sport news PLAYER RATINGS: Captain Root bats himself into form ahead of South Africa

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England were left to rue a host of near-misses as they drew their second Test against New Zealand, who secured a 1-0 series victory in Hamilton.

Captain Joe Root redeemed himself after a poor first Test with a double century, while Joe Denly summed up England's woes with an inexplicable drop. 

Sportsmail's LAWRENCE BOOTH rates the performances of both sets of players...  

England improved on their first Test against New Zealand but were left to rue near misses

England improved on their first Test against New Zealand but were left to rue near misses

ENGLAND 

Rory Burns - 7.5 

Not always fluent, and enjoyed a bit of luck, but his century at Hamilton confirmed the suspicion that England have finally unearthed a serious opener – and, who knows, a future captain? Still prone to moments of carelessness: a swipe at Santner in the first Test, and a needless run-out in the second.

Joe Root - 7

Hit rock bottom with first-Test scores of two and 11, but insisted success lay round the corner, and so it proved: his 226 at Hamilton was the innings of a true leader, even if some of his bowling changes still need work. Frankly, there is no one else for the job.

Joe Root scored a double century to ease pressure on himself after doubts over his captaincy

Joe Root scored a double century to ease pressure on himself after doubts over his captaincy

Chris Woakes - 7

Unexpectedly got a chance at Hamilton, where he bowled as well as he ever has with the red Kookaburra for match figures of four for 95. Picked up the big wickets of Williamson, Taylor and Latham, to keep his name in the mix for South Africa.

Stuart Broad - 6.5

Bowled like an old pro on a pair of featherbeds, going at 2.35 an over, and picking up a good four-for at Hamilton. His batting, though, has fallen off the charts.

Sam Curran - 6.5 

England’s leading wicket-taker – with six, though two were lbw after the batsman got an inside edge and failed to review. Often, Root handed the new ball to Curran ahead of Archer in the hope of swing, which only occasionally materialised. 

Ollie Pope - 6.5 

Learned quickly from two horror dismissals in the first Test, when he twice groped at wide deliveries. Despite then being asked to keep wicket for only the sixth time in his first-class career (and to drop a place to No 7), he responded with a high-class 75 at Hamilton. Dropped Williamson on the last day, but overall a big tick for the future. 

Ollie Pope scored high-class 75 after first Test dismissals but dropped Williamson on final day

Ollie Pope scored high-class 75 after first Test dismissals but dropped Williamson on final day

Ben Stokes - 6.5 

Had he turned his first-innings 91 into 150 – as he should have done on a pristine pitch – England would probably not have lost the first Test. Bowled with his usual mix of heart and skill, but dropped two crucial catches: Watling on 31 at Mount Maunganui, Latham on 66 at Hamilton.

Jofra Archer 6 

A return to earth after his stellar summer. Kept things tight, going at 2.54 an over, and would have taken more wickets but for clunky fielding. But he found his first experience of the Kookaburra a bit of a grind, and Root didn’t always use him sympathetically.

Jos Buttler - 6 

Never quite got going after a promising 43 in the first innings at Mount Maunganui. Was bowled for a duck in the second after shouldering arms to Neil Wagner, before tweaking his

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