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First Ashes Test player ratings

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Tom Fordyce | 09:38 UK time, Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Adelaide, South Australia

Before we begin, a new definition of awkward for you. Picture the scene. You've just boarded a flight from Brisbane to Adelaide, laptop open on your knees, a half-written Word document entitled 'Australia player ratings' on the screen. Clearly visible are phrases like "Michael Clarke: 2/10" and "Mitchell Johnson: 1/10, worst game of his life."

With a two-hour flight ahead, you're intending to use the time to finish the piece off - but just as you settle into your seat, you notice some chaps in pale blue tracksuits coming down the aisle towards economy. It is the Australian cricket team. Leading the way are Clarke and Johnson.

One by one the seats fill up around you. On your immediate left, an inquisitive Clarke; directly in front of you, Simon Katich, Mike Hussey and Johnson; to your right, the team media manager; just behind you, able to see directly over your shoulder, Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin. I'll be honest: I bottled it. You've never seen a laptop shut so fast.

ENGLAND

Andrew Strauss: 7
England's skipper described his dismissal for a duck to the third ball of the series as "one of the worst feelings I've ever had on a cricket pitch". To fight back from that with a splendid captain's knock of 110 showed great character and helped his side salvage a draw from a position that appeared hopeless. In the field, he was his usual steady self; in his media appearances, a beacon of calm in an unsteady sea of hype and excitement.

Alastair Cook: 10
Came into the Test with an Ashes average of 26 from 19 innings and with question marks over his technique and form. Left with an aggregate of 302 runs and a great heap of batting records stashed in his kit bag. Even in a game when one player took a hat-trick and another made a wonderful 195, he was the clear man of the match.

Jonathan Trott: 8
Scratchy in the first innings and out to a horrible wide-gated drive across the line, he dug in alongside Cook in the second to score his second Ashes ton in successive matches and take England from the edge of defeat to a position of total dominence. Has the best average of a recognised England number three in memory and has made his own a position that has been a problem for years.

Kevin Pietersen: 6
Played beautifully for 43 in the first innings, looking utterly dominant. But that's the issue. He only made 43 when there appeared no reason why he shouldn't have gone on to score a big hundred. Ambled around in the field missing the limelight as England bowled and was then forced to sit with his pads on for more than a day as all three batsmen above him compiled centuries in that record-breaking second innings. Needs more in Adelaide - and wants it desperately.

Paul Collingwood: 4
Snagged for exactly that as England collapsed in the first innings. Toiled away with the ball as Strauss struggled to take wickets with his four front-line bowlers, took a fine slip catch to see off Haddin but then dropped a far easier chance in the final session. Will be glad to have arrived in the city - Adelaide - where he made his double ton four years ago.

Ian Bell: 8
Compiled a silky-smooth 76 as wickets tumbled all around him on the first day, looking every inch an accomplished and established international batsman. Made a big impact on the Aussies, who remember him as an easily-cowed introvert on previous tours. From Sherminator to Terminator? We will have to wait and see.

Matt Prior: 5
Gave his wicket away on the first afternoon with a dreadful airy waft to hand Peter Siddle the second scalp of his hat-trick and was then given a lesson in patient Test batting by his opposite number Haddin. With the gloves, however, he was near faultless to both pacemen and spinner. Is the Captain Birdseye/Alan Cork beard a good idea? We'll leave it to personal taste.

Stuart Broad: 5
Golden duck as Siddle sent the Gabba wild on the opening day of the series and went wicketless in Australia's first innings. Produced some hostile deliveries but bowled too short too often and failed to take note of Siddle's success in pitching the ball up.

Graeme Swann: 4
Just as he did in the first Test of the last Ashes series, England's best bowler over the past two years had a poor match on an unhelpful pitch. Returned figures of 2-128 in the first innings as Hussey punished a succession of short deliveries and had no more success in the second. England need him to be able to lock up an end and take wickets if their four-man attack is to function. A return to form at the Adelaide Oval is a must.

James Anderson: 8
Bowled one of the great wicketless spells in the first hour of the third day, leaving both Hussey and Haddin playing and missing. Even when the shine came off the ball, he maintained an excellent line and showed impressive control on a pitch offering him nothing.

Steven Finn: 7
Struggled in his first spell, dropping the ball too short and shipping runs at a worrying rate, but came back magnificently to finish his first innings in an Ashes Test with six wickets. For a 21-year-old so early in his Test career, he continues to show considerable promise.

AUSTRALIA

Simon Katich: 6
The crabby opener will never win any aesthetic awards but his half century in Australia's first innings showed once again what a useful Test cricketer he is. Dismissed cheaply on the final afternoon as England went round the wicket at him, a tactic they believe will continue to bring them success in the remainder of the series.

Shane Watson: 6
Breezy 36 in the first innings, similarly brisk 41 in the second. Broke up England's second-wicket partnership with his swing on the first morning and, even if he went wicketless in the second innings, continues to give his team a balance and option that they would struggle without.

Ricky Ponting: 5
Caught down the leg side for only 10 on the second day and then looked devoid of inspiration in the field as England racked up that remarkable 517-1. Was even abused by an Australian fan in the front row at the Gabba but regained at least a little initiative with that rapid-fire 50 in the last session of the match. Remains upbeat, pugnacious and utterly determined to win back the little urn once again.

Michael Clarke: 2
At his best, a beautiful batsman to watch, the most tattooed man in Australian cricket was only a late inclusion in the side after back problems and must have wished he had stayed on the physio's couch. His 50-ball nine was the polar opposite of his usual fast-footed, fluid self. He then dropped a dolly of a slip catch off Trott as the wheels came off his side on the final day.

Mike Hussey: 10
On the point of being dropped before the Test, he edged his first ball two inches short of Swann at second slip but went on to compile a masterly 195, his highest score in Test cricket and an innings that changed the face of the match. Farewell, humble Mr Cricket. Arise. Sir Cricket of the Gabba.

Marcus North: 5
Feast-or-famine North was dismissed for single figures for the 10th time in his 20 Test matches and remains the weakest link in Australia's batting line-up. But his part-time spin continues to impress - even if he hadn't taken the prize scalp of Andrew Strauss with a well-flighted ball in the second innings, that versatility would have kept his place safe.

Brad Haddin: 9
Followed in the feisty footsteps of predecessors Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist with a splendid century that started slowly and then accelerated perfectly as the England attack tired. Tidy behind the timbers, even in the face of Johnson's random delivery generator.

Mitchell Johnson: 1
Poor old Johnson. Supposedly his side's strike bowler and spearhead, he had surely the worst game of his Test career - combined figures of 0-170, a duck with the bat, a missed run-out of double-century maker Cook and a dropped catch off the England skipper.
On the flight to Adelaide, he sat in the emergency exit seat. The symbolism was impossible to miss.

Xavier Doherty: 5
Brought in for his Test debut to trouble Pietersen, he bowled tidily in the first innings but looked toothless in the second. Tended to bowl a little too flat and fast when more flight and rip might have worked better. At 28, is he too old to develop into a top-class Test spinner?

Peter Siddle: 8
Sensational hat-trick on the first afternoon and finished with six wickets on his 26th birthday - one of the all-time great bursts by an Aussie fast bowler in the Ashes. Then went wicketless for 90 runs in the second innings on a batsman's paradise. Still, his aggression and accuracy will continue to play a part as the series unfolds.

Ben Hilfenhaus: 5
A constant threat on the greener, seamier English tracks throughout the last Ashes series but impotent with match figures of 1-142 here. Magnificent moustache for Movember may not be enough to save him from demotion, with both Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris waiting in the wings.

Now you've read my views, how did you rate the two sets of players?

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Boringly, I'm inclined to agree with the ratings - maybe give Siddle an extra mark for his superlative effort in the first innings? Possibly Finn deserves parity with Anderson in light of the wickets he has taken (6 to Anderson's 2)? I agree that Anderson's efforts did warrant more wickets and Finn's figures maybe flattered him but in the end, the bowler is there to knock the batsmen over and Finn did that more times than anyone else bar Siddle.

    In many ways a tough match to do ratings for, with the freakish 2nd innings dominance of ball over bat. Hopefully other Aussie groundsmen will be looking to provide some slightly spicier efforts over the coming weeks.

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh, I'd also like to see Watson get another mark for his stunning assertation to ABC at the end of Day 4 that the Aussies had had a "solid" day in the field.

  • Comment number 3.

    they DID have a solid day. a day of solid thumps around the ground from Cookie and Strauss.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good article. I really liked Ponting's quick fire 50 as it took the lustre off the ENG comeback, so he would get a 6 in my book. Not sure if the field placings are all his fault - the bowlers get a say - and not too sure they were that bad.

  • Comment number 5.

    "Mitchell Johnson: .......On the flight to Adelaide, he was sat in the emergency exit seat."
    Come on, Tom, wake up!. Do you mean he was placed there by somebodyelse? Surely not... or is he that passive?
    I suspect he actively managed to place himself there all by himself ....so how about "he sat" or "he was sitting".
    Back to grammar school for you, boy.

  • Comment number 6.

    What a funny coincidence Tom. Not something you'd forget in a hurry - just as I am unlikely to forget the symbolism of Mitchell Johnson being in the emergency exit seat of the flight. Classic.

    I would also give Siddle an extra mark - even if he was seemingly below form on the batting paradise of the 2nd innings. You have to have been bowling quite a lot of pie chuckers to have earned a score of 1! I watched the first few overs of Johnson's spell on the 5th day and I think he probably got a couple of the crease in his first over - is that worthy of an extra mark?...

  • Comment number 7.

    #3 "Come on, Tom, wake up!." If you are going to pick on someone for bad grammar, it is always best to get the punctuation right. No full stop after an exclamation mark. Oh, and there is an extra comma in there too, after 'on'.

    "somebodyelse?" One word, or two?

    Back to punctuation school for YOU!



    Meanwhile, back to the story, and I'd like to know if you had any conversations with the surrounding Aussie players, and if so, what was said? Or was it MP3 player in, or pretending to be asleep for the duration?

    I agree with the scores. Would you ever give a zero? And if so, how close was Johnson to getting one?

  • Comment number 8.

    Tend to agree with Tom's ratings. However, I'd take a mark of Clark (a truly hopless 9 with the bat and gave nothing in the field) and give it to Watson. For mine he had the best overall match of any of the Australians. For England, Collingwood's 4 is very generous - a 3 for mine.


  • Comment number 9.

    Jeanbrodie, even by the standards of pedantry on these blogs/606 your post defies belief. Incredibly sad.

    Ratings are good, and pleased to see a writer who will dish out 1s and 2s where deserved rather than using 5 as the lowest score!

  • Comment number 10.

    You bottled it? haha, oh you'll regret that, but I suppose when the entire team is there.... Should have asked Mitchell if he was on the wrong flight

  • Comment number 11.

    I broadly agree too. What I do object to is the grammar vultures who populate these pages. JeanBrodie, do you really have nothing better to do than pick apart the work of generally insightful cricket bloggers? Get a life.

    I'd be surprised if the Aussies make more than one change for the next test, but I think England will be very pleased that North and Clarke remain in the order. Not much has been made of Clarke's woeful approach to a test match innings in this match, but I can barely remember a Test batsman looking so far out of his depth.

  • Comment number 12.

    @Jeanbrodie I agree with the need for correct grammar, punctuation and syntax from BBC bloggers, and it is important that this is picked up on, but not in the demeaning way you did. By all means make your point, but drop the sarcasm.

    Tom - good blog and pretty fair marks for the players (although I would have given Cook 11). Did you really not know the Aussie team were going to be on that plane? If not, then great story!

  • Comment number 13.

    Good blog, however I would preferred to have read the story how Ricky P couldn't play in the next test due to injuries sustained in a altercation with a Brit Journo on the plane to Aderlaide after reading a blog over his shoulder!!

    JeanBrodie if my grammar in the above paragraph needs correcting then please feel free, however, I as well as every person on here does not give a....

  • Comment number 14.

    'A return to form at the Adelaide Oval is a must.' give Swannie a break.

    It is not like he'll be dropped and two out of our 4 bowlers firing was enough. Not sure that the Adelaide surface will be a spin bowlers dream either if the groundsman has any sense...

  • Comment number 15.

    Tend to agree with the scores, however as someone who rarely sees perfection on what basis do you give 10s, after all Cook only scored 67 and got out in the 1st innings - surely some room for improvement.

    Pedantic I know!

  • Comment number 16.

    Pedantry is irritating, but inaccurate pedantry is a different beast altogether, eliciting our sympathy, even our pity. Perhaps Jean Brodie has only ever flown RyanAir, and doesn't realise that most airlines assign passengers their seats. I am as fastidious as they come, but I fail to see anything wrong with Tom's formulation.

    As for the ratings, I'm not sure that a match of that quality merited two perfect 10s, balanced though they are by low ratings elsewhere. How can a batsman earn a 10 against bowlers whose efforts were only worthy of a 5 on average, and a 1 at worst?

  • Comment number 17.

    ricky deserves more with his quick fire 50. i would give doherty less more like 4 and clarke can have a 3 for being vice captain and contributing that way and nearly caught an amazing catch. No one else would of even got to that like he did. I think the england ratings are just about right except anderson a bit lower and finn higher for the 6th for

  • Comment number 18.

    "Tidy behind the timbers, even in the face of Johnson's random delivery generator."....great line.

    Overall, I think you have been a little harsh to the aussies. Aggregate scores 72 England, 61 Australia. I think it was probably a little bit closer than that even if England did edge it in the end. Perhaps an extra point for Ponting and Watson and maybe a point off for Collingwood and Anderson.

  • Comment number 19.

    It does make a refreshing change to see a few low scores, as far too often journalists lazily give out a 4 or 5 (below or just about average) when everyone else saw a 1 or 2 (embarrassingly poor), I just hope we don't see any scores so low for England players this tour ;)

  • Comment number 20.

    Think Johnson would take umbridge at Clarke being described as the most tattooed man in Australian cricket!

  • Comment number 21.

    Good blog. Good story. Agree generally with most marks - although a couple of good points on here - Colly didn't do himself any favours.

    Re: Watson - I just think that he's never going to do real damage with a big hundred - to my mind he's still a makeshift opener. On the Aussie side, Haddin and Hussey were outstanding. I still struggle to believe that as many Aussie media commentators etc were calling for his head - a bit like Cook not too long ago.

    There are some people who are just outstanding cricketers. You don't have to look at their average every game to know - you just get a feeling. Hussey and Cook belong in that category.

    Re: Grammar pedant WUMs - gotta love 'em.

  • Comment number 22.

    @#16
    It's very unfair to say that you can't earn a 10 because the bowlers you are up against aren't very good. You might as well then only score England batsmen out of 8! Put it like this, if Cook played like that for the rest of the series, he would have scored 1500 runs in 5 games and if thats not worthy of a 10 then i dont know what is!

    Also, and sorry to bring it up but it does make me laugh, how long till papashango comes on here saying that 4 flatters swann and that a bowler of his quality will never score more than -6??

  • Comment number 23.

    I wonder if the removal of Johnson's Mo will be like a reverse of Samson? Maybe it is currently taking away all of his wicket-taking powers.

    And before anyone (JeanBrodie, for example) starts getting pedantic, I am not being serious!

  • Comment number 24.

    @gsac123 - Correct. As Boycs says, you can only beat what you're up against - even if the bowler in question is so slow he can't choose his own aeroplane seat ;)
    Cook's batting in the second was of superlative quality and definately merits a 9 on its own - his 67 in the first shows he is in damn good nick and a one match aggregate of over 300 surely justifies 10/10!
    Tom - would much much preffered you to have carried on writing and begun a 'joke' report, commending the Aussies on their sterling performace and showing how England were lucky all through the game. THEN you would have had something to talk about on the flight!

  • Comment number 25.

    Good blog. We will never have a better chance to beat the Aussies down under, but can't help thinking it's not going to be as easy as people are now making out.

    JeanBrodie, have you really not got anything better to do with your life? One of the most tragic posts I've ever read.

  • Comment number 26.

    OK, one wonders whether your method of calculation of these 'ratings' needs to improve, with at least some fact-finding required. Case in point: Katich: 54 runs at an average of 27 vs Watson: 77 runs at an average of 77 with 1 wicket and 2 catches dropped from his bowling. How can they both get a rating of '6'. Ridiculous.

  • Comment number 27.

    Just a quick note:

    Before the game, England were media favourites for the match, but at no point in the games could we have won, from the position the Aussies put us in, through good play early on.

    So wht are the scores England 72 Austrailia 62 (out of 110) ?????

    Seems a little has to say that overall Aussie were 15% worse than England given , at no point could we win that game !

    The only real winner was the pitch....and the Awesome Ally Cook !!!!

    Have Cricket Austrailia , asked for pitches which do not swing / spin to negate the value of Anderson and Swann ???? making their best chances of winning being an England collapse !!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    I want Collingwood dropped and I want him to be replaced by Morgan for the Second Test.

    (...but I also want a set of Callaway Diablo golf irons encased by a Porsche Boxster Spyder for Christmas and I am, conversely, fully aware that none of these things will happen...)

  • Comment number 29.

    So many variations in ratings on both sides, from 10 to 1. I think it's fair to say that both teams need more of their players to stand up and be counted. However, it's extremely positive that our swing bowler, Anderson, performed so well in these conditions, as Finn and Broad are considered more likely to do things with the ball considering their height. And Graeme Swann will only get better. Australia's bowling attack looks poor, and Johnson is finished for this series. Siddle overachieved on day 1 and I can't see him being a massive threat.

  • Comment number 30.

    I generally agree with the majority of your marks Tom, although there are a few exceptions.

    England: I'd have probably given Strauss an extra mark as the way he batted on Day 4 was superb, considering the 1st innings disaster. I'd then probably take a mark off both Collingwood and Swann. In the case of the latter I am confident that this will be his worst Test and he'll come back strongly in more spin friendly conditions.

    Australia: As others have mentioned I'd have given Watson and Ponting an extra mark each for the way they batted on Day 5. Watson also bowled okay in the 2nd innings although I did love seeing him get hit around the ground towards the end of the England innings. Perfectly fair with the rest of the team though; Clarke and Johnson had shockers, Doherty nothing special and North is a 5 out of 10 batsmen - all or nothing.

    Good work as ever.

  • Comment number 31.

    England were not much better than Australia in this Test. People tend to forget we were 220 runs behind after the first innings! Took a remarcable comeback to get the draw.

    Not a great test for Collingwood or Broad, they deserved low marks. Hilfenhaus and Doherty wern't awful with the ball they just lacked penetration. Can't agree with Ponting's mark, tad unlucky first innings, second innings played beautifully and you can't really blame the captain for England piling on the runs, he simply didn't have the bowlers. Haddin can take a lot away from this game, fantasic with the bat, tidy with the gloves too.

    Fully agree giving Anderson a higher mark than Finn, he built pressure and beat the bat a number of times. Bowled better than Finn who's figures flattered his overall performence, he bowled terribly to Ponting on the final day.

  • Comment number 32.

    Jeanbrodie you tool!

  • Comment number 33.

    gsac123 - don't be sorry, just don't do it again.

  • Comment number 34.

    Good article Tom. Just a couple of minor disagreements on the Aussie scores.

    I'm not sure Katich brought as much to the match as Watson, and so I think to score them the same seems generous to Katich.

    Ponting's knock in their second innings was important and he deserves credit for it, especially given the pressure of the situation. However, his captaincy throughout was fairly uninspiring and he seemed incapable of making life in any way uncomfortable for our batsmen in our second innnings. For this, on balance I'd probably have given him a four.

    Lastly, I'm giving myself an armchair fan rating of 5 for this Brisbane test. I watched every morning session and managed to see all but two of the evening sessions, whilst making it to work every day on time (at which point I slept at my desk for a bit). I'd like to be able to give more over the Adelaide game, but I'm not sure I can and remain in employment.

  • Comment number 35.

    Interesting comparison on Mitchell Johnson's figures. Frank 'Typhoon' Tyson took 1 - 160 at Brisbane in the 1954-55 Ashes series. He then proceeded to demolish the Aussies at Sydney (10 wickets) and Melbourne (9 wickets). Could Johnson do the same in this topsy turvy series?

  • Comment number 36.

    @ #7

    The big difference is that one is an anonymous internet commenter, one is being paid from the license fee for his correct spelling and use of English language. Quite an important difference and he has every right to complain about it.

  • Comment number 37.

    Overall marks appear about right save for similar comments made above. Watson & Ponting probably warranted 1 point higher, Colinwood & Swann a mark or two lower.
    The match was only drawn by England and we should not get way from that fact. Oz selectors have real dilemnas though and squad they ave picked doesn't make life easy for them. They probably want to drop Johnson but a tail that starts at 8 is rarely risked these days in Test Cricket. The 4 other quicks and the X man all come under the Watership Down category.
    Would not be surprised at all to see Johnson play, and then annoyingly bowls 3 spells of aerosol but one spell of 4 for nothing.

  • Comment number 38.

    samabachan...ur not talking sense. i believe ur gone in the head. Cricket and this article is not about spelling and grammar

  • Comment number 39.

    36. At 2:00pm on 30 Nov 2010, samabachan wrote:
    @ #7

    The big difference is that one is an anonymous internet commenter, one is being paid from the license fee for his correct spelling and use of English language. Quite an important difference and he has every right to complain about it.

    ===========================

    Oh, turn it in! If JeanBrodie wanted to make such a pedantic comment about a blog that they (you seem to think it is a male. Are you JeanBrodie in disguise, I wonder?) should at least get the punctuation right in their criticism. It's double standards otherwise.

    And have you never heard/seen anyone make a mistake? There are also a team of subs/proofreaders who should/could have picked this up. Maybe they should all go back to school...

  • Comment number 40.

    The marks seem fair on the whole, but I rather agree that 10's weren't justified for hussey and cook. Of course they played well, but that was one of the flatest pitches you'll ever see. Surely a 10 has to mean that an innings is one of the greatest ever. Scoring 200 on a flat wicket, when there are five hundreds in the game and only 22 wickets, is not in the same bracket as laxman's famous kolkata 281, or Atherton's marathon 185. Each of those was made against great bowlers on competitive wickets. Posts 22 and 24 are focusing on how many cook made and not the context. Of course it was a difficult situation, but everyone who batted made a hundred.

    I actually thought Haddin played better than hussey. Hussey could/should have been out before he got his hundred. Haddin showed great skill to resist when England were bowling well and then to begin the counter attack.

  • Comment number 41.

    Finn bowled well but i would rather see Tremlett play in Adelaide, the bowling figures for Finn flattered him.

  • Comment number 42.

    aitchin, over 10 hours of batting 2nd time round. Under the pressure of finding your side 200 runs behind. If not giving them a sniff, grinding them down on your way to an unbeaten 235 isn't a 10 ouf 10, just what is? Flat pitch or not, they still have to concentrate, still keep the score ticking. How often do we see the score of 500+ for 1 wicket?

  • Comment number 43.

    Not only is he being paid by the license fee for his appalling grammar, but he is doing whilst swanning around Australia. First class it would appear if he is travelling around next to the Australian team.

    Cook can only score easy runs. Trott is only good because he’s South African. Drop Swann, he’s rubbish.


    Sorry for the above chaps, just wanted to see what it is like to be a miserable sod like some of the other posters above. (Blogcabin you missed an ideal opportunity to further annoy the miserable brigade. You should of written that the proof readers “should of picked this up”).

    Rob – excellent works. Any employer out there who employs a Rob Evans who is a cricket fan ? Rob, always remain anonymous when making potentially career affecting admissions, you don’t know who might be reading.

  • Comment number 44.

    Andrew Strauss: 7

    Agree


    Alastair Cook: 10

    Let's not forget that from day three this became a batting paradise. Granted you still have to get the runs but hardly settles doubts about technique. I rate his first innings effort as better. I'd give him an 8.


    Jonathan Trott: 8

    Lucky to get as many runs as he did in innings one. Scored a good century on a flat track. 6.5


    Kevin Pietersen: 6

    He got a start then got himself out. This is why he was dropped before. For vastly underperforming. 4.5


    Paul Collingwood: 4

    Agee


    Ian Bell: 8

    Another excellent display by Bell Version2. Kept his head when all others lost theirs. 7.


    Matt Prior: 5

    I wouldn't say he gave his wicket away. It wasn't the best shot but he got an absolute peach first up. Genuinely top class keeper now. 5.5


    Stuart Broad: 5

    One wicket, poor length and no runs. How does he warrant a 5? 2.5


    Graeme Swann: 4

    Not a great performance. Started poorly with the ball and did little with the bat. His bowling improved as the game went on but on a flat deck it was always going to be hard. 4.5


    James Anderson: 8

    Excellent with the ball without luck. Deserved six or seven in the first innings. Generally solid in the field. 7


    Steven Finn: 7

    Poor in day one. Bounced out the tail with encouraging aggression. Hopefully he has left his imprint on any bowler in the tail who feels like wagging. Good nerve settler but didn't deserve a 6fer. Agree with the score though.



    AUSTRALIA

    Simon Katich: 6

    Agree. Katich will be a problem for England this series.


    Shane Watson: 6

    Two reasonable starts, showed good fortitude against the England attack and bowled well in the first innings. 6.5


    Ricky Ponting: 5

    Batted poorly in the first innings, very well (on a flat deck) in the second. Captained like a novice. 4.5


    Michael Clarke: 2

    Can't bat can't bowl can't field. All because of his back. Shouldn't have even been playing. Agree with 2.


    Mike Hussey: 7.5

    Should have been given out in the first morning. Somehow survived an awesome spell from Anderson. Cashed in when the wicket flattened.


    Marcus North: 5

    Typical low score. Will his bolwing be enough to keep him in the side with Smith waiting in the wings? 4.5


    Brad Haddin: 9
    Excellent knock, like Hussey survived the Anderson attack and cashed in later. Solid with the gloves. 7


    Mitchell Johnson: 1

    He was just that terrible. 1


    Xavier Doherty: 5

    Took wickets when the pressure was on England, when it wasn't was about as effective as an English spinner from the 90s. Will probably be kept for a test or two mroe but Australia should seriously consider going back to Hauritz. 4


    Peter Siddle: 8

    Great hattrick. Distinctly average the rest of the time. Like Finn didn't really deserve his 6fer (I think Hilfenhaus deserved more wickets). 6.5


    Ben Hilfenhaus: 5

    Agree with the score. Tireless, pacey and with good variety I can't help but feel that without him the Aussies will lose the bowler who sets the scene for wickets to fall.

  • Comment number 45.

    #43 Steak and Ale Pie.

    Good point. Although to be fair, my productivity when asleep is marginally better than when I'm awake.

  • Comment number 46.

    When I look at some people posting on this thread, I get the feeling that they'd have rated Jim Laker in 1956 like this:

    Laker - only got 19 wickets. Failure to collect other wicket unforgivable. Poor run out in first innings with the bat. I rate him as 8.



  • Comment number 47.

    Let's not forget that from day three this became a batting paradise. Granted you still have to get the runs but hardly settles doubts about technique. I rate his first innings effort as better. I'd give him an 8.

    ===

    Haha, he faced bowling for over 10 hours!! You don't think that's a long enough stint to examine someone's technique?

  • Comment number 48.

    Re:46
    And GranPapa Shango would also have been able to name 4 better spinners than him

  • Comment number 49.

    I am surprised that the Aussies were all travelling in economy! If they had won maybe they would been in 1st. Come on England!!

  • Comment number 50.

    I agree with those ratings - maybe a little high for KP and Bell (Bell got a higher score than Strauss?!)

    I have also made a thread on 606 about my ratings.

  • Comment number 51.

    Tom.. my friend you are extremely lucky!! If you were writing about the India cricket team, you may have had to parachute of the plane!! Agree with those ratings, hope Johnson can improve though, his bowling was first-class just two tears ago.

  • Comment number 52.

    First point: I think some people need to get a bit of perspective - the point of this blog is to pitch up a debate about team performance, for what I assume for most people is a bit of fun. Tom's listed his thoughts not as a definitive science to listing skill, but as an opinion - hence it's a blog and not a news article. I get far more enjoyment reading about the blogger's views on the performance during the first test to ever be bothered by a slight mistake in grammar - to actually spend the time to comment on it is tragic.

    Second point: those that have commented about the inequalities between the scores between Australia and England given that it was a draw and ultimately England were never in a position to win. Well perhaps you are right in principle, however in reality the effect of this result on both teams is that England have scored a mental victory, as our record at the Gabba is woeful (we ALWAYS lose there) and Australia see it as their stomping ground (Gabbatoir). They will be deflated by not being able to win there, we see this as a positive (if not perfect) start.

    Third point: I have just read an article on the cricket page about Vaughan backing Swann's return to form - now that is hyperbole if anything is. To be 'out of form' you have to have more than just one match which doesn't go your way - Swann has been exceptional and has the second highest tally in test cricket of anyone in the world, the guy is not out of form, until perhaps he leaves Australia without any scalps!

    Fourth point: I think we ought to be less precious about our current selection process for the team, well when it comes to the middle order that is. For instance Paul Collingwood IS out of form, and we shouldn't place the importance of 'stability' in the team (a concept I disagree with given that the whole team including reserves travel and train together) above performance. That young players in form, such as Morgan, miss out on Ashes experience whilst Colly is under achieving is a tragedy. I say give Morgan a punt at Adelaide and have him prove his worth - if he doesn't fire, mix it up a bit.

    As always Tom, a pleasure!

  • Comment number 53.

    Agreed...and i would swap Finn for Tremlett as well.

  • Comment number 54.

    I enjoy reading your blogs, mainly because I am certainly no expert when it comes to cricket, (although in recent years I have become increasingly engrossed in Englands Test performances).

    Is there any chance that you can use a spell-check programme though?

    Your use of the word "dominence" is I'm sure nothing more than a typo, but only a few days after Phil McNulty had his spelling corrected by an irate Gooner in the aftermath of the Arsenal capitualtion at The Emirates, it makes you BBC bloggers look a little shoddy when the content is usually far from that.

    From my point of view, it's easy to rate the players after the game. I would like to see some comment on who the likely replacements are for the likes of Clarke, and how the spin talents of Doherty might be more to the fore on some of the pitches that we are yet to see. On the subject of Doherty, he is on an absolute hiding to nothing trying to fill the boots of the legend that is Shane Warne. I mean let's admit it, anything less than turning the ball outrageously, taking wickets by the bucketload, restricting the in form English batsmen, and then even chipping in with some flamboyant strokes with the bat and he will be deemed an abject failure. Oh what the Australians would do to have...... (my mind has gone blank now). You know the bloke who played 2nd fiddle to Warne for like seemed an age.... McGill? Was that him?

    By comparison, Swann can seemingly do no wrong, (even when he doesn't take wickets), because many of us were not alive the last time that England had a spinner of any repute.

    I thought it was an amazing test for s many reasons. First of all the best performer in the first Innings could have been out first ball, secondly because Australia took the early initiative in such dominant fashion, thirdly because it certanly seems strange, (at least to someone as clueless as me), why the groundsman at the Gabba would prepare such a wicket like that on a pitch where Australia are soooo historically overwhelmingly dominant, and lastly, how a team that performed so well in the first Innings can look so...... lethargic and lacking in ideas in the second.

    If this is an indication of things to come then I can't wait!

    :)

  • Comment number 55.

    @#7 There isn't an extra comma there. Jeanbrodie is correct in using commas to separate the word 'Tom' from the rest of the sentence. To explain further, the person being spoken to, in this case Tom, is being addressed directly and so this is the vocative case. It is an established rule of English grammar that the name of the person being addressed directly mut be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. However, you are correct in the other grammatical points you raised save that you appear to think it correct to put a comma before the word 'and'.

    @#36 The correct spelling of licence fee is licence fee, not license fee. You used the verbal form rather than the nounal form.

    There is no excuse for poor spelling, grammar and punctuation just because this is a blog rather than a novel.

  • Comment number 56.

    Could this article favour England any more?

    Johnson 1 but Broad 5? Atleast Johnson srvived 19 balls! Broad got lucky with the wicket!

    Collingwood 4 but clarke 2?

    I could go on!!!!!!!!

    The Eng second innings apart, Australia outclassed us in every department espeically in bowling considering Eng were skittled for 260.

  • Comment number 57.

    The Eng second innings apart, Australia outclassed us in every department espeically in bowling considering Eng were skittled for 260.

    ===

    hmm yes, looks like the Australian press and team management have a different view of things...."apart from the second innings" haha.

  • Comment number 58.

    Is it possible to get anything other than blatant jingoism and barracking from our cricket writers. The trouble with your analysis is that it obfuscates the fact that we were never going to win this match - in fact we struggled to take 11 wickets. And if the game had gone an extra day, god help us, the aussies would have ammassed a stupid amount of runs too. I have been reading the Sydney Morning Herald and it has been nice to see that the Aussie commentators can give a more impartial account of the game. My own feeling is that we looked a bowler short. And to speak of a brilliant wicketless spell, well only BBC commentators would write that. Knowing how to get the wickets a la Mc Grath and Warne is the true art of bowling and something which Anderson needs to learn. Reminds me very much of Mark Waugh who always looked great but found ways of getting himself out. On the basis of what I have seen, I think a fair judgement would say that the teams are evenly matched. Sorry to disappoint!

  • Comment number 59.

    I agree with virtually all of your ratings. Good blog!

    There is one I will question though, how on earth do you justify giving Mitchell Johnson a 1? That's a bit generous, don't you think!? No really!!

  • Comment number 60.

    An Aussie in England
    Dont shoot me down in flames just yet .. love the blog and the stats and would like to congratulate your boys on the manner of their match saving innings given the circumstance they were truly inspired performances .. However they were just that - match saving.

    Lest we foregt a very poor Australian attack took 10 wickets for 260 runs in return England conceeded a further 320+ runs to acheive the same .. as mentioned the batting performance in the 2nd innings was heroic (as much as it pains me to admit it) but whos to say Australia wouldnt have reached 500+ for 1 or 2 wickets given the totally benign nature of the wicket at this stage of the match.

    For England it was a winning draw from a losing position and should give you confidence going forward.. but you aint home and dry yet .. in fact your not even in the home straight and vigourously toweling yourselves down!
    Dont write us off yet .. 4 tests to go and all to play for.

    May the best team win

    Woofy
    yes my spelling and punctaution is poor .. no I dont care !!!

  • Comment number 61.

    donsta, did you actually watch that spell from Anderson and Broad? If you did, you'd understand why the press are talking about it. How he didn't get a wicket or two is a complete mystery. It was a fascinating spell, and I think the fact that Haddin and Hussey realised they had gotten through it helped grow their confidence to the point where nothing was going to get them out - and so it turned out that way!

    Anderson has taken far too much stick for finding it difficult in foreign conditions, that spell has been complimented by the australian press just as much as the English, he deserves praise for it, and has laid down a marker for the rest of the series. Australia will have to deal with Anderson more than some english doubters think

  • Comment number 62.

    55. At 3:37pm on 30 Nov 2010, NormalforNuneaton wrote:
    @#7 There isn't an extra comma there. Jeanbrodie is correct in using commas to separate the word 'Tom' from the rest of the sentence. To explain further, the person being spoken to, in this case Tom, is being addressed directly and so this is the vocative case. It is an established rule of English grammar that the name of the person being addressed directly mut be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. However, you are correct in the other grammatical points you raised save that you appear to think it correct to put a comma before the word 'and'.

    "mut"?

    I refer you to your earlier statement:

    "There is no excuse for poor spelling, grammar and punctuation just because this is a blog rather than a novel."

  • Comment number 63.

    Woofy1969 – As an Aussie what are your thoughts on Khawaja ?

  • Comment number 64.

    Seriously you missed a journalist open goal. Why on earth didn't you ask them what they would grade themselves? You have their grading and opinion why!

    Standard Management format. Then you apply what you think, you editor would be in love with you for years....

    Or they refuse and you can write they refused....and set your own ratings, how can they argue they declined...oh so close to journo heaven...Fordyce are you the 'Mitchell Johnson' of the blogo'sphere?


    Not bad ratings none the less, shame though?

  • Comment number 65.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 66.

    Straus is an 8 for his century and more imoportantly is demenour and assued captaincy. This guy radiates the right message from day 1 and you just know he will still be doing it on day 25

  • Comment number 67.

    Doherty too old? How old was Swann when he came into the England team? I would now consider him to be the best spinner in the world, so to say he is too old is a little unfair. I have a worrying feeling Clarke will bounce back, he is one of a couple that played with that golden generation and he managed to get into that team. Shows you a little bit about how good he is.

  • Comment number 68.

    First off thx for not pointing out it should have read 220+ not 320+ on this occasion I shall blame my sausage sized fingers as opposed to my dodgy Math Skills !
    Stake & Ale

    In all honesty Stake I would bring him straight in for North - Ussie was averagng 50odd in first class matches (I think) North just doesnt look right to me but more worrying from an Aus point of view is Johnson.
    At the moment Johnson seems a carbon copy of Harmison in the 2006 Ashes series .. like you Brits we pride ourselves on our ability to bounce back but imo Johnson looked terrified every time he was handed the ball and another spanking on what will probably be a very flat Adelaide wicket could destroy him for the rest of the series ... personally I would rest him bring in Bollinger and depending how it goes recall Johnson for Perth or Melbourne were he may have more favourable conditions .. though its easy to manage sitting in Kent watching the snow fall !
    Notice there have been some negative comments re Swan - again only IMO I think we the Aussies have the right attitude in going after him he is the best spinner in the world at the moment but no bowler likes seeing the ball sail back over his head and the semi drubbing he took may have affected the length /Pace and flight he was willing to give the ball .. more of this in the second test may effect him though he seems to posses an arrogance and confidence that (unlike Johnson) will probably just make him more determined though I hope im proved wrong

  • Comment number 69.

    #49 Redrobin

    it is a 1 hour flight mate. not even the English cricket team with their holier than now attitude would bother with first class for that.

  • Comment number 70.

    thank you papa for proving my point... swann's wickets were not cheap. he got marcus north out for 1, a top order batsman who it looks like he may have in his pocket. he then went on to get brad haddin out, a man on over 100 who was batting brilliantly, this then started the slide of the final 5 wickets for 30 runs.
    swann clearly didnt have the greatest game in the world, but to call his wickets cheap is wrong. can i assume you thought doherty was magnificent and can be added to the list of better test spinners than swann?

  • Comment number 71.

    That's Mr Ale to you Woofy.
    Many thanks for the interesting and decent insight from the other side of the fence as it were. I haven't actually seen Khawaja bat and can only judge him on his averages which as we all know can be misleading. Agree with your reservations re Marcus North. He somehow looks as Un-Australian type of batsman but I don't really know why, aswell as being a shocking starter.
    Would you be concerned if you brought in Dougie for Johnson about the length of the tail? Theoretically you go for the best 6 bats and the best 4 bowlers but Bollinger, Siddle, Doherty & Hilfenhaus. Haddin is a decent bat and good at sheperding the tail but he needs something to work with.

  • Comment number 72.

    gsac123 - everyone else had sufficient restraint to ignore the obvious and pretend it hadn't happenened. You should be ashamed of yourself!

  • Comment number 73.

    @Papashango - "...Johnson and Collingwood as the two worst players.."

    Their respective figures are:

    Collingwood: 12 overs zero wickets for 41 (around 3.5 rpo)
    Johnson : 42 overs zero wickets for 170 (over 4 rpo)

    Batting-wise, agreed, C'wood did not have a good day, but even the best players make low scores. To compare them on their batting is nonsensical, as is to compare their bowling. Johnson - the self proclaimed leader of the attack, bowls 'filth' for most of the game, and Coll, at best the keeper-up of an end, kept the runs down and did nothing special. He is not meant to be our fifth seamer and doesn't pretend to be.
    Coll will have a decent series. Mitch can't get much worse...if he hangs on to his place at all.

  • Comment number 74.

    Great blog Tom. I pretty much agree with your scores, really can't wait for the next test! Do you think Johnson will be dropped?

    But wow there are some sad comments here. JeanBrodie and NormalforNuneaton maybe you should both meet up to discuss grammar in detail, then you'd both have a friend! But seriously, I'm sure there are grammar blogs if you look hard enough, they'll be very exciting for you. This particular one here is about cricket though.

  • Comment number 75.

    I've sussed out the reason why England did so well in the first Test - seven out of the eleven players have surnames of one syllable (Strauss, Cook, Trott, Bell, Swann, Broad, Finn) whereas only two Aussies are monosyllabic (Clarke and North). Is seven monosyllabics in one England team a record?

  • Comment number 76.

    A rating of 1 is far too high for Johnson.

  • Comment number 77.

    I am genuinely confused as to who is more stubborn, Papashango in his views which are clearly 100% correct, or all the England fans who won't give him any credence. Accept what the man is saying and just move on!

  • Comment number 78.

    Coltranefirst -
    If monosyllablism directly correlated with success at test cricket then Sri Lanka are knackered and China will lead the test rankings by the end of the decade.

  • Comment number 79.

    i would like to formally apologise to the rest of the blog for commenting on something that papashango said. i have seen the error of my ways and promise to do my best never to repeat my mistake.

    on a cricketing note, who else thinks rangana herath is a better spinner than graeme swann?

    sorry, sorry, sorry, i just cant help myself!

  • Comment number 80.

    Herath shows a huge amount of promise, anyone who saw any of Hampshire's fixtures last year will agree. Gsac123, how many Hampshire games did you watch?
    On a surface like the one we just saw at the Gabba - ad after all the ridiculous hype surrounding this mediocre bowler - I was expecting a Jim Laker-esque performance.

  • Comment number 81.

    @65

    Papa the usual dumb comments maybe listening to an ex captain of England who backs Swann to be a major player in the series rather than yourself who hasn't got a single prediction correct yet.
    As I pointed out to you yesterday and you convieniently forgot he was the second best bowler against Australia in 2009 facts are facts. No bowler really did well so stop focusing your attention on one. The pitch was a belter and we Swann did get two very dangerous batsmen out and would have had another wicket but the catch was spilt.
    Collingwood will get runs for sure. He didn't play too well in this one but then everyone can have a bad match thats no reason to drop him.
    The rest of the scores I largely agree with except I would give Johnson 0 not 1 he was awful. I would fancy facing him bowling like that. Having watched Andersons bowling again he seems to be hitting the right sort of lines to take wickets but had no luck.
    We'll do better when I get there on Friday hahaha that is if this flight ever leaves!

  • Comment number 82.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 83.

    lol .. Sorry .. Mr Ale
    appreciate your comment re the tail .. perhaps we could have 12?
    The Rug may not have Johnsons ability with the bat but then neither has Johnson at the moment and as important as a 'wagging tail' is it didnt wag in the first innings and Johnson doesnt look as if he could buy a wicket. I do believe we have runs in the top order ,though like your goodselves we can be prone to the odd collapse these days. I would probably move Clarke down to 6 put Ussie in at 4 and while Dougies' batting may not be upto much at least hes a strike bowler willing to take the new ball as ever 20 wickets is the key (barring daft declerations)and we have to win ... I wouldnt disagree that England have the better attack at the moment but at this early stage in proceedings both sides have taken the same number of wickets .. both Ponting and Strauss are very cautious captains and the series could come down to the Captain willing to take the biggest risk with attacking field placings , something Ponting maybe more likely to risk than Strauss as our boy Ricky knows he will be gone if this all goes 'pear shapped' from an Aus point of view

  • Comment number 84.

    @# 82
    must not comment, must not comment

  • Comment number 85.

    # 77

    Don't bother mate, the guy predicted the following. We'd be bowled out by lunch day 5, that we ought to drop Finn, Collingwood, Cook and Swann before the test started hahahaha. So we'd drop our best bowler during the test and our second best bowler during the last ashes series who incidently in series averaged 37 with the bat as well. Cook well that comment just proves he knows nothing and Collingwood hasn't played well but he will. My predictions unlike Papa's do have a habit of being correct

  • Comment number 86.

    First of all, why does everybody get so angry about poor grammer this is a blog not a english class!!!

    Anyway

    Andrew Struass: 7
    Andrew Cook: 10 (braking bradmans records will always have to led to a 10)
    Jonathan Trott: 7
    Kevin Pietersen: 3.5 (-0.5 due to a stupid pointless through that went for 4)
    Paul Collingwood: 2 (what did he do?? his second string on his bow is his catching)
    Ian Bell: 8 (for getting the highest score in the first innings)
    Prior: 5 (did half his job fantasticly well)
    Stuat Broad: 4
    Graeme Swann: 4
    James Anderson: 8
    Steven Finn: 6

    I agree with your Oz numbers but Johnson should get a 0!!

  • Comment number 87.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 88.

    @73

    Bang on as always Robert! This is a marathon not a sprint those who call for droppings instantly are the ones who watch 20-20 rather than test cricket! All those mentioned will have their day, I just hope that Johnson is dropped before his hahahaha

  • Comment number 89.

    If giving colly 12 months like cook means he will score 300 in one match against the aussies i say we give him all the time he needs!

    also, if your face fits you play, what does that mean???

  • Comment number 90.

    Woofy

    You Aussies always amaze me. If the shoe was on the other foot and lets face it in the past is has been rather a lot you lot would have been crowing about it a lot more than we are. Cook broke Bradmans recod for the Gabba we were 200 behind and got a draw. Lets face it from what I saw in 5 sleepless nights was we had the worst of the wicket day one for sure and it flattened out after that. But for some good bowling by Finn we'd have been a lot further behind. It was 'Australian esque' the fight back and I loved every second of it. I'll be rubbing your noses in it at Adelaide on Friday ;-)

  • Comment number 91.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 92.

    CapnSim wrote:

    Alastair Cook: 10

    Let's not forget that from day three this became a batting paradise. Granted you still have to get the runs but hardly settles doubts about technique. I rate his first innings effort as better. I'd give him an 8.

    Capnsim

    I have seen enough england batsmen on similar wickets throw there wickets away. You got to have the skill to bat that length of time sorry.

  • Comment number 93.

    Papa accept the fact Swann was one of the key players in winning us the ashes in 2009 and move on. Your getting boring, and as I said yesterday the more you open your mouth the more stupid you sound. Shallow ends that way Papa keep swimming>>>>

  • Comment number 94.

    Papa would ahve dropped Swann after one game of 2009, then he turned in a match winning performance at Lords. So Papa what about the prediction we'd be bowled out by lunch day five?? Admitting you were 100% wrong there! Nope didn't thing so!

  • Comment number 95.

    Papa this is test cricket, very few players make huge score every time they play. Learn and move on! The team ain't broke it doesn't need fixing we'll do just fine with the players we got. Lets hope the Aussies stick to the same principle.
    Oh and Papa isn't it coming up to your bedtime yet?

  • Comment number 96.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 97.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 98.

    Key our best opener

    Batting average 31

    Cook

    Batting average

    Batting Average 45

    Well Papa looking at the facts I'd say you wrong again hahaha opps!

  • Comment number 99.

    I'd say a batting average of 45 over 60 tests proves you don't really know what your talking about Papa. Key was given his chance he failed so move on and get your facts right

  • Comment number 100.

    Kapnag,
    re: anderson He didnt take a wicket in that spell becuase he didnt have a wicket taking ball! He needed a staright ball like Terry Alderman used to bowl to Gooch or a lifter like McGrath had. A case of too much swing and no ding!!And let me remind you that Hussey rated Broad the pick of the English bowlers. The problem with/for Anderson is that the Australians have a strategy of seeing him out in his early overs as once the kookaburra is over 15 overs old, Anderson will struggle with the ball as he does not have the bounce of Finn or the reverse swing that Broad can get. The Aussie press haven't made much of Anderson, only Jim Maxwell on BBC radio was full of praise but then again even MAxwell said England looked a bowler short, especially in the hot conditions in OZ. Anderson is good but he is not "world class" as BBC commentators would like to think/say.

 

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