Ashes 2nd Test player ratings
Adelaide, South Australia
With the day-long thunderstorms finally clearing away after England's record-breaking innings win over Australia in the second Test, I've put together the traditional post-match ratings.
See them only as a launching-pad for your own opinions. I won't be offended. For long.
Andrew Strauss - 7
Under normal accountancy rules an opener who made only one run in the match could expect a lower rating. Strauss, though, deserves his numbers for the way he led his side to the most impressive performance from an England team overseas many could remember. Along with coach Andy Flower he has forged a unified, focused and successful team, his leadership both on and off the field a lesson in performance under pressure and attention to detail.
Alastair Cook - 9
Could his Test place really have felt under threat just a fortnight ago? His remorseless accumulation of runs in this series has statisticians digging out the records from luminaries like Waugh, Hammond and Bradman, the 148 he scored in England's only innings here the rock around which a winning position was established.
His current series average is 225. Even if he is out for a duck in every remaining innings, he will still finish with an average over 50. Just to stick a cherry atop the pie, he also took the fine diving catch that dismissed Australia's key man Michael Clarke to the last ball of the penultimate day.
Jonathan Trott - 9
His brilliant run-out of Simon Katich with a direct hit from square leg in the very first over of the match lit the fuse for the demolition that followed, and his stubborn 78 with the bat helped take England from a precarious 3-1 to a dominant 176-2. Averaging 121 for the series, part of an England batting order that is in danger of sending Australian bowlers to the knacker's yard.
Kevin Pietersen - 10
Sitting around with your pads on for 11 hours while your team-mates pile on record after record would monkey with most players' minds. Not the glamourpuss of the team. His 227 was not only the highest score of his Test career but also his most complete innings, a brilliant mix of concentration, style and blazing bravado.
In itself it was enough to guarantee him the man-of-the-match award. That he then broke the key partnership of Clarke and Hussey just when Australia looked like they might wriggle clear with a draw was almost laughable. Loved every second of the adoration and attention, and deserved it entirely.
Paul Collingwood - 8
That might seem a high mark for a man who only scored 42, and failed to take a wicket with the ball. But Collingwood's contribution was key to England's win - not only for keeping the scoreboard ticking over with seamless speed after the eventual dismissal of Cook, but for his routinely remarkable catching at slip as Graeme Swann ran through the Australian order. Also picks up big bonus marks for running out of the England dressing-room in just his pants as the rain hammered down on the final afternoon and pulling off a textbook slide along the sodden covers.
Ian Bell - 8
In danger of becoming the forgotten man in the deluge of England runs, which would be harsh in the extreme. Once again batted beautifully for his silky-smooth 68 not out, pinging the ball to all parts, and travels to Perth with an average of 144. Only the successes of the men above him in the batting order have prevented him from scoring more.
Matthew Prior - 7
Now looking every inch a Test stumper, the only blot on his form the last-day spill of Hussey off Swann which turned out not to be as important as he might have feared. Stood up to his spinners well, held on to everything else and biffed the ball around with abandon in his brief cameo on Monday morning.
Stuart Broad - 7
Might not have bagged the wickets he hoped for, but his control was integral to England's plan as they squeezed the life out of the Australian innings. His 1-39 off 19 overs in the first innings was followed by 0-32 off 11 in the second, a complimentary contrast to the figures shipped by his Aussie equivalents. Gutted to be ruled out the remainder of the tour with a torn abdominal muscle, but has played his part.
Graeme Swann - 9
On a wicket that his opposite number got tonked on, Swann made maximum use of the disintegrating surface and bowlers' footholds to rip the heart out of the Australian second innings, including the prize scalp of Ricky Ponting. Has now taken 10 five-wicket hauls for his country, the best return for any English tweaker since Derek Underwood, and answered the critics who wondered whether his finger-spin would be an effective weapon on Australian pitches.
James Anderson - 9
His four first innings wickets included possibly his best single burst in Test cricket, when he saw off skipper Ponting for a golden duck and then removed his vice-captain Clarke in his very next over. More expensive in the second innings as he pitched the ball up looking for swing and nibble, but beat the batsmen for fun on the final morning before dismissing a demoralised Haddin and then a hapless Harris for a king pair.
Steven Finn - 8
Went for runs on the first day, but came back to bowl a fine spell on the penultimate afternoon - finding reverse swing, showing miserly control and getting rid of the well-set Watson. Triggered the final day collapse with the key wicket of Mike Hussey, surprised by the extra bounce, and with Broad's absence from the rest of the series should continue to develop at pace into an integral part of the England attack.
Simon Katich - 4
Run out without facing a ball, he stayed out in the stands by himself while his team-mates sat and watched the carnage from the balcony above. Crippled by Achilles pain, he then fielded on one leg and ground out a gritty 43 before limping out of the series injured. If it's the last Test match he plays, it wasn't the send-off he would have hoped for.
Shane Watson - 6
Much like a friend of mine in nightclubs, he looks full of confidence and form early on but never goes on to convert. His biffing 51 in the first innings was matched by 57 in the second, full of front-foot plants and muscular drives, but he failed to push on to the big score that his side needs. Looked tired when bowling; if it wasn't for the lack of alternative openers, he would surely be better utilised coming in at six.
Ricky Ponting - 1
Snaffled for a golden duck in the first innings and just nine off 19 balls in the second, in between he spent two days watching his bowlers get flayed to all corners and must now pull off quite some turnaround if his charges are to regain the Ashes. Laudably honest about his side's deficiencies afterwards ("We were out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded"), he looked so downbeat that some travelling England fans almost admitted feeling sorry for him.
Michael Clarke - 6
Part three of that spectacular first 10-minutes collapse despite a fantastic record at the Adelaide Oval, he battled back with a cavalier 80 on day four to give his side brief hope. Beside himself to be dismissed by the part-time tweak of Kevin Pietersen, he then stayed put at the crease when everyone but umpire Tony Hill knew he was a goner.
Mike Hussey - 7
Not so much the backbone of Australia's batting as its only bone. Saved them from humiliation on the first morning until wriggled out by Swann, he looked like he might just be able to do the same on the final day until an out-of-character slog-pull off Finn sent a top-edge down James Anderson's throat at mid-on.
Marcus North - 3
To English eyes he is a solid batsman who made big runs in the last Ashes series in Blighty. To Australian eyes he is a symbol of the mediocrity that now runs through the national side. Blew a decent start on the first day with a misjudged open-faced edge, and was trapped in front by Swann's straightener on the last. Only the lack of decent alternatives can keep him in the side come Perth.
Brad Haddin - 5
Scorer of a brisk half-century with his old pal Hussey, he spilled a straightforward chance down leg-side to Trott off Harris but made some amends with a sharp inside-out snag to finally see off Cook. Failed to offer any resistance on the final morning as Australia lost their last six wickets for 66 runs.
Ryan Harris - 7
The pick of his side's bowlers, he was the only one to offer any real menace at any time and - injuries allowing - should have greater success on more responsive wickets later in the series. Statistically impossible for him to do worse with the bat too, as he became only the second Australian in Test history to bag a king pair. Ouch.
Xavier Doherty - 0
Picked to take the wicket of Pietersen, and did exactly that. The only problem was that, by that point, Pietersen had already scored 227 runs. In the two matches that will surely constitute his Test career, he shipped 306 runs at more than four an over for a mere three wickets. Run out in calamitous fashion on day one, he missed the chance to return the favour against Trott and shuffled off for five in the second innings. Australia's very own Richard Dawson.
Peter Siddle - 1
Has six wickets in the series, all of them coming a long, long time ago on the first day in Brisbane. Probably guessed it would be downhill after that hat-trick he took on his birthday, but not that the descent would be so long or steep. Match figures of 0-121, his sole positive contribution was producing a future "What Happened Next?" moment when he deflected the ball back on to his own stumps without the bails being dislodged.
Doug Bollinger - 2
The Rug started brilliantly with the early dismissal of Strauss, but lack of fitness and accuracy meant that it soon became a case of hell toupé. Ran out of puff as Pietersen smacked him all over the old ground; would have been pulling his hair out if he hadn't paid so much for it.