5/10

Jonny Bairstow: Called upon in the squad for the Wankhede test to fill in for Ian Bell, who was then on paternity leave, Jonny Bairstow was required to play minimal part in the test, scoring just 9 in the only opportunity he got to bat. A fine attacking prospect but weak against spin, Bairstow was left on the bench for the rest of the series, with the likes of Bell and Joe Root proving adept against the turning ball. – 2/10

Samit Patel: Having impressed in the tour games in the lead-up to the first test, Samit Patel found himself chosen ahead of a few established names and ended up playing three of the four tests before being dropped for Nagpur. His lack of control with the ball though, meant he was pushed down in the pecking order once Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann destroyed India at Mumbai. Though undone by a few harsh umpiring calls, Patel didn’t do anything outstanding with the bat and will look back at the tour as a missed opportunity. – 3.5/10

Joe Root: Having lost the opening spot to his senior partner, Nick Compton, by virtue of their performances in the tour games, Joe Root was lucky to get a chance to make his test debut at Nagpur.  Unperturbed by the big stage, Root read the situation and the pitch exceedingly well to carve out a patient 73, ending up being the top-scorer along with the much more flamboyant and experienced KP. Under much less pressure in the second innings, he remained calm and saw England through to a remarkable series result. – 4.5/10

Matt Prior: It is hardly a surprise that with 258 runs at an average of 51.60, Matt Prior was one of England’s top-scorers for the series. What makes Prior’s contribution even more vital though, is the time when his runs came. One of the grittiest players in the squad and with an attitude of steel, it was Prior’s 91 in the second innings at Ahmedabad and his 150-run partnership with Captain Cook that started the momentum shift in favour of England. A unifying and motivating force within the England squad, Prior constantly batted out of his depth, justifying the strong backing he receives from Andy Flower. – 8/10

Graeme Swann: One half of England’s ‘spin-twins’, Graeme Swann began the series with a five-for despite having flown back from England in the nick of time for the first test. With Panesar’s inclusion, Swann received the support he was looking for from the other end and he kept the pressure up on the Indian batsmen throughout the series to come out with a rich haul of 20 wickets. Justifying his billing as one of the best off-spinners at the world stage, Swann played a stellar role in the series win. His half-century in the first innings at Nagpur helped secure the draw. – 8.5/10

Stuart Broad: One of the rare Englishmen to endure a forgetful tour; Broad failed to take a single wicket in the two tests he played before being dropped. Just 34 runs from 3 innings meant his reputation of a prospering bowling all-rounder also took a beating. His tour went from bad to worse when his heel problem recurred to put him out of the T20 series. – 2/10

Monty Panesar: Aided by the sharp spin and the abrupt bounce at Mumbai, this merry marauder turned the series on its head with 11 wickets in the second test and set England on their way to a memorable win. His dismissals of Sehwag and Tendulkar at the Wankhede were some of the moments of the series and though he wasn’t as effective in the last two tests, his economy rate of 2.49 remained the best amongst the English bowlers. His controlled bowling and his partnership with Swann was one of the biggest highlights of England’s campaign. – 8/10

Steven Finn: Sidelined for the major part of the series, Finn impressed in the lone game he played at the Eden. Troubling the batsmen with his extra pace, Finn ended the game with figures of 4/118, playing a vital role in England’s win. It was a shame that a back strain put him out of the final test, thus ending his tour. – 4/10

James Anderson: England’s premier fast bowler took time to adjust to the hostile conditions, fetching only 2 wickets in the first two tests before finding his feet and using the marginal swing on offer to good effect. He picked up a total of ten wickets in the last three innings he bowled, with his castling of Sehwag at Nagpur easily one of the deliveries of the series. In a series otherwise dominated by the spinners from both sides, Anderson’s grit and talent shone through brightly so much so that the Indian captain mentioned him as the difference between the two sides at the post-match presentation in Nagpur. – 6.5/10    

Tim Bresnan: Included as a part of a 3-man pace attack in the first test at Ahmedabad, Bresnan was quickly dropped as England realized the folly of playing more than 2 pacers on Indian pitches. He came back into the team for the last test with both Steven Finn and Stuart Broad ruled out, but failed to pick up a wicket in the 45 overs he sent down in those two games. His efforts with the bat too, were below par and the series was a step back for the otherwise promising all-rounder. – 3/10

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