BBC BLOGS - Adam Mountford
« Previous | Main | Next »

England player ratings v Sri Lanka

Post categories:

BBC Sport blog editor | 17:35 UK time, Monday, 20 June 2011

The enduring image of England's 1-0 Test series victory over Sri Lanka will probably be rain hammering down on covered pitches, while handfuls of spectators huddle under brollies in the stands.

But despite losing 26 hours hours of play to bad weather, there were some superb individual performances - although one or two England players need to raise their game for the series against number one ranked India, which starts next month.

Here, former England spinner and Test Match Special summariser Phil Tufnell rates the players' performances, but do you agree with his marks out of 10?

Andrew Strauss (runs: 27, average: 6.75) - 4

He will be disappointed with his lack of runs. He led the troops well, and got another Test series win under his belt but he does need to work on his batting against those left-arm seamers.

Alastair Cook (runs: 390, average: 97.50) - 8.5

What can you say about a guy who has scored at least 50 in his last six Test innings? It doesn't get much better than that. He carried on from his fantastic form from the winter and averaged almost 100.

Jonathan Trott (runs: 267, average: 66.75) - 8

Another good series for England's Mr Dependable, including that superb double-century in Cardiff.

Kevin Pietersen (runs: 162, average: 40.50) - 7

He was looking to get back to his fluent best and after a scratchy start he looked a class act at the Rose Bowl. That knock will have done him the world of good.

Ian Bell (runs: 331, average: 331.00) - 9.75

I'm loathe to give a 10, but it's tricky when a guy averages 331. He looked completely at home with himself, has always been easy on the eye, has poise, grace, lovely touch and a range of shots. He is now coming out and doing it when it matters and got a couple of great hundreds.

Eoin Morgan (runs: 168, average: 56.00) - 7.5

He has come in and looked very at home in Test match cricket. A lot of people said he was just a one-day player but I think he has looked completely at home. He looks to come in at six and give the innings momentum and he manipulates the field when the spinners are on.

Matt Prior (runs: 130, average: 43.33) - 7

He got a very good hundred at Lord's and had a good series behind the stumps. I would have given him 7.5 if he hadn't broken that window.

Stuart Broad (wickets: 8, bowling average: 48.75) - 5

It was a disappointing series for Broady but I think he deserves to keep his place. He is very much part of this England side and gets some useful runs down the order. He just needs to get that confidence back with the ball and that comes from getting wickets.

Graeme Swann (wickets:12, bowling average: 23.58) - 7.5

The conditions have been awkward for the spin bowler with all the rain. It has been off and on the whole way through. He hasn't had four or five nice dry days where he can really wrap his fingers round it and get some purchase. It has been difficult but he is one of England's main men.

Chris Tremlett (wickets: 15, bowling average 23.4) - 9

He has really come in and cemented his place in the side and he looks like taking a wicket with every ball he bowls. A real big plus for England, carrying on his good form from Australia.

James Anderson (wickets: 7, bowling average: 29) - 7.5

Showed why he is leader of the attack with some important wickets at crucial times. Missed out at Lord's with an injury.

Steven Finn (wickets: 4, bowling average: 34.75) - 6.5

He came in at Lord's and did a job and it shows the great depth of bowling talent that we have at the moment when you have a guy like Finn available when someone gets injured.

Phil Tufnell was talking to BBC Sport's Sam Sheringham

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Very poor ratings. I know Strauss is captain, but you cannot justify giving someone who averaged 6 runs an innings a 4. Likewise Stuart Broad. I would give Strauss a 2 and Broad a 3. Cook deserves a 9, Trott deserves an 8.5 and Anderson deserves a 8 at least.

  • Comment number 2.

    8.5 for a 97 average, i'm glad you weren't my teacher!
    England's batting from 2 to 7 looks quality, and Strauss is too good a player to be out of the form for long.

  • Comment number 3.

    It's ok to disagree with the ratings, that doesn't make them poor tho. And a batsman can do more than score runs in a test/series so maybe he caught a few and led the team well, having said that he has an issue opening at the moment, a guaranteed early wicket for the opposition is not something to ignore, but he'll figure it out i'm sure. I felt during the series that the bowling has been slightly off, so i think the ratings were fairly generous there (tho Tremlett deserves a 9).

    But on the whole i agree. This does highlight the issue of handing out ratings for any sport, sometimes players are not aided by the occasion, i.e. Finn came in and did well in one test, Swann didn't have the conditions.

  • Comment number 4.

    i disagree with you Cabluigi you cant give a 2 to someone who has been a force behind a series win against sri lanka. after all we got sri lanka all out within 20 odd overs in Cardiff straussy must of had something to do with that i thought England played well in the time they had to play without the rain tyring to get in on the act and well done to them at the end of the day its a series win now bring on India

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm surprised that Tuffers is allowed to go for fractions - surely tradition requires you to commit yourself to a round number each time?

    That said, he's not far out in my view. I'd go for:

    Strauss 5 (he it was who called it right in the game England won, thereby taking the series - poor with the bat, but good in the slips)
    Cook 8 (did his job and more)
    Trott 8 (ditto)
    Pieterson 6 (you can't give him an extra point just to make him feel more confident!)
    Bell 9 (superb batting and fielding throughout)
    Morgan 7 (looks the part, though rarely under much pressure)
    Prior 8 (a ton from the lower order is special, and the broken window incident is irrelevant)
    Broad 5 (not up to scratch with the ball, but got a useful 50 at Lords)
    Swann 7 (useful, without setting the world alight too often)
    Tremlett 8 (highly effective, but still goes off the boil quite frequently)
    Anderson 7 (much better than at the World Cup)
    Finn 6 (unlucky not to get more chances)

  • Comment number 6.

    I would not rate Prior above 5 until he starts doing his job and batting 6 or higher and scoring runs.
    To me Prior is the main reason England fail. He is only average behind the stumps and was brought in the side because he is supposed to bat 6 or above. By having a wicket keeper that can only bat 7 or below and only score decent runs now and again lets England down. Time for a new wicket keeper that can bat above six. The no 7 spot can then be used for batting or bowling. We can have 4 seam bowlers and swan and only drop a seam bowler if we need 2 spinners. If England want to be No 1 its time for Prior to bat 6 or above and score runs or find a new wicket keeper.

  • Comment number 7.

    Rule,

    I don't understand your comment. We have a great batting line up as is who would you lower to move Prior up? Or are you saying you don't like Prior and want your WK instead no matter where he bats.

  • Comment number 8.

    How can you say Stuart Broad deserves to keep his place? He is in the side to take wickets and quite obviously doesn't. Steve Finn should now be given a run in the side. Andrew Strauss is class and should be given a point more as he led the side to a series win with his good Captaincy style. What do you have to average to get more than a 8.5?

  • Comment number 9.

    @RulechangeCrazy comment 6

    Did you watch the right set of highlights? I think I can smell an axe being ground...

    A good win by a very promising English side. I agree with the scores by Tuffers all in all, though I would've given Cook a 9 and Tremmors a 10- can't remember the last time I saw a batsman in such serious danger of wetting himself as he prepares to face a delivery... and who can blame them? He's the Valuev of cricket.

  • Comment number 10.

    Very strange ratings. Cook 8.5?????????????

  • Comment number 11.

    The Rose Bowl Groundsman ..... 10/10

    Hard firm base, with a good covering of grass (pitch curators around the world please take note)

    Wicket's with good pace and bounce = interesting Test cricket

  • Comment number 12.

    Phil Tufnell Rating: 1/10

    Shoddy work lacking insight and depth. The plethora of .5s are annoying. To give Cook an 8.5 when a 9 is fully justified needs explaining. Improvements needed on quite a large scale I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 13.

    As a life long Notts supporter I guess I should declare an interest before I make any comment.

    Broad appeared "under cooked" when he played for Notts. I hope he is gaining some form. As far as his role in the England side goes...is he an allrounder? If so that suggests his batting is as important as his bowling- and should be a part of a five man attack. If he is a bowler is he a shock bowler or a stock bowler? I am not sure he or we know his role. For his and our sake his Coaches must decide.

  • Comment number 14.

    Absolutely agree with CollisKing - the goundsman at the Rose Bowl definitely deserves full marks. The wicket was fantastic - when was the last time you saw 6 slips. Fabulous.

    Bell is worth the admission fee on his own. His batting is sublime. I would give him 10/10. He needs to bat above Pietersen. Tremlett is awesome, in the true sense of the word.

    All in all, a very fair set of scores.

  • Comment number 15.

    I don't know why you loathe to credit Ian Bell with the perfect score of 10 that he deserves. He was outstanding with the bat and super in the field. Why begrudge merit where it is patently due?

    Alaistair Cook would be the easiest 9 you could score - the only reason you may deny him a 10 would be for comparison with Ian Bell.

    I'd lump them both in the same bracket because they have been outstanding.

  • Comment number 16.

    tel819 @8

    I agree, his looks like the slot up for grabs. His average should be improving now, but he keeps bowling far too many balls that batsman don't have to play, and far too few that give the batsman the opportunity to get ‘themselves’ out. His comfort zone appears to be bowling short. And. If we’re only playing 4 bowlers they all need to be contributing.

  • Comment number 17.

    How has Bell not got 10/10?!

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with 6. Rulechangecrazy, we need a 5th bowler to be no.1. And I like the fractions. And Broad is hugely overrated or not making the most of a talent that only the england management understand. Is it for karaoke perhaps? It's not for bowling anyway - meat and potatoes stuff. Is there a rule about not criticising Broad too much? Is it because he is blonde and blue eyed? I don't understand it. Please help. A side with, say, Onions and Finn and no Broad or Morgan, might have nicked another win in this series.

  • Comment number 19.

    Broad should be dropped for the India series. We don't need another tall bowler and Tremlett and Finn are better than Broad anyway but Onions, Bresnan or Shazad would be more effective against the indian batters. However, we all know they won't drop Broad. It appears to me that he knows he won't be dropped which leads to the annoying petulance/arrogance towards umpires and even his own team mates.

  • Comment number 20.

    Cook faces down the new ball and builds an innings; Bell builds on his good work. Surely ANYBODY can see that? Bell has played very well, but Cook has to get the higher mark. Madness.

  • Comment number 21.

    I agree that one of the stars was the Rose Bowl groundsman. It was a "result" pitch and had the weather not been poor it was likely England would have won a free scoring game of plenty of wickets. We have had enough of pudding pitches and it is important that the pitches for India are like this one. Sad though that the crowds were so poor except on Saturday. Player of the match and series was Ian Bell. What a revelation.

  • Comment number 22.

    people need to pipe down, hes trying his best!! I had some cricket coaching the other day and was told to watch Bell among all people, he's a fantastic example!!

  • Comment number 23.

    @ John_Bull I agree with all but "he is in comfort zone". I am not sure he has one yet...he seems to keen to be a man for all seasons and not a man for the moment. Give him a role- and I think he will rise to it.

  • Comment number 24.

    jr @28

    Yes, fair point about defined role. I seem to remember Freddie having a similar issue at the same stage? It’s puzzling though, because he clearly does bowl too short too often. So, either they're not telling him to pitch it up, or he's not listening. Which is very frustrating because he clearly does have the talent and he seems to have the desire.

  • Comment number 25.

    The last time we were here with Stuart Broad was after the 2009 Edgbaston Ashes Test. Amid some calls for him to be dropped, he then had an excellent Test at Headingley (in a losing team cause) and then produced the match-clinching spell which won the series decider at The Oval. Since then, he has done little wrong until this series, he remains absolutely vital to the ODI side, and though I'd love to see Graham Onions back in the Test team it would be hard to justify dropping him.

    Actually, I think it might be time to revert to five bowlers, given that our pitches seem to be pretty flat now and the Indian batsmen will laugh when they see people like Trott and Pietersen bowling at them - but that will never happen under Flower.

  • Comment number 26.

    I think Tuffers is a bit harsh on Cook 8.5 unless he was annoyed at him giving his wicket away on 96 at the Lord's test

    To be fair to Straussy his batting has come under a lot of scrutiny against left arm seam bowlers and his captaincy has been a bit overcautious and with 27 runs you can see why he only gets a 4 !

    He's made some good captain decisions but I guess people will have a go at him for his late declaration at Lords and unable to marshall his bowling attack when Sri Lanka were for the taking there and here

  • Comment number 27.

    Oliver - can you explain why it will never happen under Flower? The case seems so straightforward. Am happy to be corrected otherwise - help me to understand it...this conservative approach is very frustrating.

  • Comment number 28.

    jamois - "it will never happen under Flower" may be taking it slightly too far, but not for the foreseeable future. The reason is that he won an away Ashes series with this strategy - which many felt was an overly cautious plan - and having captured "the Holy Grail" for English cricket in this manner he will feel it should be good enough for other opponents.

  • Comment number 29.

    While I never used to be a big Ian Bell fan due to questions over his mentality boy am I glad to see him coming good. Easily the best player to watch (only Pietersen and Morgan come close, well and Jimmy obviously) and he is prolific right now. He seems to have overcome the doubts over his ability to withstand pressure and is incredible right now. Well done Ian Bell.

  • Comment number 30.

    Is it just me who's come to find it irriatating when they post these things as blogs for everyone to comment on? 'Well I'd have have given whatshisface a 7.5 not a 7, these ratings are rubbish' is the inevitable tone of most of the comments. It matters not a jot.

    Now what would be more fun would be to get gGoffery to do the ratings, then all the other commentators say why they thought THEY were rubbish if they dared :-)

  • Comment number 31.

    gGoffery? Well you know what I MEANT to type!

  • Comment number 32.

    @ John_Bull and others... Interesting that you remind us that Freddie seems to have experienced a similar path to Broady. Interesting that the senior staff have changed. Wonder if it is the case that past lessons have not been learnt.

  • Comment number 33.

    Strange ol' stuttering series this; small crowds, rain, delays, new Test grounds, undercooked opposition, commentators fillilng time talking over mistakes/opinions.

    For England, time for the quality to shine through and with Cook, Bell, Trott and KP our top order looks solid. Strauss not so great but its temporary, he knows how to come back and when something more serious than a bilp is afoot. Morgan settling in nicely.
    As to comments ref Prior at 6 and Broad: get some runs, their avarages this series aren't great - they had several play-for-the-team slog-or-get-outs. Its a settled side and we won 1-0.
    Bowling wise, nice set of quality, tall pacemen. Adding the skiddier Bresnan / Onions might give something extra, otherwise a strong unit. Hopefully Tremlett, who had a great game will learn from the SL quality rearguard and think out batters.

    Strauss off to Somerset for a form-finder - opening with Trescothick would be worth the admission. Might fire up Kieswetter too.

  • Comment number 34.

    We all say we hate these player ratings but come on, how many of us clicked on the link to compare our own scores?

    Cook - 8.5?? Crikes Tuffers, does he have to average 100 to get a nine?

    @#6 - What are you on? Prior complements the batting. Ok, not quite the same quality as Adam Gilchrist, but he does add impetus. Who are you going to drop to make way for this WK who doesn't exist? Morgan, Bell, Pietersen ??

  • Comment number 35.

    Although Morgan has done little wrong i think we're going to come unstuck against India unless we have a bit more firepower, especially when Cook, Trott and Bell are batting so well and Pieterson looks like he's coming into form. Prior needs to man-up and play at 6, he does have the ability. Team selection wise Broad can keep his place and could do with some county matches under his belt, the last 2 years have been heavily affected by injury. He also needs to figure out what kind of a bowler he really is, no doubt in my mind he's got to bowl line and length. I'd personally put faith in the batsmen and pick a 5th bowler from Bresnen, Shazad, Onions or Finn. However, i doubt Flower will do this so what about the compromise of Bopara to bowl those useful 'Collingwood' overs...

  • Comment number 36.

    yorkiebarkid1985 - why does Prior need to man up? It's not his decision to play at 7 - Flower, Strauss and the selectors have been set on playing four bowlers for a good while now.

    On the whole it was a good series for England - nearly all of the batsmen got good runs, Tremlett is becoming an excellent bowler whilst Swann and Anderson picked up wickets at a good rate too. Only Strauss and Broad have had bad series - you're never going to have every player performing, although ideally everyone should contribute at some point over 15 days of cricket.

  • Comment number 37.

    Overall i think the ratings are pretty fair however i struggle to understand why Bell got one more mark than Cook. Especially when you consider that he not only got more runs than Bell but arguably had the harder job of opening the innings each match.

    yorkiebarkid1985 - The idea of bringing Bopara into the team simply because he can bowl a few part time overs is simply an inept opinion. Morgan is a very exciting proposition for England and the idea of dropping him for a inferior batsman because he can bowl a few overs is lunacy.
    The absence of semi decent part time bowlers is a particular problem for England with Collingwood retiring but this series has shown Strauss is encouraging both Pietersen and Trott to take up that role in the field. I think over time one if not both of them will be able to replace Collingwood in that respect.

  • Comment number 38.

    Why did Tuffers give Bell one more mark than Cook? He has his own reasons. But some things to consider. The Sri Lankan bowlers found it very difficult to get Bell out, three not out innings out of the four. The coach Stuart Law called Bell the thorn in their side.

    Cook opens - that is a position he has always played. Bell had to adapt to play different kinds of innings. He came in at 22-3 and built a crucial partnership of 108 with Cook. In the same match he had to rescue the SR with 57* off 43 balls which Cook had let slide before the declaration - Cook got 11 runs in the hour before lunch. Bell got two not out centuries. These could easily have been extended if the weather had permitted uninterrupted play. He never looked like getting out in either.

    Both batsmen were terrific. But Bell was more versatile and he changed pace with greater facility. The other Bell bonus was his fielding. He is superb while Cook is OK. Cook had to watch Strauss fail and kept his nerve. Bell had to step up because KP and Trott failed twice.

  • Comment number 39.

    Why do people feel the need to criticise someone's opinion? Tuffers is the ex-pro and probably saw more of the matches than anyone commenting here.

    And why do people feel the need to stick the boot into Broad? No-one complained about him when he more or less won the 20-20 World Cup for us. Form is temporary, class is permanent. He will find his form.

    My Ratings (only where they differ and only my opinion, not gospel):
    Cook 9 - opening is always hardest
    Bell 10 - you can't argue with that average and his fielding was immense, he could not have done more for the team. Man of the series without doubt.
    Prior 7.5 - he averaged more than KP (and yet someone was still moaning about his batting?! Plus who would you replace him with, let's have some constructive arguments peeps).
    Temlett 8 - good in patches, mainly when batsmen were sleepy after rain breaks, struggled when the weather was consistently good.

  • Comment number 40.

    Poor Stauss, he is having a 'tuff' time with the bat. I think the author is a bit generous with a 4 rating.

    I would rate him a 2.

    I agree with the others.

    Cheers.

    P.S.: It is nice to see that a blog is finally opened for discussion.

    1. 606 should be put back on track. It is a great forum for fans to voice their opinions.

    2. We must always keep open dialogue alive at iconic BBC.

  • Comment number 41.

    Generally agree with ratings. Good job. Cooky though deserves 9.5, .5 taken off for his catching. He dropped a few. See when colly retired, england lost more than a great batsman. They lost a human sized bucket in the slips.
    Also, 9.75 for Bell? I wouldn't tell him that when he's having a net session! (that bat of his is a beast. I've seen less agressive trees!) Anyway, good article tuffers. Love u on QOS by the way.

  • Comment number 42.

    Broad - 1. Has to be dropped. He didnt look like take wickets against Sri Lanka so what chance against India. He thinks all he has to do is bang the ball in and the wickets will follow and his body language is of a cocky bully. He is walking the walk but its a long time since he talked the talk. England will keep him in the side and there will be several 1 - 120's against India to follow if they do. You heard it here first.

  • Comment number 43.

    If you think that these ratings are strange go look at the ICC Test rankings: England now have 5701 points compared to India's 5357 and South Africa's 4228 yet this translates into a third place rating behind them. That is weird: but I suppose we have played against the weaker nations, like Australia back to back, which might explain why our points convert to a "rating" of 116 compared to SA's 117 and India's 128

  • Comment number 44.

    Tyto I believe you'll find the test ranking are divided by the amount of games you play in the period(3-4 years) as England tend to play more test cricket they have more points but a lower ranking.

  • Comment number 45.

    Re : Comments on Prior’s batting – 5 hundreds Av. 43.80 after 42 test matches. That compares very favourably with just about any wicket keeper in history (Gilchrist excepted) and certainly any current wicket keepers.
    By the time he is finished he will have scored more test hundreds and more test runs than any English keeper in history. The only thing that may stop him is how rarely he gets to bat. In last 8 test matches he has only got to bat 10 times and a number of those were for a few ball slog prior to a declaration.
    His keeping is now pretty solid. I don’t recall any drops on the Ashes tour and 1 very tough leg side chance against Sri Lanka.
    We do appear to have an embarrassment of riches in the wicket keeper / batsmen department – Kieswetter, Davies, Bairstow, but even still Prior has reached a level which closes the matter for debate.

  • Comment number 46.

    Prior also scores at 65 runs/100 balls - 3 faster than KP, 14 faster than Bell. He gives us acceleration in the lower order, and can take the game away from the opposition to set up wins.

    As long as our 4 bowlers keep bowling out the opposition, I don't see any reason to change. One failure to bowl out Sangakkara is certainly not that reason.

  • Comment number 47.

    The top five are fine with the bat, as it's only a matter of time before Strauss gets his form back so: Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Bell are all doing well for me. Morgan did all he could in this series but, through no fault of his own, I feel we need an extra bowler to take the pressure off during a long opposition innings, and provide a few fresh ideas - Bresnan would be my shout, as he's decent with the bat as well, and can be interchanged for a second spinner when required. We showed in Sri Lanka's last innings at the Rose Bowl how quickly we run out of ideas when Broad had picked up a niggle (Trott is not good enough to be a fourth seamer!!)However, saying all that, a new bowler would require Prior to bat at six and, despite how good a keeper / batsman he is, I think we've proved when we've tried that before (ashes 09) that it doesn't work on a regular basis. Ideally, we could do with a 12 player team...

  • Comment number 48.

    Agree with those who feel Tuffers was a bit generous to Strauss and Broad. Indeed, the latter will do well to hold onto his place when Tim Bresnan is fit again - unless he can continue the improvement he showed in the second innings at the Rose Bowl.

    Some people are criticising the decision to send Strauss on 'loan' to Somerset to play in the game against India. But I think it is a positive move and one that could give the skipper's mind the time it needs to concentrate on his own game as well as giving him much needed time at the crease. A one-on-one with Marcus Trescothick probably wouldn't do any harm either.

    Other than that England look in fine fettle for the main course of the summer - India.

    For those that are interested here are our marks out of 10 for England for the series with links to our marks out of 10 for the Rose Bowl and the other Tests in the series included within.

    England v Sri Lanka: England series marks out of 10 http://bit.ly/jwgC67


  • Comment number 49.

    To be honest, if Stuart Broad doesn't start taking wickets soon, they'd be as well trying someone else - and to be blunt, I believe he's still in the side on the strength of those two fivefers in the 2009 Ashes series. Correct me if I'm wrong - my memory can be a bit hazy - but I can't remember any other match-winning performance of his as a bowler (which is why he's picked) before or since at test level. I think the problem is that he falls between all the stools: he's not quite quick enough to be an out-and-out terroriser (you have to be consistently above 90mph to do that on good pitches); he doesn't swing the ball consistently enough to be in the side as a swing bowler; and his line and length hasn't been consistent enough for us to regard him as a stock bowler. I'd personally get Tim Bresnan back in the side for Broad as soon as he's match-fit, or even Graham Onions.

  • Comment number 50.

    With regard 6. I completely agree.

    Either we need a batsman who can keep (this is not prior, 130 for the series and he made a ton ! what happened in the other inning's ?) or a keeper who can bat (this will not be prior... the missed stumping the other day which aggers said "he was expecting the nick, pull the other one...)

    My suggestion is either Foster, Read or Ambrose for the keepers who can bat or Birstow or Davies for Batsmen who can keep.

    If what we're saying is that the england batting is good enough without the likes of prior but hten we like his impetus, then why not throw Keiswetter another bone and see how he goes ?

    Just don't see prior as the answer...

  • Comment number 51.

    Ratings are very subjective. I think Tuffers did a fair job. I'm excited about the prospect of the one day series. Could be very different, definitely and area England need to grow and establish themselves as the best in the world, which with the players we have is entirely possible

  • Comment number 52.

    Yes ratings are hard to live up to. But yet growing will take some time...

  • Comment number 53.

    50. At 13:57 21st Jun 2011, IfIhadthewings wrote:
    With regard 6. I completely agree.

    Either we need a batsman who can keep (this is not prior, 130 for the series and he made a ton ! what happened in the other inning's ?) or a keeper who can bat (this will not be prior... the missed stumping the other day which aggers said "he was expecting the nick, pull the other one...)

    My suggestion is either Foster, Read or Ambrose for the keepers who can bat or Birstow or Davies for Batsmen who can keep.

    If what we're saying is that the england batting is good enough without the likes of prior but hten we like his impetus, then why not throw Keiswetter another bone and see how he goes ?

    Just don't see prior as the answer...

    ---------------

    Why on earth are you questioning Prior's batting? Here's how he batted this series:

    First Test - didn't bat.
    Second Test - important century in first innings, arrived with England over 300 runs ahead in the second innings and was run out chasing quick runs.
    Third Test - arrived with England nearly 200 runs ahead and again out chasing quick runs.

    So the one innings where he was needed, he delivered. The other two innings have been described by some as selfless because he put the team situation first (quick runs) rather than his personal statistics.

    Prior is the best batsman out of all our wicket-keeping options. That's pretty clear to most people.

    Read and Foster have been tried and both failed. Ambrose's batting has seen him dropped by Warks over the past year. Bairstow is too young and Davies seemingly out of favour (but probably still the Test reserve keeper).

  • Comment number 54.

    The series has disappointed for a number of reasons. The weather obviously. England's below par bowling and Sri Lanka's overall quality given the loss of Murali, the 'Slinger' and Vaas.

    England are now, quite rightly, the victim pf their own standards. Not so long ago (pre-Vaughan) a series win would have been applauded without qualification. In my opinion, this England team is, on paper, as good as India and South Africa, neither of whom have ever come to these shores expecting to roll us over. Only the West Indies and Australia have done that. We hear it said repeatedly that winning in India is the benchmark of greatness. Well that cuts both ways.

    We should have beaten a weakened Sri Lankan side - a side who don't play much Test cricket - by a margin of at least 2:0. Even the weather gave us time.

    The problem is the bowling. Jimmy was injured. Stuart Broad was not match fit. We played just 3 seamers in the early part of the summer. By contrast Tremlett was a revelation.

    I don't want to overly criticise England or Strauss/Flower, much less do I want to join in the school-master's trick of 'marking' the players (at least the school-master has a clear set of criteria).

    England set high standards. On this occasion we have not lived up to them. Nevertheless, England were too much for SL.

    But I am confident that Strauss and Flower will iron out the wrinkles before India arrive.

    I would also add that Sri Lanka have learned much from this series. The guts and technique showed on the final day does them credit. Did anyone listen to Boycott's frankly disrespectful appraisal of them on the D5 podcast? Pleased for Sangakarra.

    Roll on India.

  • Comment number 55.

    @R-Booker

    No matter how high England have set their standards, it is unrealistic to expect to beat teams in well under 4 days. With all the rain, this is what we had to do and we managed it in one game out of three.

  • Comment number 56.

    Come on. What does Cook have to do? He scored at least 50 every time he batted, was leading run scorer in the series and averaged nearly 100. He deserves at least 9.5, probably actually 9.75, if you're going to be churlish about handing out 10s. both him and Bell were the rocks around the England innings were built in this series, neither could have done much more. We had a 3-match series, Bell was only out once, while Cook scored at nearly 100 runs per innings. Sorry, your treatment of Cook is diabolical.

  • Comment number 57.

    The one thing that this series showed us is that we need 5 proper bowlers.
    If you only pick 4 and one of them struggles with form or fitness then you are in trouble.

    I have nothing against Morgan but unfortunately he is the one who should make way for the fifth bowler. Prior is good enough to bat at 6 but I think the selectors are too cowardly to do it. Even if they did they would not pick this side plus Finn because he cannot bat, they would pick a bowling all-rounder like Bresnan or Shahzad.
    We do not need all that batting strength in depth, Swann hardly got a chance to bat in this series and he is no mug and Broad has shown he can bat well enough to be classed as the all-rounder.

    We definitely need 5 bowlers!

  • Comment number 58.

    England is the number one Test-playing nation in the world, notwithstanding the arcane ICC rankings!

    The current ranking number one, India, had a hard time with the lowly West Indies at Sabina Park. If the Windies' top order had batted like their tail, it may have been a different result.

    Well done, Bishoo, Rampaul and Edwards.

  • Comment number 59.


    Bell, Tremlett and Cook were outstanding for the home side. Overall fair ratings. Good luck to Andrew Strauss with the bat.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 60.

    "The current ranking number one, India, had a hard time with the lowly West Indies at Sabina Park."

    An Indian side without Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar and Khan. While not comparing like for like, how would we do without Cook, Trott, Bell and Anderson?

    We can't make any claim to the number one spot unless we beat India this summer.

  • Comment number 61.

    Mostly good rating however I would give Cook a 9.

  • Comment number 62.

    Can you all, first of all, stop talking as if all your listeners/readers went to Public Schools (silly name that, when there's nothing public about them) and can Tuffers (note the dry witticism there?) please give a similar grading to the Sri Lankan team? I live out in Nagoya, Japan and have many Sri Lankan friends. I also find it difficult, being Welsh, supporting a team that insists on calling itself England, not GB, despite the fact they have Welsh and Scottish players.

  • Comment number 63.

    I am glad that there only a small number of selectors. If the ECB listened to all
    above the game would be struggling even more than it is now.

  • Comment number 64.

    Cook deserves 9.8 . And Morgan too deserves 9.5 . With Morgan England team looks better in test cricket. Morgan will be the super star of the team in next ten years as he has the temperament. Morgan plays sensibly which is going to lead him to glory.

  • Comment number 65.

    I think that Strauss should not have been given a 4. He has done nothing except lead the team to gain points. Therefore I will rate him a 2. I think that Broad does not deserve a 5 but instead a 3 as he failed to take enough wickets. Overall, I think without Cook, Morgan, Trott and Bell England would have struggled.

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.