Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 29, 2020

England vs West Indies 2020 – The Report Cards

One for Jason and one for Shannon


Rory Burns (234 runs at 47; 1 catch) – Still all twitches, crazy pick-ups and rush of blood offside slashes, but concentrates like Magnus Carlsen and is as unflappable as his piratical face furniture is flamboyant. Never batted less than an hour, something the strokemakers down the order appreciate more than the viewers at home. Grade A-.

Dom Sibley (226 runs at 45) – His monumental 120 in the Second Test allowed Ben Stokes to play with freedom and proved critical in a critical win. Needs to present the full face early in his innings and find a way to make the angles that quick singles demand. Not quite Alastair Cook, but might grow into a handy replacement. Grade B+.

Joe Root (130 runs at 43; 4 catches) – Can appear burdened the way England captains do and will lose five years when regaining his boyish looks the moment he hands over the reins. His fields don’t always reflect the bowling resources at his disposal, especially when batsmen are feeling their way into an innings against a moving ball. The batting mojo showed its face again in a pressure-free charge to the Third Test declaration. Grade B-.

Zak Crawley (97 runs at 24) – A class act in his fluent First Test 76, but a lack of runs elsewhere made him the easy fall guy when England had to reshape the XI for the decider. At 22, one for the future. Grade C+.

Joe Denly (47 runs at 24) – As usual, he batted time, but never looked in because his talent is a notch below what’s required. He’s played 15 Tests, but probably won’t play a 16th. Grade C-.

Ben Stokes (363 runs at 91; 9 wickets at 16; 2 catches) – Apart from an annoying propensity to drop occasional slip catches, at the peak of his considerable game. Once the toss formalities were completed, looked like England’s best player in the First Test and the world’s best player in the Second, but couldn’t bowl in the Third and was done second-guessing a Roach bouncer when set for another big score. Grade A.

Ollie Pope (134 runs at 34; 2 catches) – Lit up a quiet series with a dazzling 91 in the last Test, out playing across the line on the second morning with a big century at his mercy. I expect he won’t make that mistake again. Grade B-.

Jos Buttler (151 runs at 30; 12 catches) – In tricky conditions for keepers, he delivered the minimum of outplaying his opposite number. A front foot adjustment helped him to a much need half-century in the final Test, but can still look static and unbalanced if he’s not lifting a ball bowled into the slot for six. Grade B-.

Chris Woakes (1 run at 1; 11 wickets at 17; 1 catch) – As he always does, used his textbook action and strong wrist to challenge batsmen consistently in English conditions and cashed in against some tired shots in the last afternoon. Needs to relax a little more into his batting. Grade B+.

Sam Curran (17 runs at 17; 3 wickets at 33) – Into the side, take a few wickets, win a home Test, out of the side. A clever bowler who swings, skids and cuts the ball off a fullish length and looks a classy Number 8. Another whose time will come, but possibly not on an Ashes Tour. Grade C+.

Dom Bess (83 runs at 83; 5 wickets at 42, 1 catch) – A smart cricketer, who bowled, batted and fielded situations with skills and judgement beyond his years. The nagging doubt remains that handy 20s and 30s and economical hauls of 2-80odd might not be quite enough to hold down the specialist spinner role. Can he take his game up a notch? Grade C+.

Jofra Archer (26 runs at 9; 4 wickets at 51; 1 catch) – When he played, he bowled a fast stock ball with a very fast variation, his ribcage ticklers and bouncers unpickable and very sharp indeed. Bowls as many unplayable balls per spell as any bowler in the world right now, but took his wickets in this series “at the other end” as some genuine quicks do having shaken the batsmen up. Grade C.

Stuart Broad (73 runs at 73; 16 wickets at 11; 1 catch) – Stung by being left out in Southampton, pitched up in Manchester and made his point by pitching it up. Whisper it, but he bowled like Glenn McGrath 2005 and batted like Stuart Broad 2009, the highlight his ascension to the 500 Club with a pitched up delivery that kept a little low. A masterclass in bowling to the conditions. Grade A+.

Mark Wood (7 runs at 4; 2 wickets at 55) – Bowled fast, but hampered by a high maintenance action and the ineluctable truth that he is not as good a bowler as his direct rival, Jofra Archer. Grade C-.

James Anderson (5 wickets at 30; 25 runs at 13; 2 catches) – If the one that’s angling into the top of off but just holds its line to take the edge doesn’t get you, the in-dipping, nip-backer through the gate will. At nearly 38, he looks like he could play until he’s 48. His figures don’t reflect it, but this was another high class series from the oldest swinger in town. Grade B.

West indies

Kraigg Brathwaite (176 runs at 29; 1 catch) – Limited, but gets in and doesn’t want to get out, which is a good attribute for an opener. His camping on the back foot style had England’s seamers licking their lips – not without cause, as he provided Broad’s 500th Test wicket just as he had Anderson’s, three years ago. Grade C.

John Campbell (84 runs at 17; 1 catch) – The Gordon Greenidge to his partner’s Larry Gomes, he drives and pulls with supreme confidence, but cameos don’t really cut it in the cauldron of Test match cricket. Grade D+.

Shai Hope (105 runs at 18; 3 catches) – The Hero of Headingley 2017 looks lost trying to locate a game that looks as foreign to him in red ball cricket as it is natural in white ball. He provided glimpses of his class on the drive, but is all at sea mentally and has become a walking wicket. Grade D.

Shamarh Brooks (195 runs at 33) – A late-blooming very classy strokemaker who conjures images of the Caribbean greats of the past, but needs some proper scores to back up the style. Grade B-.

Roston Chase (157 runs at 26; 10 wickets at 34) – Never let his captain down with bat, ball or in the field, but more of a 6 than a 5 and more a stock than strike bowler. Likes taking English wickets with the simple plan of being on the money when the mistake comes. Grade B.

Jermaine Blackwood (211 runs at 35; 1 catch)- The mercurial mini-masterblaster who played against type to deliver a brilliant chase in the First Test. But if he doesn’t learn to play the percentages better, he’s never going to realise a very considerable potential. Grade B.

Shane Dowrich (126 runs at 21; 7 catches) – Like many a visitor to the other Old Trafford in the Ferguson years, he seemed intimidated by the unique challenges of Manchester, the ball wobbling after passing the bat in often murky light, Hard to believe that the confidence that he exuded at the Ageas Bowl had deserted him so quickly, the short ball proving particularly problematic, with a literal as well as metaphorical smack in the mouth the reward for his troubles. Grade C-.

Jason Holder (114 runs at 29; 10 wickets at 30; 5 catches) – To his and his team’s immense credit, he left a safe home for an uncertain destination, lived weeks in a bubble, dealt with aches, pains, Broad and Anderson and was still in with a shout of retaining the Wisden Trophy on the last day. That commitment should not be forgotten when cricket’s financial cake is divided into slices and crumbs. He was brilliant in the First Test but, inevitably, tired later in the series and made some less than optimum decisions at the toss and in selecting bowlers. A popular and worthy successor to the long line of fine West Indian captains stretching back to Sir Frank Worrell. Grade B+.

Kemar Roach (15 runs at 5; 8 wickets at 37; 1 catch) – The old pro and mentor to the young bowlers on tour never slumped in the shoulders and smiled whether he’d had success or not. An admirable campaigner whose canny variations beat the bat continually. Grade B-.

Shannon Gabriel (4 runs at 2; 11 wickets at 32) – Just when you thought that he was immobile in the field and couldn’t possibly bowl, he charged in for another hostile spell, mixing attacks on the body with attacks on the stumps. Broken by the end though. Grade B.

Rakheem Cornwall (12 runs at 6; 0 wickets; 2 catches) – Parachuted into the Third Test with the very stiff brief to take wickets, he was outbowled by Roston Chase and was kept going in the declaration batting for want of alternatives. Bowled better than his 0-164 figures attest, but still very green. Grade C-.

Alzarri Joseph (59 runs at 20; 3 wickets at 61; 2 catches) – His slippery movement off the seam deserved more than his numbers suggest and, with both senior quicks in their 30s, likely to assume leadership of the attack soon. Grade C.


  1. Hard to argue with any of that. Talk if this WI team stepping out of the shadows was a bit premature.

    • If they had had a chance to recover and / or rested Gabriel, they might not have capitulated so easily. As it was, a couple of 50s might have got them a drawn series today.

      But yes – still a lot of work to do on batting and a bit on bowling.

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