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The Oval ratings

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Ben Dirs | 20:16 UK time, Sunday, 23 August 2009


Andrew Strauss - 9 Two crucial fifties, Strauss' batting has blossomed with the extra responsibility of the captaincy. Marshalled his bowlers well and looked calm and flinty as the business end of the series approached.

Alastair Cook - 4 The Essex man has well and truly cemented his reputation as an inveterate nibbler: stick the ball outside his off-stump early in his innings, and it's likely Cook will go looking for it.

Ian Bell - 7 Scrapped well to top-score for England in their first innings, although perhaps should have converted his 72 into a first Ashes hundred. Fell cheaply in the second innings, questions remain over his temperament.

Paul Collingwood - 4 Collingwood is in seriously bad nick and, with Kevin Pietersen waiting in the wings, this could be his last Test for some time. Skipping Durham's county match last week probably not the wisest move. Did take a fine catch to dismiss Mitchell Johnson.

Jonathan Trott - 9 A miraculous debut from the Warwickshire man. Came in at sticky times in both innings, and looked rock-solid on both occasions. Could be England's answer at number three.

Matt Prior - 6 Bamboozled by another Mitchell Johnson slower ball in his first innings, run out for a few in his second. But looked sharp in stumping Marcus North - his work behind the stumps has improved immeasurably.

Andrew Flintoff - 7 Tight with the ball in Australia's first innings, as usual, but clearly not fit. Played a rancid shot to get out in England's first innings, played a classic little cameo in the second. Give him a couple of extra points for that run-out of Ponting.

Stuart Broad - 9 The new Flintoff? Maybe. Magnificent spell with the ball to shatter Australia on Friday and two more classy knocks. Deservedly the man of the match.

Stuart Broad celebrates Ashes victory

Graeme Swann - 9 They said The Oval would turn, it did and Swann made the most of it, snaffling eight wickets in the match. Irritating for the opposition with the bat, with a chirpy manner, Swann grew in stature as the series wore on.

James Anderson - 6 Wicketless in the match, The Oval wasn't really the pitch for the Lancashire paceman. Still, he plugged away and stayed focused, just a shame about that duck.

Steve Harmison - 6 Hardly used in Australia's first innings, but chipped in with late wickets as England went in for the kill. Whether he's done enough to extend his England career will be argued over long and hard.


Simon Katich - 7 Kept his head amid the carnage in Australia's first innings and also made 43 in their second. Not pretty to watch, but has moulded himself into a very obdurate player. Stunning bit of work at short-leg to get rid of Jonathan Trott on Friday.

Shane Watson - 6 Starts in both innings, but dismissed by a couple decent deliveries from Stuart Broad. As a bowler though, he looks to be shot to pieces.

Ricky Ponting - 5 Out to a poor shot in Australia's first innings and looked mighty nervous. Had looked immovable before falling to the eagle-eyed Andrew Flintoff in the second. The biggest blot, however, was not picking spinner Nathan Hauritz.

Mike Hussey - 9 Magnificent in a losing cause in Australia's second dig. As with Matthew Hayden at The Oval in 2005, was playing for his place, and 'Mr Cricket' came up trumps.

Michael Clarke - 4 Player of the series, but a double failure when it mattered most, although he was the victim of a couple of fine pieces of fielding.

Marcus North - 6 Given out by umpire Asad Rauf in the first innings when he had clearly hit the ball, the victim of a sharp piece of glovework from Matt Prior in the second. However, he did some hard yards with the ball.

Brad Haddin - 4 Cleaned up by a corker from Stuart Broad in the first innings, out playing a poor stroke when his side needed some graft in the second. Some scrappy work behind the timbers, too.

Mitchell Johnson - 5 The enigma of the Australian side. Started the series poorly, looked to be improving, then ended it with something of a whimper. Four wickets, but nowhere near nasty enough.

Peter Siddle - 7 Bowled fast in England's first innings and was rewarded with four wickets, but lacked the same penetration in the second. Showed good spirit with the bat on Friday to at least give his side hope.

Stuart Clark - 4 Few will be feeling as wretched as Clark after defeat at The Oval. Nothing in the pitch for him, and his skipper pretty much admitted he should have played spinner Nathan Hauritz instead after the match was lost.

Ben Hilfenhaus - 5 Bowled well enough in England's first dig, but went round the park on Saturday when Australia dearly needed some control.


  • Comment number 1.

    Cook should be in Englands 1 day and 20twenty team. This will give him more cricket and he has been very good for Essex this year in this format of the game.
    I have not understood for 4 years why Collingwood is even there.

  • Comment number 2.

    I agree with he rating mostly but don't think North should get '4'.
    Anderson was wicketless so I can't see him getting anything more than a 4.

    Don't think Broad is the new Flintoff, typical English media overhype their players. I don't think he has that physical presence like Flintoff that frightens batsmen; but he is still young so it's understandable.

    I thought Swann was MOTM for me. Bowled beautifully as expected on a turning pitch.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think North probably deserves a couple more points- he bowled well on Saturday and was unlucky not to have better figures.

    Else, a fair reflection.

  • Comment number 4.

    Stuart Broad is not the new Andrew Flintoff. Andrew Flintoff is the old Stuart Broad.

  • Comment number 5.

    Broad and Swann definatly deserve their marks, they changed the match.
    Very harsh on North though, and over generous for Freddie in any other circumstance than today when I would make it higher.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think Anderson should of got less than Harmison; at least Harmy got a few wickets and bowled with some serious pace - he touched 93mph - at times, Anderson looked pretty toothless on that pitch. I think North should of got six really; he was unlucky to be given out in the first innings and bowled very well for part-time spinner in the second innings.

  • Comment number 7.

    North looked the most dangerous Aussie bowler in England's 2nd innings and for a so-called part time bowler hit a consistent & emaculate line & length. With a bit more luck he could have taken 6 or 7 wickets. Definitely worthy of more than a '4'. Can't argue too much with the rest of it.

  • Comment number 8.

    As much as 4 for Colly? He dropped a catch as well didn't he? Serious questions need to be asked in the House about his future in the team. Trott seems a natural replacement.
    We need to look at alternative openers - I am not as fed up with Cook as others are, but think it would help the number 3 situation as there is simply no clear answer to that predicament.
    Stop this "New Flintoff" business for Broady - he is a completely different kind of player - more refinement and less thuggery.
    Straussy (for coping with the responsibility), Swann (for being the biggest laugh in the team) and Broad (for producing a match changing spell when we needed it) get a 10 from me.
    Oh go on, push me, and they can all have a 10.

  • Comment number 9.

    My humble apologies, in the madness that followed the end of the match, I forgot about North's bowling! I've stuck him up a couple of notches!

  • Comment number 10.

    I think most ratings were ok. Hussey's might be a bit fair considering he was on a pair. But the others seem fair. Think maybe MOTM should have been shared. Broad and Swann have been great this series and especially this match.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think it would be nice to have a rating for the umpires too. What do you think? I hope that is not against the "spirit of the game." :-)

  • Comment number 12.

    Flintoff does next to nothing in the test match barring a run out and still receives a 7/10 score. Typical of most of his career really.

  • Comment number 13.

    The Man of the Series award for England was right as Strauss has been a model of consistency. I can't really argue with the ratings put down here so some thoughts.

    Shane Watson's bowling - he looked like he was struggling with an altered action in the T20. He looked shocking bowling before the match started on Friday in Cardiff. Australia have to get it into their heads that they have a seriously good batsman in Watson and they should focus everything on that side of his game.

    Mitchell Johnson - wowzers. This guy must really annoy some of the Aussie spinners. Krejza takes a hatload of wickets in India and gets dropped because he gives some runs away. Hauritz comes into the Ashes side, takes wickets and brings control to the side. He gets dropped. All the while though in this series, we see absolute loyalty toward Big Mitch as he leaks runs, gets Haddin diving all over the place, and generally bowls like a man whose blood has been replaced with Special Brew. Incredible. The loyalty to a broken Mitch is ultimately compounded by the inexplicable selection of Stuart Clark over Hauritz. Serious questions need to be asked as to what Australia want from a slow bowler and just how they're going to get Mitch firing again.

    Brett Lee - does he have a future? The picking of Clark was bizarre as it not only relegated Hauritz to drinks duties but sealed Lee's lousy record in Tests in England. If the Aussies had wanted a seamer ahead of Hauritz, surely Lee's ability to bowl quickly and get the ball to reverse should have put him ahead of Clark. It's hard to see what the future will hold for Lee now. I can't believe he'll be playing in 2013 so perhaps the next Ashes series will be his goal.

    Hussey - As one of my favourite players, it's been hard seeing him struggle and I personally would have dropped him earlier in the series for another bowler. However, he came through today and I hope this is a real return to form for him.

    Haddin - total success. A lot of people doubted his batting ability before this series and so I'm pleased he's shown how good he is. Despite this, in terms of all round keeping, Prior outshone him and kept very well indeed.

    People criticised England for losing to the West Indies in the winter. The Windies won a few vital sessions and that clinched the series. England have done exactly the same this year. In terms of fine cricket, this series can't match 2005 for sheer performance level and execution, but it certainly beat 2005 in terms of the series swinging from one side to the other. One of the great schizophrenic series.

  • Comment number 14.

    To quote the crowd from the third day;

    "Stuart Broard, Stuart Broard,
    Stuart Broard, Stuart Broard,
    Stuart Broard, Stuart Broard,
    Stuart, Stuart Broard"

    Sung to the tune of Kumbaya My Lord.

  • Comment number 15.

    #17 he never claimed to be good so dont take it out on him do to the usual hype but he is very talented, so i believe hype is correct however expected to do too much left alone i think he would have played better

  • Comment number 16.


  • Comment number 17.

    Haddin shouldn't even get a four, too often gives it away cheaply. Also Anderson should be less as he was totally ineffective, collingwoods days appear to be numbered.

    what about ratings for the Umpires? once again some good calls and some bad calls, anyone for a referral system?

  • Comment number 18.

    Rather unfair on Prior- He has proved the doubters wrong as a keeper in every match and was outstanding at the Oval. Overly generous to Anderson who would have been better replaced by Monty. Broad is nothing like Flintoff so please stop calling him that. Look how many players were destroyed by the "new Botham" tag! He is a good bowler who can bat and therefore deserves his place unless his bowling goes through another bad patch.

  • Comment number 19.

    Agree with ratings (North aside - he deserved better), however, bit dismayed to see bloggers slagging off Collingwood, what short memories some people have. Obviously, apart from the great catch to dismiss Johnson he has not contributed too much to this victory at the Oval. However, England would not have been in a position to win at all had it not been for his incredible marathon innings at Cardiff. Monty and Anderson batted very well for half an hour at the end to get the draw, but could they have batted for four-five or more hours if Colly had got out early? Australia, had they won there and again at Headingley, would already have done enough to retain the Ashes even before the first ball at the Oval. Credit where credit's due.

  • Comment number 20.

    'anyone for a referral system?'
    It's been "trialled" and then put on the back-burner. And yet it, or an equivalent, has been used to great effect in tennis for many years now, and all the players happily accept it. And some of those shots travel at 120+ m.p.h. !
    For a series of such importance, the BEST umpires in the world should stand, forget all this 'neutrality' nonsense.
    Well played England, Strauss throughout the series, and Broad, Swann and Trott in this match in particular.
    Onwards and upwards ?

  • Comment number 21.

    It goes to show that england can still win big matches without flintoff firing or pietersen

  • Comment number 22.

    "Cook should be in Englands 1 day and 20twenty team."

    April 1 was months ago

  • Comment number 23.

    Brilliant Ashes win. Swann, Braod, Trott & Strauss reaaly played well.

    Agree with someone earlier about Flintoff. When he does that moronic celebration everytime he gets a wicket, it is completely embarrassing & over the top. I think he thinks he is God or something. Its pathetic. Great throw for the run out, but he was celebrating before the 3rd umpire had given it. Would have looked rather silly otherwise. And he did nada all series apart from Lords.

  • Comment number 24.

    As an English sports follower it was great to put ones head on the pillow last night with a gentle smile and drift off to sleep with the image of Flintoffs throw and Pontins dismissal

  • Comment number 25.

    #19 - you clearly have a selective memory when it comes to collingwood. Yes he played a mamouth innings in Cardiff but that was it in the whole series (except a cameo at Lords). This is typical of collingwood's career; one contribution a series and the rest hopeless. I'm bored with words like gritty or phrases such as "he's good when the chips are down". Is he really? Headingly chips were down, chips were down in this game at times. He dropped 2 catches too. Time must be up for him now. Others such as Ravi, hildreth or moore are due the same chance he's had.

    On Broad, new flintoff he's not (yet). I was a massive critic of him before this game and I stand by that. Ok, he's had one game where he's learnt the value of pitching the ball up, if he continues this, he may become the world beater some quarters already think he is. Before this game, he'd done nothing to suggest he was capable of this, so fingers crossed he can go forward.

  • Comment number 26.

    People keep asking for referrals. We had them in the Caribbean and the overwhelming feeling was that they were a disaster, with interminable delays, (probably) correct decisions overturned and few great injustices corrected, but a few created. Long-term it may be the way to go, but the system needs to be looked at carefully. At very least the system needs to be made safer, with decisions only overturned when the TV evidence is absolutely clear that there has been an error and clear criteria for the umpires. Umpires are only human, but when referrals are made, the TV umpire is only human too and often is put under too much pressure to say something different rather than to back his on-field colleague unless the case is absolutely clear.

    As for the ratings, Andrew Flintoff's 7 seems a bit generous, but no one can have any real complaints, although giving Jimmy Anderson the same rating as Steve Harmison who came on late, but made a big impact (CricInfo credits him with unsettling Hussey so much that it precipitated the Ponting run-out), quite apart from doing what Australia signally failed to do all series, which was to make sure that 9, 10, Jack did not make a nuisance of themselves. A 6 is probably right for Steve Harmison, but is extremely generous to Anderson.

  • Comment number 27.

    Collingwood's attitude stinks. To go on holiday instead of getting, what for him, was the necessary practice from a County match, says it all.
    You mention his catching of Mitchell Johnson, but don't mention that the rest of his fielding was very poor. His dropped catches were shockers, not only for him, but for anyone in a Test Match.
    Pull your finger out Colly, you can be extremely arrogant at times. Everyone has a dip in form, but it is what to do about it and taking opportunities that follow that matters.

  • Comment number 28.

    Billy Bowden- 10- Frankly if he told me Father Christmas existed, I would beleive him.

  • Comment number 29.

    How short memories can be. Without Collingwood's knock in Cardiff England would have been 2-1 down going into the Oval test. Remember that - We couldn't have won back the ashes without him #fact

  • Comment number 30.

    I really struggle to see where all this aggression towards Collingwood comes from when England's batting problems start much higher up the order - namely Cook.
    If it weren't for the fact that we were already having to cover KP's injury and that Bopara had such a poor series, Cook should've been long gone by now.

    At least with Colly you get a (generally) very reliable pair of hands in the field (lets face it, he had one bad day which should not be allowed to overshadow his excellent work in the past) as well as a part-time bowler who can provide useful variety.

    When KP gets back, drop Cook and keep Colly.

  • Comment number 31.

    Good to see North get upgraded, no more than he deserved!

  • Comment number 32.

    how did anderson get 6? bowled tripe and batted poorly.

  • Comment number 33.

    About 12

  • Comment number 34.

    Agree entirely with ratings apart from that Flintoff should have got a '10'.

  • Comment number 35.

    I watched Harmison bowling on saturday from the Peter May stand and the run up was beautifull a real fast bowler and he could have had wickets.

    would Ben Dirs want to face 93 mph deliveries?

    But the usual old line slag Harmison from the media.

  • Comment number 36.

    Aggression towards Collingwood? Please read my comments again, they are simply an observation of his attitude, especially just prior to this final Test. To say that it is a fact that we would not have won the Ashes without him is simply not true. Good though his SINGLE good knock was, it was superceded by the match saving partnership of Anderson and Panasar.
    When he really needed the practice that County Cricket would have given him in between the last two Test Matches, and how he really needed it, he spurned it for a holiday. How responsible is that?
    .........Shane Warne summed the guy up perfectly during the 2005 series.

  • Comment number 37.

    I agree that the partnership of Anderson and Panasar was essential. But they were only in that position because Colingwood had almost single-handedly saved us from an almost certain loss.

    Other "key" players for us were Strauss and the bowling attack, who took it in turn to take five-fors over the course of the series.

    Trotts knock was hot hot hot. Bell has done enough to be looked at again.

  • Comment number 38.

    As to the assertion that a return to county cricket was definitely the best route for him - thats the beauty of hindsight. Getting away from cricket and re-charging his batteries was a decent bet, if that's what he instinctively thought was best for himself.

  • Comment number 39.

    A great day for English cricket.
    Whilst not quite the vintage of 2005 it yet again proves that Test cricket is alive and thriving (at least in England and Australia) and is still the greatest form of the game.
    I do hope that the England management have learned the lessons of 2005.
    Character and temperament are at least as important as technique, we only need to look at the performances of the likes of Trott, Swann and Broad (not forgetting the excellent Strauss) to confirm this.
    This must be a key part of future selections if England are to become the number one team in world cricket.
    However,there is much to be optimistic about with a number of up and coming young cricketers coming through from County cricket.
    Adil Rashid is a must for South Africa.
    He is a fine all round cricketer (as distinct to the increasingly one dimensional game of Panesar) and has real "attitude" and "bottle."
    A permutation from the likes of Rashid, Broad, Swann, Prior etc may be the best way to replace Flintoff's all round contribution.
    Others to watch are Joe Denly, Steven Davies, Stephen Moore,Craig Kieswetter (he qualifies for England in February of next year)James Hildreth plus youngsters with genuine potential like Sam Northeast, James Taylor, Liam Dawson, Stephen Finn, Chris Woakes etc.
    Add to this experienced players like Rob Key, Sajid Mahmood and Ryan Sidebottom and even perhaps Ian Blackwell (some outstanding performances for Durham this year) and the future certainly can look bright for England.
    I am all for continuity but let's ensure that, unlike 2005 we are moving forward after this Ashes triumph and that ability, technique and a Test match temperament are all key considerations in future selections.

  • Comment number 40.

    #18 - Rather unfair on Prior- He has proved the doubters wrong as a keeper in every match and was outstanding at the Oval.


    I'm a huge Prior fan and hope that his performance with the gloves throughout this series has nailed down the keeping slot for good and he retires after the 2017 Ashes, having had a glittering international career.

    However, this game was one of the rare instances where he failed with the bat in both innings and his score should reflect that, so 6 is about right.

    Were the rating for the whole series, I would give him an 8.

  • Comment number 41.

    Bobbystraightbat, I've been saying for some time that a lower order with Prior, Broad, Swann and Rashid will give us a depth of batting that we haven't seen for a long time and some interesting bowling options. In this series we have seen just how vital the contributions of 8-11 have been to England's success. One player missing from your list is Liam Plunkett: he's had a good season and is still quite young; he can also bat a bit as he showed with a fighting 50 in a crisis in his debut ODI.

    I think that we have far more bowling options right now than batting, although the selection of Trott showed that you can pick someone completely new and expect them to make an impact (other teams have managed this for years, but only rarely has England). Right now you can be reasonably optimistic and one or two of the established players are going to be very disappointed when the party for South Africa is named [in no particular order: Cook, Bell, Collingwood, Sidebottom and Harmison may be sweating on their places].

  • Comment number 42.

    I think you have the marks pretty ok, though I think you could have been more generous to Prior and Ponting, especially if Ponting hadnt been run out, we would still be playing on Monday and I would have no nails left.

    A great game, for the next tests, I think Colly still has a place, but like Cook, Bell and Bopara he needs to find some form. For SA I would like to see Denly also opening or coming in at 5 for the warm up games, to ready himself for opening if Strauss is unfit or Cook continues to lose form.

    The selectors now do have some problems in each area, with I think only KP, Prior (amazingly) and Strauss guaranteed a starting spot for South Africa, there is competition for all the places.

    Collingwood/Bopara/Patel (if he gets his head out of his...)
    5 from depending on conditions and form
    Broad, Swann, Rashid, Onions, Anderson, Mahmood, Harmison, Sidebottom, Panesar.

    As other posters have written, I think this is the (slow) start of England building for the future, just like 2002. We have a lot talent in the Lions.
    I dont expect us to win the series in SA, but I expect us to compete there, and hopefully we can build onwards to being a strong unit over the 2-3 years and being a top 2 test nation again.

  • Comment number 43.

    my ratings for the fifth test :
    strauss--- 9- best captian ever
    cook ---- 2- why did he even bother to bat

    prior--- 6- did pretty well as a wicket kipper
    swann --- 9- fantastic batting and bowling

    broad---9 -the new flintoff, fabulous bowling and batting

    harmison-6- helped us in the end by taking 3 important wickets

    flintoff--- 7 - gona be missed, excellent hand eye cordination

    anderson---- 6- luck just wasnt with him but played good
    trott---- 9 - fantastic century , shud be at pos 3

    collingwood---- 4- great catch
    bell---- 6- very good batting

    just like to say how proud and happy i am of england to have regained the ashes by beating the aussies , just a dream come true, with the way they played we now may have a chance of winning the icc world twenty20 , even maybe the icc world cup:)
    it was about time we showed the world how strong england really are and that no one should judge wrongly the 3 lions!!

  • Comment number 44.

    Collingwood is nowhere near a teat player. If he went back to his county he would Struggle to get in the side thats why he goes on Holiday I am sure. Bopara was sent back to Essex 1st match 201 1st inns 15 not ou 2nd inns. Its the same for Cook. Also look at Cooks 1 day and 20twenty stats this year. A far better player than Collingwood even in this form of the game.
    I would keep Bell rather than Collingwood who is the most overrated batsman in the England team. And lets face it he cannot bowl Cooks spin bowling is of more use.
    Put Bopara in for Collingwood at test level. Better batsman better bowler.
    Make Cook the 1 day captain leave Collingwood to go back to county and stop hindering the England setup

  • Comment number 45.

    Sure Ponting looked rock solid in the second innings, but I think Ponting's 5 rating should be about 2 because he lead his team to defeat through what appeared to be an abundance of arrogance. He continually underestimated the opposition. It appears that he thought that England were not good enough to bowl his batsman-heavy team out twice; that his four bowler attack -- a terribly unbalanced attack without a spinner and arrogantly thinking that Mitchell Johnson would come good -- was enough not to lose; he claimed that Australia would go for the win but picked a team for a draw; he slagged off Trott as not good enough; he played a poor shot in first at bat as he underestimated the resurgent Broad (who finally learned line and length pays dividends) and he ambled through the first part of the second run thinking Flintoff was a crock and too slow. The captain should down with a sinking ship -- a great player undoubtedly but on this occasion a 5 is far too generous.

    I am OK with Flintoff's rating -- he had a huge motivating impact -- a quick 22 after 168-5 set the tone for Broad and Swann to deflate the Aussies by setting a target of 550 (not even a Lords 2nd innings was that good) and his run out again deflated a Aussie uprising.

    Harmison cleaned up three tail enders (and on current form I include Johnson in that category) which hardly rates a 6 or a ticket to SA.

  • Comment number 46.

    Andrew Strauss 8: Two decent bats, won the ashes as captain, priceless.
    Alastair Cook 3: Didn't bat well, took the winning catch.
    Ian Bell 7: Good first innings.
    Paul Collingwood 4: Not awful.
    Jonathan Trott 9: Debut century, says it all.
    Matt Prior 6: Bad batting, great keeping.
    Andrew Flintoff 5 (10): Not fit, but hell of a career.
    Stuart Broad 8: Good batting, great bowling.
    Graeme Swann 8: 8 wickets, not bad batting.
    Steve Harmison 6: Bowled OK.
    James Anderson 3: First duck, wicketless, oh dear.

  • Comment number 47.

    Mike Hussey batted well and gave some hope to his side. The ever vigilant Prior deserved a bit more than just a sixer.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 48.

    Pointing doesnt deserve more than 4. His batting may give him 6 points.
    His captancy will deduct 2 point from that 6. How can u play without picking any spinner in such a dry pitch?
    If you have players like Warne, Macgrath, Hayden then any captain can win the matches.
    English team completed the job which was started by India in 2008.


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