Sunday, May 27, 2018

PLAYER RATINGS: Brilliant Pakistan hammer hapless England!

England v Pakistan Player Ratings Cricket Blog


Not even a Test at Lord's could mask the cracks in England's Test team. They took a punt and batted first in seamer-friendly conditions on the opening day, and it was all downhill from there. Their batting continues to underwhelm, and bowling bore, as they slip to their sixth loss in their last eight Tests. They are an absolute mess at the moment.

However, take nothing away from Pakistan. Their performance in Ireland left a little to be desired, but the big occasion of a Lord's Test brought out the best in many of their players. They have the measure of Lord's, winning their last two Tests there, two years apart. Pakistan, when they play like this, are one of the best teams to watch. It was a superb performance by them!

In this cricket opinion piece, I will go through each player and rate them out of ten.



England


Alastair Cook: The lone warrior for most of the first innings. Alastair Cook started the England summer well after a tough winter, but his 70 wasn't enough to propel England to 200. His team needed a repeat in the second innings, which wasn't forthcoming. Was shaky in the slips, also. 6

Alastair Cook England v Pakistan Cricket Blog
Alastair Cook dug deep in the first innings


Mark Stoneman: How much longer will Stoneman be in the team? Tough game for him, bowled twice, including being worked over by Mohammad Abbas in the first innings. Alastair Cook will probably retire before England finally find a suitable replacement for Andrew Strauss. 1

Joe Root: Shocking shot in the first innings to throw his wicket away, and then showed some resistance in the second. However, as is all too common with Joe, he was out failing to convert another half century. 6

Dawid Malan: Worked hard in a second innings 60-run stand with Joe Root, but his return of 18 runs is very disappointing following a promising winter. He will get another crack, for sure. 2

Jonny Bairstow: Got two beauties from the quality Pakistan attack. England desperately need Bairstow to be firing, and this wasn't his Test. Snapped up three catches with the gloves. 4

Ben Stokes: Didn't fire in the IPL, and only showed glimpses of his best form here. England's sad story is summed up by the fact he was their second highest scorer with 38 in the first innings. Bowled with great aggression at times to finish with 3/73 in Pakistan's first innings. 5

Ben Stokes England v Pakistan Cricket Blog
Ben Stokes showed glimpses of his best form


Jos Buttler: Plenty of eyebrows were raised when Jos Buttler was brought into the Test squad on the back of IPL form, but his second innings performance helped England avoid an innings loss. The most optimistic of England's fans may have even believed they were a chance of getting a positive result... 6

Dominic Bess: Was brought into the side for his bowling, and failed to bowl a single maiden. At home, the minimum requirement that England need to be looking for in a spinner is control. Bess didn't deliver in that area, but should be given another chance. Excellent half century though with the bat in the second innings to keep England afloat. 4.5

Mark Wood: Toiled pretty hard but couldn't generate the kind of pace Ben Stokes was able to. Wood was brought in the side to add pace and aggression to the bowling line up, and needs to deliver more in the next Test. 4

Stuart Broad: Broady toiling hard is usually the case these days, finishing with the solitary wicket in 27 overs. What can he offer England in future Tests, in their time of need? 5

James Anderson: England are screwed when this guy retires. Simple. 7

James Anderson England v Pakistan Cricket Blog
James Anderson is carrying the England attack right now


Pakistan


Azhar Ali: Promising, typically hard working fifty for Azhar in the first innings. Got two good balls from Anderson in the game, but Pakistan will be happy he's back in some sort of form after a disappointing time in Ireland. 6

Imam-ul-Haq: In his second Test, Imam-ul-Haq has been there twice at the end when Pakistan have won. Out early in the first innings, so need to see more of him in the second Test. 4

Haris Sohail: Dug deep in the first innings, struck the ball beautifully in the second to guide Pakistan home. He's showing good form, but Pakistan will want him to go on with his starts. 7

Asad Shafiq: Classy first innings fifty, before getting a beauty from Ben Stokes. Remains a key part of Pakistan's batting line up. 7

Babar Azam: Such a shame Babar is now out injured, as his Test career was looking like it was finally kick starting. After a match winning half century against Ireland recently, Babar was excellent here, retiring hurt on 68. 7.5

Babar Azam England v Pakistan Cricket Blog
It was a shame to see Babar Azam get injured. He played well.


Sarfraz Ahmed: Led his team well and snapped up five catches for the match. Will want more with the bat, though. 4.5

Shadab Khan: Half century and two second innings wickets - another fine performance from a very promising cricketer. 7

Faheem Ashraf: Steady addition to the Pakistan team, holding an end up well with the ball, and contributing with the bat down the order. 6.5

Hasan Ali: One of the chief destroyers of England's batting in the first innings. Had a fine Test, despite going wicketless in the second innings. 7.5

Mohammad Amir: Bowled some absolute beauties in this Test. Had England in all sorts of trouble, especially in the second innings. A quality bowler. 9

Mohammad Abbas: #Abbasif is a hashtag I saw during this Test, and rightly so. He was deservedly man of the match, following up his excellent performance in Ireland with 8/64 here. He is such a brilliant exponent of England conditions. Take care of him, Pakistan. 10

Mohammad Abbas England v Pakistan Cricket Blog
Mohammas Abbas - deserved man of the match


----

So, it may have been a nervous third evening for Pakistan fans, but in typical England fashion, they surrendered as they gave their fans some hope of a miracle fight back.

Pakistan would be feeling really confident of winning the series 2-0. Can they do it in Leeds? They certainly are a great chance against this struggling England line up. 

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