Four days of enthralling cricket ended with Bob Willis sweating in the Sky Sports studio because he couldn’t unleash his verbal anger on England after they claimed a 31-run victory over India at Edgbaston. Four Test matches remain though, which gives Bob enough time to come off his long run. Albeit slowly and with a bad back. We seek to rival our TV competitors coverage with some alternative player ratings.
It was a game full of drama. From dropped catches at slip to Virat Kohli blowing kisses at Joe Root following his run-out, then kissing his wedding ring after he scored his hundred. Hint, hint, Joseph.
Let’s dive into some player ratings:
Cook – The former England captain was clean bowled by Ravi Ashwin for 13 & 0, but were they great deliveries or poor foot movement from the Chef? It was a bit of both, to be honest. Cook will now be a targeted man. 3/10
Jennings – Despite getting out in an agonising manner in the first innings, his score of 42 on the first day shouldn’t be underestimated. The conditions were difficult. 6/10
Root – A great Test match for Root, who led by example with the bat. Was at his most impressive as captain, particularly on the third and fourth day. Mic drop, Virat. 8.5/10
Malan – It’s ironic, isn’t it? Malan drops a number of crucial catches during the game, including Kohli in the first innings, then the selectors repay him by dropping him for the next Test match at Lord’s. A game to forget for Dawid. 2/10
Bairstow – Another great performance from the ginger Yorkshireman. Who could argue that he should be batting higher in England’s top-four. 7/10
Stokes – It was a Freddie Flintoff-like performance with the ball from Stokes, who took the crucial wicket of Kohli on the decisive day. His ability to lift the team and crowd with a rip-roasting spell is something every nation dreams of. The best cricketer in the world. 9/10
Buttler – A very poor showing with the bat from Buttler, whose ‘fuck it’ approach to cricket was apparent at Edgbaston. Buttler’s decision to try and play a flashy shot off Ishant Sharma in the second innings was a big mistake, especially when he had only faced the one delivery. 2/10
Curran – Outstanding performance from the Surrey lad, who showed maturity beyond his years. His score of 63 in the second innings wasn’t just impressive because of the volume of runs he scored but the manner in which he scored them. Not even mentioned his five wickets with the ball! 9.5/10
Rashid – Didn’t bowl as much as Ashwin, but took wickets when called upon. Played his part in that partnership with Curran in the second innings. 6/10
Broad – He was rightly under-bowled in the first innings, but came alive with one of those typical Broad spells towards the end of the third day. 6.5/10
Anderson – Only four wickets in the match for the Burnley Lara whose volume of wickets didn’t really show how much of a threat he was with the ball. 7.5/10
Let’s drop the mic once again and assess the visitors.
Vijay – Two low scores for the India opener, who was trapped in front on both occasions to Curran and Broad respectively. 3/10
Dhawan – A stylish batsman in the shorter version of the game and an even more impressive one on home soil. In England, it’s a different story. 3/10
Rahul – The visiting team surprisingly opted to drop Cheteshwar Pujara in place of the Indian youngster, a decision that didn’t pay off. As soon as Stokes came into the attack, his mind and feet were all over the place. 2/10
Kohli – Arrogant, annoying but a fucking class player. In all seriousness, Kohli’s 149 in the first innings was perhaps one of the best displays I have seen from an overseas player. Unreal batting. 9.5/10
Rahane – Another Indian batsman, apart from the obvious, who struggled in the opening Test. 2/10
Karthik – See above. Let’s hit the ball into cow corner and run two. 2/10
Pandya – You’re just a shit Ben Stokes. No, actually, you’re just a shit Rikki Clarke, shit Rikki Clarke. 4/10
Ashwin – Like Kohli, India’s star spinner had a point to prove in England. Ashwin tested England’s batsman throughout the match and got his rewards with a 7-fer. 9/10
Shami – The pick of the Indian seamers, particularly on the opening day. 7/10
Sharma – The tall fast bowler had England in big trouble in the third innings of the Test match. Like Broad, he is hard to stop once he gets going. 7/10
Yadav – The quickest of India’s pace attack, but he’s not so threatening. 5/10
Just like Virat, Sky Sports, TMS and the Beeb can all eat humble pie as we here at HFAL demonstrate how to present a proper player ratings. They’ll be plenty more where that came from over the next month. Now for a quick lie down, before we move to the Home Of Cricket on Thursday.