After England suffered an embarrassing opening test at Lord’s, England turned things 180 degrees to give South Africa a three-day thump at Old Trafford.
It was as close to a perfect performance as you could get – and even including losing the toss just to South Africa making the wrong call as first batt. Telegraph Sport rates the players after their turnaround in fortunes.
Alex Read 3
Suddenly wrestling again. The pace of the South African attack coupled with Lees’ attempt to be assertive creates opportunities for the cordon. He just needs to temper his approach without falling back on the Caribbean blocker.
Bag Crawley 7
We knew he could make nice runs and now he has proven that he can make ugly runs too. Still sidelined and struggling for fluidity, but stuck around for 101 balls and survived a tough, crucial final session on day one when South Africa’s attack could have dragged their side in.
Ollie Pope 4
Pace and movement are a normal hazard for a No. 3 and Pope comes out the same way with his defense with too many holes. A low score was a shame after making progress at Lord’s.
Joe Root 3
Caught in the cordon with the kind of shot against pace that gets him into trouble in Australia. The good thing for England was that they scored 415 and Root scored just nine. That’s progress.
Jonny Bairstow 6
Counterattacked when England needed it and it took a snorting spell of Nortje’s bowling to blow him away just as Bairstow was ready to take off. Very solid in the briefs.
Ben Stokes 9
What a week he’s had. Excellent hundred, the kind of patient, well made test innings he could always play. Inspirational bowling when England started flagging and looking flat.
Ben Foakes 8
The first test hundred at home will give him a lot of confidence as it was made against a top class speed attack. He had the luxury of going against spin, but survived the crossing from the quicks. Keep calm, confident.