Cow Corner

England’s series ratings in Sri Lanka

Cow Corner

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Make no mistake about it, England have endured a pretty dismal winter with a 3-0 series defeat against Pakistan in the UAE, and losing the first Test match in Sri Lanka at Galle.

But Andy Flower's side retained their status at the top of the world Test rankings with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory in Colombo to level the series at 1-1 against Sri Lanka and end on a high.

Excluding Bangladesh, this was only England's second Test victory on the subcontinent in the last 10 years. That is the scale of the achievement at the P Sara Oval.

It was undoubtedly a very mixed two-match series for the England players against Mahela Jayawardene's side, but a considerable improvement from their efforts in the UAE.

There is no doubt that England's performance in Colombo will give the tourists a real lift ahead of a long summer at home, but this is a time to reflect upon what has just unfolded.

So, on to the series ratings...

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Andrew Strauss

Batting average: 28.50

Verdict: The embattled England captain came into the series under real pressure after a torrid winter, and found himself overshadowed by his prolific opposite number Mahela Jayawardene. Often criticised for his captaincy in the field, an encouraging showing with the bat in Colombo saw England's faltering opening partnership come good in the first innings as a solid 61 gave the tourists a rare platform. His place remains under scrutiny as his century drought continues.

Rating: 5

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Alastair Cook

Batting average: 52.33

Verdict: Cook scored his 1000th Test run in the second innings in Colombo as he and Kevin Pietersen led England to victory. In so doing, Cook overtook Marcus Trescothick as England's leading runscorer against Sri Lanka and the vice-captain's 157 runs in the series was a perfectly acceptable return in tricky conditions. A score of 94 in the first innings in Colombo was priceless in the context of the series.

Rating: 7

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Jonathan Trott

Batting average: 48.25

Verdict: Following a comical dismissal in the first Test in Galle, Trott was determined to salvage some pride from the series, which he duly did. The England number three scored 64 in the first innings in Colombo to follow a magnificent 112 in the second innings at Galle as he ensured that Sri Lanka's first Test victory was not as emphatic as it might have been.

Rating: 7

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Kevin Pietersen

Batting average: 75.33

Verdict: England's preening peacock strutted his stuff in a stunning series on a personal level as he racked up 226 runs at a remarkable strike-rate of 81. KP's belligerent and breathtaking 151 in the first innings in Colombo was the undoubted highlight, with an aggressive 42 not out in the second innings taking England to their victory target. After a dismal showing in the UAE, this was a magnificent response.

Rating: 9

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Ian Bell

Batting average: 27.66

Verdict: It was another series to forget for Bell in what has proved to be a woeful winter for the Warwickshire batsman. After averaging 8.50 from three Tests against Pakistan, Bell produced scores of 13 and 18 at Colombo after an encouraging, but insufficient, 52 in a rearguard effort at Galle. Desperately out of form, Bell will be keen to get back in English conditions where he will need a big summer to confound his doubters once more.

Rating: 5

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Samit Patel

Batting average: 13.33

Bowling average: 40.66

Verdict: Having been controversially selected for the first Test in Galle at the expense of Ravi Bopara, Patel produced a solid, if unspectacular, performance with the ball as England's third spinner. He kept his place for the second Test with Monty Panesar dropped, but did not score the runs from number six to stake a serious claim for a long-term spot in the side. Patel's selection was nothing more a short-term move.

Rating: 5

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Matt Prior

Batting average: 19.66

Verdict: While his wicket-keeping was typically impeccable - with the exception of a missed stumping off Swann in Colombo - Prior did not manage to weigh in with the runs expected of him in a struggling team effort with the bat in Galle. 59 runs with a highest score of 41 represents a very disappointing return for a usually reliable all-round performer.

Rating: 5

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Stuart Broad

Batting average: 33.00

Bowling average: 52.00

Verdict: Broad was undoubtedly England's best paceman in the UAE, but the Nottinghamshire bowler was unable to replicate that form in his solitary Test in Galle. Injured for the second Test in Colombo, this was not a memorable series for Broad and he will be keen to get back fit and firing for the English summer. His versatility and lower-order batting is sorely missed in his absence.

Rating: 6

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Graeme Swann

Batting average: 14.00

Bowling average: 22.18

Verdict: After a pretty disappointing showing against Pakistan, this was a stunning renaissance for Swann, who took 16 wickets at an impressive strike-rate of 45.4 and average of 22.18. Swann led the victory charge in Colombo and kept England in contention throughout the series with his spirited, consistent displays with the ball. Having bowled over 121 overs in the two-match series, his contribution was huge.

Rating: 9

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James Anderson

Batting average: 15.00

Bowling average: 21.77

Verdict: Anderson has averaged 24.72 this winter over five Test matches which, on flat, unresponsive pitches, is a phenomenal return. The Burnley Express finished with nine wickets at a strike-rate of 48.6 as he again proved that he is a world-class fast bowler in all conditions, rivalling Dale Steyn as the best around right now. Anderson toiled for long spells in incredible humidity and gave England an incredible amount of effort throughout the series.

Rating: 9

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Monty Panesar

Batting average: 6.50

Bowling average: 50.50

Verdict: Monty's contribution will be unfortunately remembered mostly for two glaring dropped catches which were replayed over and over to the spin-bowler's misery. Offering very little in two departments of the game, Panesar is always heavily reliant upon taking wickets, and a return of just two in Galle saw him dropped for Colombo as Patel's all-round package was preferred.

Rating: 5

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Tim Bresnan

Batting average: 5.00

Bowling average: 35.50

Verdict: The fact speaks for itself: England have a record of played 11, won 11 with the burly Yorkshireman in the side. Bresnan again showed his worth with tireless, whole-hearted spells in the energy-sapping conditions, but had little reward with just two wickets to his name in Colombo. Still finding his way back to full match fitness, Bresnan is expected to thrive in the summer.

Rating: 6

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Steven Finn

Batting average: N/A

Bowling average: 27.00

Verdict: Like Bresnan, Finn was thrown into the side for the second Test in Colombo, but he too responded with a gutsy, energetic display. Three wickets at an average of 27 was a fine return after having carried drinks for most of the winter. Another bowler of whom much is anticipated ahead of the English summer; his pace and potency continue to excite.

Rating: 7

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STAT OF THE DAY: England have still never lost a Test match after taking a first innings lead of over 180. Their highest lead in a losing cause was 177 against Australia at Old Trafford in 1961. A lead of 185 after the first innings proved sufficient in Colombo.

TWEET OF THE DAY: Since Jim Laker's 19 wickets at Old Trafford in July 1956, Graeme Swann is the only English off-spinner to claim a 10 wicket haul and he has done it twice. (Mohanstatsman)

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