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Fourth Ashes Test player ratings

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Tom Fordyce | 09:43 UK time, Thursday, 30 December 2010

Melbourne, Victoria

It was all done and dusted in a touch over three days, England's second crushing innings victory over Australia in the series. Who were the heroes of the fourth Test in Melbourne and who were the zeroes? Have a peruse of my numbers and then dive in with your own. All banter/debate/arguments welcomed. If clean.

ENGLAND

Andrew Strauss - 7

Got almost everything right, from team selection (bringing in Tim Bresnan for his leading wicket-taker Steve Finn) to winning the toss (and deciding to bowl) to field placings (putting a short extra cover in for Mike Hussey in the second innings). Scored a punchy 69 to ensure that England capitalised on the fantastic bowling display in the first two sessions and will now go down in history as only the fifth England captain since the World War II to come back from Australia in possession of the Ashes.

Alastair Cook - 7

His excellent 82, compiled on the first evening and second morning, means he has now scored 577 runs in the series, more than any other player and at a remarkable average of 115. The idea that he was under pressure for his place less than five weeks ago now seems quite laughable. The bad news for Australia is that, at the age of only 26, he may well be around for at least more two Ashes tours down under.

Jonathan Trott - 9

He might lack the charisma of his more glamorous team-mates and dress off the pitch like a man who chooses his clothes in the dark but Trott is now unquestionably one of the best batsmen in Test cricket. His unbeaten 169, a masterclass in concentration and application on a difficult pitch, snuffed out any faint hopes Australia may have had of getting back in the game. It also means he is averaging 111 for the series and has now scored three centuries in only five Ashes matches. Yet to hit a six in Test cricket, which says everything about his prioritising of substance over style.

Kevin Pietersen -7

His half-century may not have been the biggest score of England's innings but it continued his side's progress on a potentially tricky second morning. Managed to wind up Ricky Ponting with his winking antics after Australia's unsuccessful referral and took key catches at either end of the match to ensure England made the most of opportunities created by their bowlers.

Paul Collingwood - 2

Another failure with the bat is unlikely to keep Collingwood out of the team for the final Test in Sydney but his place in the side beyond that may be another matter. Highly valued by skipper Strauss and coach Andy Flower, he offers a huge amount in the field and dressing room. He is also a precious bowling option in a team with only four front-line options. Heartbroken to steer a simple pull down the throat of Peter Siddle at long leg, he needs a big score to keep the young pretenders from stealing his slot.

Paul Collingwood is out for another low score in MelbourneCollingwood's Test future beyond this Ashes series looks shaky. Photo: Getty Images

Ian Bell - 4

For once coming in with a chance to make some runs rather than nurse the tail, Bell almost fell foul of his own excellent form. Another player on another day would have left Mitchell Johnson's wayward bouncer alone but Bell aimed a slapping hook and paid the price. Took a vital and tricky catch to dismiss Hussey on the penultimate evening and still averages over 50 with the bat in the series. Will stay at six for the final Test.

Matt Prior - 8

Missed a simple chance to stump Michael Clarke off Graeme Swann in Australia's second innings but that incident only served to highlight how good his glovework has been. Lucky to be reprieved early in his innings after Johnson's no-ball but cashed in with his highest score of the series, having already taken six rock-solid catches on the first day. England's best wicketkeeper-batsman since mentor Alec Stewart.

Tim Bresnan - 9

Considered lucky to be in the tour squad by some and as a gamble for the Test match by others, Bresnan responded with a stunning performance that combined relentless accuracy with brilliant wicket-taking reverse swing. His spell of three wickets for two runs in 18 balls after tea on the third day, including the prize wickets of Ponting and Hussey, guaranteed that England would leave Melbourne with the Ashes in their hand luggage. Can he ever top this? We'll save those worries for another day.

Graeme Swann - 8

On the face of it, he had a quiet game - only two overs bowled in the first innings and only two wickets bowled in the second. But on a pitch that offered almost nothing for the spinners, he produced a tireless, miserly spell throughout the tea session on day three to squeeze the life out of Australia and create the pressure that team-mates exploited. Singled out for special praise by Flower afterwards, he celebrated with a performance of the Sprinkler in front of an adoring Barmy Army when the match was won.

Chris Tremlett - 8

Another inspired selection by England. The man considered either too soft or too loose for Test cricket produced his second top-draw display of pace bowling in two matches. His 4-26 from 12 relentless overs on the first day started and finished the rot - and he could have had more. Unplayable at times, he will end the series as an integral part of his country's bowling attack.

James Anderson - 8

Those unpleasant memories of the tonking he took four years ago are now buried for good. Made wonderful use of England's narrow window of opportunity on the first day, producing the perfect ball to dismiss Hussey and removing Clarke and Brad Haddin either side of that to blow a ragged hole in the Aussie top order. Has absorbed every bit of help on offer from bowling coach David Saker and shown that he can do just as much with the much-feared Kookaburra ball as any other swing bowler in the world. Seventeen wickets in the series, he will finish as unquestioned leader of an excellent attack.

AUSTRALIA

Shane Watson - 5

In some ways, it seems harsh to criticise a man who is averaging 50 for the series and who consistently scores runs at the top of a shaky batting order. But the feeling persists that Watson could do better - and his display in Melbourne illustrated why. Opening the batting appears to remove any menace from his bowling. He has only two wickets in these Ashes so far. He remains vulnerable outside off stump, as his dismissal to Tremlett showed, and needlessly ran out his opening partner for the second time in three Tests. Once again, he failed to push on having scored a half-century.

Phillip Hughes - 2

Threw away his wicket with a wild slash outside off to begin Australia's dramatic collapse. Looked much better in the second innings, only to be pointlessly run out by his senior partner just when he was appearing to settle in. Is he a Test opener? Maybe one day but his technique still looks too flawed against top-class attacks.

Ricky Ponting - 1

We thought it could not get any worse for the Aussie skipper. We were wrong. Bagged for a turgid 10 on the first day, unable to cope with Tremlett's bounce, he decided to dig in during the second innings and somehow looked even worse. Add in his ugly confrontation with blameless umpire Aleem Dar and you have a Test match that could have left weaker men broken - which is ironic, seeing that his fractured finger flared up afterwards and ruled him out of the final Test. If this is the end of his Test career, another failed Ashes campaign and a miserable total of 113 runs from eight innings is not a fitting way for this great player to go.

Michael Clarke - 2

Clarke once looked like the future of Australian batting. He now looks like a walking wicket. Where has the fluency and form gone? Panicked by the short ball, scratchy against the spin that he used to relish, he is a shadow of the batsmen he is at his best. Will captain his country in Sydney, yet remains an unpopular choice among his fellow countrymen. In a poll carried out by a Melbourne newspaper, 92% of respondents said they did not want him as Aussie skipper.

Michael Clarke and Peter SiddleClarke (left) has a big task lifting Australia - but will his team-mates respond? Photo: Reuters

Michael Hussey - 1

He had to fail at one stage, right? After being indomitable through the series so far, Sir Cricket was undone by fine bowling in both innings. Anderson found the classic anti-Hussey line a fraction outside off in the first innings, while Bresnan produced the perfect two-card trick of an inswinger into the pads followed by one that moved away late to induce an uppish drive to short extra cover. Still his country's best batsman by a mile.

Steve Smith - 3

One day Smith will be an excellent Test player. That day has yet to arrive. Two places too high at six, he battled hard in both innings but was undone by his loose technique. Given the chance with the ball on a pitch not suited to his leg-spin, he went wicketless for 71 from 17 overs. Hard yards for one at his stage of development.

Brad Haddin - 5

Wafted wildly in the first innings to give another catch to slip, he biffed away fruitfully when all was lost in the second. Claimed the non-catch off Pietersen that led to Ponting's strop with the officials but deserves the chance he has now been given as Australia's vice-captain. At 33, he may yet get a shot at the big job but before then should move up the order from seven to six.

Mitchell Johnson - 1

It is all or nothing for the random delivery generator that is Australia's premier strike bowler. Went from world-beater in Perth to egg-beater in Melbourne, returning figures of 2-134 and seemingly no closer to understanding how to release the magic at will than he was two years ago. Taunted mercilessly throughout by the Barmy Army with their specially-adapted version of Sloop John B, he cut a dejected figure by the end.

Ryan Harris - 1

Another to go from perfect in Perth to mournful in Melbourne. Failed to pick up a single wicket and then broke down with the stress fracture of the ankle that will put him out for three months - a cruel blow for a hard-working bowler who had only just come back from a chronic knee problem.

Peter Siddle - 8

Australia's best player by a mile, the proud Victorian used his local knowledge of the MCG conditions to great effect. He might not be the most subtle bowler in the world but his ceaseless effort was rewarded with his best Test figures in front of an appreciate crowd that included his dear old mum. Smacked his highest score with the bat at the end and could head for home with his head held high.

Ben Hilfenhaus - 2

Described as a bowling machine by one of my colleagues - and not in a complimentary sense. Puts the ball in the same place every time but his lack of real pace or bounce means he has become too predictable. Took two tail-end wickets but still has only four from the series. For the moment at least, his bowling holds few fears for England.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Only Collingwood's excellent fielding has kept him in the side so far, he'll be absolutely desperate to grab himself at least a century in Sydney or he'll be in real danger of getting dropped sooner rather than later.

  • Comment number 2.

    Not much I can find fault with here. Perhaps I would have given Mitchell Johnson a 2 for his 2 wickets, and dropped Bell's to a 2 or 3 - he is a batsman and failed to score runs after all, regardless of the catch to dismiss Hussey - but that's about it.

    Roll on Sydney where I hope Collingwood hits a big ton. After his performances in the field, he deserves a change of fortune with the bat.

  • Comment number 3.

    Glad Swann got a good rating, he bowled really well on a unhelpful surface IMO.

  • Comment number 4.

    Ratings on the money as always.

  • Comment number 5.

    Watson and Haddin should have higher ratings.

  • Comment number 6.

    I also hope Colly comes good in the final test, however I feel that he needs to in order to stay in the team. His batting is weak just now, his bowling isn't being used, and he missed some catches in the slips on the final day. Hard chances, certainly - but normally he would have snaffled them.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'd have Trott as a borderline 10/10. Not just for his superb batting display, but also the run out of Hughes in Australia's second innings (his throw would have hit the stumps without the intervention of Matt Prior). Batting without a runner after that blow to his knee deserves a mention too.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'd also have Trott as 10/10, but that's splitting hairs

    "He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right, that Mitchell Johnson - his bowling is sh*te"

    Lovely!

  • Comment number 9.

    I think Collingwood needs to be dropped, can you imagine how good we'd be with a number 5 batsman who can actually make some runs

  • Comment number 10.

    Time to give Collingwood a final "hurrah" at Sydney. Thank him for his tremendous attitude over the years but it is now time to move on and find someone new who can slot in amongst a very settled, winning, team.

    I certainly hope Collingwood gets a big score and goes out on a high but I really do think that we need to look elsewhere for the future. And now is a good time to do that as the only really questions about the current side are around the bowling attack. And even those questions are positive given that they are all contributing.

  • Comment number 11.

    Peter Siddle is the only Australian to turn up and rightly deserved his 8.
    His grit and determination has thrown the rest of the Aussie sides attitudes into sharp relief. When the chips were down, they all got worse and he stuck it out (Haddin maybe but he was on a hiding to nothing on the final day).

    Colly needs to stay for the final test then bow out gracefully, he's been a great ambassador for the sport and an integral part of the squad for long enough. Having that extra option as a bowler and his presence in the dressing room is extremely valuable to a captain, but he's not making the runs though and that's often been said during his career. Get a new kid in now while the team is playing well.

  • Comment number 12.

    "One day Smith will be an excellent Test player"

    Tom, what are you basing this statement on?

    I am not suggesting that there is no chance he won't become a good player. But from what little we have seen of him in at Test level, it would take a brave man to be certain he will be an excellent player. Although I suppose it depends on ones definition of "excellent" in a cricketing context.

  • Comment number 13.

    Agree with ratings.

    The Aussies are still struggling to accept their defeat as shown on the Cricket Australia website where they have yet to update the table to show England on top.
    http://www.cricket.com.au/
    currently shows table after 3 tests with Australia on top (based on alphabetical order).

  • Comment number 14.

    I know that the everyone will be saying "stick with the same team" but I think we should look to add some players with a point to prove and gain some experience .

    Davis in for Prior
    Shazad in for Anderson ( let him go and see his new born and rest up for one dayers)
    Morgan in for Collingood ( although i like the idea of this being his farewell test- he deserves it)

    Lets not get sentimental and lets use this test to see what the squad players can do .

  • Comment number 15.

    Tom, I'd up Strauss' rating to 9. Hé masterminded an England response to the Perth rout. Hé ensured (with Cook) that the middle order faced a worn ball. Strauss is almost inconspicuous on thé field. I mean that in a positive way. It's sad to ponder that hé might not return to Australia. A modest score, maybe. A modest man, definitely. But a fine tactical cricket brain. Like Vaughan, hé consistently out-thinks his opponents. Cool customer.

    Perhaps I'm being sentimental but I would keep Collingwood in thé Sydney side. Yes that means Morgan goes thé series without playing. But his time will come. If Colly plays at Sydney he'll make big runs (my hot tip).

  • Comment number 16.

    sorry #14 that is the last thing we should do.
    It is imperitive that this side go out and win in Sydney.
    They are extremely ambitious bunch of players and want to be number 1.
    Of course there is an argument to replace Collingwood (though I dont think we should), but if you dropped Anderson and Prior they would be absolutely devastated.

  • Comment number 17.

    #10 Agree with you to a certain extent, but I almost hope Colly doesn't get a big score because if he does the chances are England will keep him in for longer and it will only hinder our progress in future.

    That said, Colly has been an excellent player for England and deserves to play in Sydney for the commitment and ability to get us out of a crisis! Thank you and goodbye Colly.

  • Comment number 18.

    Wouldn't disagree with you on most of these Tom - as evidenced by our own marks out of 10.

    Your comments on Collingwood are spot on. He offers so much more than runs - brilliant fielder, useful bowler who tends to keep it tight whilst the frontline seamers have a breather and a trusted lieutenant on and off the field. Strauss and Flower will be loathe to dispense with his services especially as much of the resilience that now flows through the team emanates from the hero of Cardiff, Centurion and Newlands.

    Here are our aforemntioned marks out of 10, plus a look at Ricky Ponting's potentially cataclysmic and wholly inappropriate epitaph:

    Australia marks out of 10 http://bit.ly/eqjuSc
    England marks out of 10 http://bit.ly/gjwvYE

    Is this Ricky Ponting's cataclysmically bad epitaph? http://bit.ly/g5xIpW

  • Comment number 19.

    For what it's worth I met Colly at thé Rosebowl. We exchanged a few words. In my opinion one of thé nicest blokes in sport. Plenty of time for fans. (Reverts to Kevin Keegan mode: "I'd LOVE it if he silenced his critics, LOVE it; especially those on this site who havé voiced their doubts with such a lack of grace". Not sûre that Keegan pût it quite like that....)

  • Comment number 20.



    Great blog again Tom.
    You raised the question of Collingwood's place in the team; and what he brings to it apart from runs and catches.

    It may not be a bad thing if he loses his place in the next test.
    But to read some of the comments, you would think he was being sent to serve in Darfur, or consigned to the guillotine.

    It's just squad rotation: nothing more.
    Drop out from the team.
    Come back in at a later date.
    All the best football managers do it.
    And many do it successfully.

    But, like any team change, it is usually one that is judged by hindsight.
    If Collingwood stays -and performs well- it was the right decision.
    If he is dropped -and the replacement performs well- then THAT was the right decision.

    Is it best to blood a replacement in a "dead rubber", where he can get experience without pressure?
    Or should Collingwood be allowed to rebuild his confidence in the dead rubber, and for exactly the same reasons?

    It's just conjecture.
    Ask 10 different managers ( or 10 different fans), and you'll get 10 different answers and reasons.

    Like I say, the decision is judged by hindsight.

    The only thing I would like to say to the team is "Well Done! Now keep it up long term".
    And, like my sports teacher used to say to me before a big match:-

    "Don't let it happen; MAKE it happen!"


  • Comment number 21.

    #20, this test is NOT a dead rubber!
    We need to win or draw to win the series.
    we simply cant let the Aussies get away with a 2-2 draw!

    Trust me the England team and staff won't share your view!

  • Comment number 22.

    I remember Warne was no great shakes to start with so perhaps you are sight about Smith but he should bat at 8 or not at all!
    All marks good except add 1 to tinker and Colly for match winning catches.
    Also Watson deserves a couple extra I think. Otherwise great scoring

  • Comment number 23.

    We have specialist batsmen and specialist bowlers and it now seems that we have a specialist fielder in Collingwood. Can't see why he's been keep in the side, unless it's purely because he can take catches?

  • Comment number 24.


    England have to avoid defeat in Sydney to win the series and for that reason I would not experiment with Colly's position. Beyond that I believe he was unlucky at the MCG to be out to a shot that Pietersen and Prior routinely got away with and he had no second opportunity there with the bat. His service deserves a glorious finale at Sydney but regardless of his score there I believe he should then call it a day.

  • Comment number 25.

    Colly is vital for the team, with someone as brilliant in the field like that in your side it inspires confidence for bowlers and other fielders. Morgan is a real talent but his time will come (also in the one dayers) and Colly's experience has been much needed. OK so he is due a big score but the way we are playing with his influence on the team is enough to keep him in there.

    Ratings wise the only one I would disagree with would be Prior, whould be a 9. Took 6 catches and was fantastic at pushing up the run rate when we had them by the jaffers when he came in. A 1 for Johnson is also a bit harsh because he's not living up to how good he can be, though it sticks in the throat to say it!

  • Comment number 26.

    Jeez, you guys make me laugh. Do any of you know anything about cricket?

    Drop Collingwood? He's absolutely central to the England side. He averages 42 in tests, is the best fielder in the world, is a useful stock bowler, captains the 20/20 team and has transmitted his competitive streak to the rest of the side.

    So Collingwood has had a bad trot in the last 4 games. Did England drop Cook when all the ignoramuses were saying he had unsolvable problems with his footwork, etc. He's put it right and has just scored 577 runs at 115 against the Aussies.

    If it was up to you lot we'd have dropped Broad before he was injured - 2 wickets at 80 and a duck!

    Form is temporary, class is permanent.

  • Comment number 27.

    #14 What exactly is your reasoning for the madness? We haven't won the series yet, so you want to change our lead bowler for someone complete unproven. Change the wicketkeeper who has done a bang up job for someone who admittedly has a vast amount of potential but has yet to play a Test game and done nothing yet to prove he is the better option at First Class level.

    Morgan for Collingwood there is a legitimate argument for due to Collingwood's distinct lack of runs. However while I think Morgan will score more runs he doesn't give us the choice in the field or bowling. Also I'm a firm believer watching County Cricket there are far better Batting options than Morgan who while is a superb one-day player doesn't have the temperament for Test cricket.


    Anyway Tom spot on with the ratings I may have let Haddin get a higher score especially remembering he had to Keep for Johnson all game.

  • Comment number 28.

    Collingwood has actually taken more catches than Brad Haddin... As someone said previously, it's almost worth having him in for the fielding alone. I also believe that this is a discussion that was had a year or so ago, and he turned it around, which is something that I think he could do again.

  • Comment number 29.

    Colly should stay for Sydney, and will probably score runs. Next season move Bell to 5, and James Hildreth to 6. Nobody mentions him apart from Langer who said he is the best young (?) batsman in Englan. Just scored an unbeaten double ton.

  • Comment number 30.

    As it was all won on Day 1, I'd go Strauss 8 and Tremlett 9. Both made immense contributions on Day 1, which set up Trott to finish it off.

  • Comment number 31.

    agree with your ratings for the england team, though I think if tremlett gets an 8 then anderson shoul've got a 7.(Tremlett asked far more questions in the second innings, and bowled just as well in the first)
    A bit one eyed about the aussies though. siddle got a 6 for, he caught two pretty good catches in the deep, and got his highest test knock-and only got an 8.

  • Comment number 32.

    Very tricky to change a winning team isn't it?

    Collingwood is, however, in a nightmare of a bad run. When you look at his runs against every other batsman, it is apparent just how bad - 70 runs in total at 14, with every other batter averaging 40 plus (or 50 plus discounting Strauss).

    I'm sorry - at Test match level you cannot pick players as 'specialist fielders'. End of discussion.

  • Comment number 33.

    #31 dont forget that siddle also took full part in the ugly scenes with Ponting, so i think a mark of 8 is about right overall.

    Spot on Tom with the marks, although i agree with some that Trott should have got a 10.

  • Comment number 34.

    We really desperately need to see Eoin Morgan take over Collingwood's place, as far as I can see Collingwood has had his day and is only in the side for his spectacular catches and fielding expertise. We can't afford to carry waste if we want to be the best team in the world, and now is the time for Morgan to show the selectors what he can do. I'd give him the game in Sydney and take Collingwood out of the firing line.

  • Comment number 35.

    While it's true Colly could drink the fetid waters of an infected well and not get runs, his place in the team is a masterstroke. As the Fred Astaire of the cricket world – can't bat, can't bowl, can field a bit – Colly's presence at 5 instills in the top 4 a heightened responsibility to compensate for Colly's dogged uselessness. It's a role Colly undertakes with stoic professionalism. A team-man through and through, there is not a selfish gene in Colly's DNA. A lesser man would be tempted from time to time to build a score, but not Colly. He knows that wanton strain on the scorer's pencil would diminish the sense of duty Andy Flower inculcates in the top order every time he puts up the team sheet. For this, Colly deserves a 9. I deducted one mark because he scored 8 needless runs.

  • Comment number 36.

    Ok, let Colly stay in the team for his fielding and "nice blokeness"...BUT it means he bats at no. 11 !!

  • Comment number 37.

    Morgan is also an excellent fielder, if he was rotated in for Colly I don't think that there would be a significant drop in our fielding standards

  • Comment number 38.

    #35. much as i lové Colly ( tho' not in the Biblical sense) your opening phrase had me in stitches.

  • Comment number 39.

    #35

    What a shining wit! (as Dr Spooner might say)

    As you are clearly ignorant on the subject of cricket, may I explain to you that Paul Collingwood has scored over 4,000 Test runs at an average of 42.

  • Comment number 40.

    IMO Morgan is a one day player plus we need for the balance of the side another grafter, rather than a swashbuckler in the mould of Colly rather than KP. A steadier of the ship (the keel) rather than the out board motor - Hildreth maybe!

  • Comment number 41.

    I dont think the next test is the time to change things. We want to win in Sydney and take the series. If Australia win to make it 2-2 it will be a travesty.

    I expect Colly to come good in Sydney. I dont think we should put Morgan in the side. I'm still not convinced he is a test player. Hildreth seems to me to be a better bet.

  • Comment number 42.

    Can I remind you all of Collingwood's averages over his last few series...
    2008 v SA 58.00
    2008/09 v India 42.66
    2008/09 v WI 61.42
    2009 v WI 68
    2009 v Aus 27.77
    2009/10 v SA 57.33
    2009/10 v Bang 49.33
    2010 v Pak 19.83
    2010/11 v Aus 14.00

    Now, that's a pretty healthy return and clearly just shows a player out of touch in his last 7 or 8 matches. There have been plenty of players throughout history who have been through rougher patches. I do believe his days are numbered, but putting Morgan in for the last test would make little sense after all what form is he is? Averaged 29.16 against Pakistan and has barely raised a bat on this tour. If it ain't broke don't fix it, but agreed probably time for a change when we host Sri Lanka

  • Comment number 43.

    watson a 5, a couple of marks too high. are you allowed to give 0's, because everyone in tha aussie side are 1 mark too high except for siddle who carried the worst aussie side ever to play cricket.

    the last ashes tour down under was a shambles from start to end. this time it has been perfect except for perth. bresnan will probably make way for finn at sydney.

    the difference between the 2 sides is that the players on the fringe. for england they can come in do the buisness but australia they fail to deliver.

  • Comment number 44.

    Tom, with one test to play, who would you pick as man of the series so far? I imagine a batsman will get it - probably Cook, but I would go with Anderson for his consistency and some devastating spells.

  • Comment number 45.

    "Paul Collingwood has scored over 4,000 Test runs at an average of 42."

    Yes, but in 2010 (12 Tests) he has scored on 514 runs at 28.55, which is very poor for someone who bats in the top five.

    I do think they should leave him in for Sydney, but he is under serious pressure for next Summer. I would not be surprised if he quits the Test Match arena after the Ashes anyway.

  • Comment number 46.

    43 i doubt very much that bresnan will make way for finn in the final test.

  • Comment number 47.

    R-Brooker - what's with all the accents and circumflexes on your letters? We aren't in France - sort out your keyboard!

    As for the Colly debate, I think we'll be absolutely fine whether we replace him or not. In the team he is a steadying influence, an exceptional fielder, can bowl a bit but is in poor form with the bat. Morgan is young, quick, seemingly unflappable and a very good fielder who has been in decent form with the bat (albeit in one-dayers) but doesn't bowl. They both have good attributes and it is difficult to choose between them although I think the selectors will ultimately stick with experience for Sydney.

  • Comment number 48.

    #39

    I can't work out if you are taking me seriously, or not taking me seriously.

    I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to miss the point (as Voltaire might have said).

  • Comment number 49.

    Agree with the ratings although a 1 for Hussey is a bit mean for the best Aussie batsman by a mile who was undone by a couple of good balls. On the Colly debate it's tricky - the old form/temporary class/permanent cliché is probably correct here and add that together with his super fielding and occasional bowling - he should probably stay...all that said I would love to see Morgan have a thrash at some dis-spirited Aussies!

  • Comment number 50.

    Tom - I think you have been a little on the stingy side with the England players. The best thing about our bowlers is that they bowl as a unit, create pressure for each other, and take the wickets. For this reason id up the other fast bowlers scores by 1 each. Id also give an extra point to cook and strauss, as coming out on day 1 after the aussies had been bowled for 98 and scoring 157 without loss deservs real credit. Id also have Trott at a 10. Was unbeaten and contributed to a run out in the field. So, my ratings are thus:

    Strauss 8 - captained well, made the correct decision at the toss, took good slip catches, put on 157 without loss with cook after skittling the aussies.

    Cook 8 - created a solid platform which enabled Trott to go out and do his thing.

    Trott 10 - unbeaten by the aussies, scoring a masterful 168 not out. The thing that sums him up perfectly is that when the last England wicket fell, Trott didnt realise and began scrathing up at the crease for another round of bowling. He is unflappable. Also had an excellent throw to make a run out in the field and break the opening Australian partnership.

    KP 8 - A fluent 50, looks in good nick. Also got 2 good catches.

    Colly 2 - A poor match with the bat and a quiet one in the field. Keep him for last test match, but thereafter im not so sure.

    Bell 3 - a rash shot to get out, but took a vital catch to dismiss Hussey.

    Prior 8 - A good test behind the stumps. Scored well too. Only one blemish in missing a stumping opportunity.

    Bresnan 9 - Awesome reverse swing bowling. If he continues to play like that Broad could be in trouble.

    Swann 8 - A quiet game for Swann, but did his job well and made things awkward for the Aussies so the quicks could take the wickets.

    Tremlett 9 - Devastating in the first innings, and deserved much better figures in the second. A real star performer.

    Anderson 9 - Confirmed his reputation as Englands premier strike bowler.

  • Comment number 51.

    Tom,

    A gripe, and one I have with many cricket writers.

    Shane Watson is in admirable man doing a job he has no clue how to do. Don't blame him, he stepped in when no one else would. He is an alrounder that should bat 6. He has chipped and plugged away and at least scored some runs.

    Blame the coaches for not helping him develop the skill to be an opener, and blame the selectors for their silly notions. Blame the Academy for not developing a youngster, blame the coaches again for not sorting Hughes out. Hughes was just sent back to State and he has continued using his iffy technique. Blame the selectors again for overlooking Jacques and others (Di Venuto) who could have done something and allowed Watson to be the player he really is.

    I have alot of respect for what Watson has done since 09

  • Comment number 52.

    Not sure how you can rate Bell as 4 when he only got 1 run. He played a loose shot just after Collingwood had played the same shot. He took a good catch but Hussey scored more runs and also took a good catch but only gets 1.
    Bresnan bowled excellently until the last day when he decided to give up on his good bowling and started putting in a lot of short and wide balls. Would have rated him higher if not for this.
    I think Trott deserves a 10. If fielding counts, it was he who started the collapse with another great run out.
    I think Straus has been an excellent captain. I think though that he could have had a 3rd slip, a lot of catches were missed because there was none.
    Also the slip cordon was too deep with the old ball so Prior as well as missing a stumping also missed a catch that just failed to carry.

    I would like to see a bowler brought in for Collingwood but I'm sure this won't happen as they will want to ensure they cannot lose. I would give Morgan a chance though but I suspect Collingwood will get another chance.

  • Comment number 53.

    #45

    "Yes, but in 2010 (12 Tests) he has scored on 514 runs at 28.55, which is very poor for someone who bats in the top five."

    We're all agreed he's had a bad patch of form with the bat, the stats don't lie. But as I said earlier, form is temporary. His value to the team is immense. And he could only be replaced at Sydney by Morgan, whose Test record so far is indifferent and who doesn't bowl.

    "I would not be surprised if he quits the Test Match arena after the Ashes anyway."

    Agreed, but that's not the issue at the moment. And I have doubts as to whether Morgan will inherit his place in the Test team. Hildreth, maybe?

  • Comment number 54.

    I know we've retained the ashes but if we lose the next test, 2-2 would leave a slightly sour taste in the mouth. On that basis, please lets not hear talk of dead rubbers or resting players.

    I feel a little sorry for Shane Watson. The role of all batsman is to score as many runs as possible but an opening batsmans secondary objective is to see off the new ball to protect the middle order - especially in Oz. More often than not, Watson does this.

    Yes, he doesn't convert his starts but the fact he averages 50 as an opener without many bg scores shows that he's consistently surviving the new ball.

    As an opener, its far better to make scores of 50, 50, 50, 50 than it is to make 100, 0, 100, 0.

  • Comment number 55.

    Collingwood must be coming to the end of his test career. His form with the bat is awful and as it is we could play 5 bowlers and not weaken our line up, especially once Broad is back. Morgan would seem to be next in line if it's a straight swap, however if we do persist with 4 bowlers then we really could do with someone who can turn their arm over. Bopara maybe?

  • Comment number 56.

    #35 mapa pango
    very funny keep it up, best post today.

  • Comment number 57.

    On the collingwood debate, why should we change a team that is winning test matches. Has he lost us a test match? Not as far as I can see, he hasn't got runs but others around him have and this is a team game not 11 individuals.
    Someone put up the averages for him over the last few series, and while they average has dipped what I would love to see is what was Kevin Pietersons average over the last 18 months without that 200 at adelaide. I am willing to bet it not that great either after all thats his only century.
    Morgan wil get his chance next summer though I agree his inclusion would be a 'risky' one. We need an steady player in the middle order we have enough a dasher (KP). I am not exactly sure from what I have seen of Morgan that he fits the bill.
    Sydney will turn a bit (it always does), unless the Aussies pull a fast one an prepare a rank bowlers paradise in the hope that in the shake up they come out on the right side of a 3 dayer.
    I would be suprised if the selectors change the team that has inflicted two innings defeats on the Aussies. Imagine if they change the team and put Morgan in and we lose! Where does that leave Morgan? I agree with the comments that Collingwood will probably retire from test cricket after this series and concentrate on one day internationals. Lest you England fans forget he was the captain that led us to our only one day international honour in the 20/20 world cup!

    Having said all that I am sure when troll comes on he will cast his usual collingwood lure/swann fly into the murky waters of the Fordyce blog discussion and provoke the usual response

  • Comment number 58.

    My screen says Hussey 1, so either it's a typo' or the author is an idiot

  • Comment number 59.

    #58
    Scores are fair, your only as good as your last game!

  • Comment number 60.

    Has anyone seen the troll today? I suppose coming on here to acknowledge just how wrong and pathetic all the predication you have made are is a big ask.

    I agree with keeping the line up for the final test settled. It is not a dead rubber, or a chance to blood players. It is a vital test to secure a series win and should be treated as such.

    I also agree that Hildreth should be given a shout over Morgan if/when Colly's time is up.

  • Comment number 61.

    You're right Toddrundgren: Hussey scored 8 more runs than Hilfenhaus and he was given a 2!

  • Comment number 62.

    As usual, Collingwood will get picked because he's "a good bloke" and will score a hundred to keep his place in the team.
    What should happen is that Morgan replaces him but Flower isn't that adventurous and he won't want to change a batsman in a winning side

  • Comment number 63.

    59. Then he not talk about performances in the series. e.g. Bell gets 4 for scoring zero and Hussey gets 1. Go figure

  • Comment number 64.

    61: I think he took a good catch in the gulley Cook maybe? Bell also took a good catch and was awarded a 4

  • Comment number 65.

    #58
    Sorry, I mist Collingwoods 2, he should also have scored 1, but I'm not a Colly knocker, I think he should and will keep his place for his last test!

  • Comment number 66.

    The final Test is not a dead rubber, as some people commenting seem to think.

    England are 2-1 up with one Test to play.

    Australia could level the series.

    All Melbourne achieved was that the Aussies could not win back the Ashes with a series win. They could still tie the series and argue that there is not much between the sides.

  • Comment number 67.

    #63,

    Bell had one failure, Hussey had two

  • Comment number 68.

    Gonna have the guts to put these ratings to the Aussies if you bump into them this time, Tom?

  • Comment number 69.

    I agree, mrs mantooth (#12). On the same basis, one day, 4dice will be an excellent writer. On a happier note, good luck to Usman Khawaja in Sydney. Shame the semi-breeds at the BBC are trying to knock his selection by the usual subtle means (i.e stress on 'Pakistan-born'). None of them described Strauss as 'South African-born' when he was picked so why this?! (rhetorical question, don't reply).

  • Comment number 70.

    #63
    maybe being on the winning side might have somthing to do with the scores?
    But you do have a point.

  • Comment number 71.

    YES! Mrs. Mantooth, Smith looked like a lovely buffet bowler! Yeah ok the pitch wasn't taking much spin at all, but still, do help yourself!!

  • Comment number 72.

    66. Couldn't agree more. Also isn't Sydney the ground where you could pick two spinners? I assume there was reason Monty came along?

  • Comment number 73.

    #69 Feeling a little sore at something cowbat? Heaven only knows why

  • Comment number 74.

    The Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja will fail just like the rest of em!

  • Comment number 75.

    Shane Watson - 2/10
    Phil Hughes - 1/10
    Ricky Ponting - 1/10
    Michael Clarke - 1/10
    Mr Cricket - 2/10
    Wotsisname - 1/10
    Haddin - 2/10
    Mitch - 0.5/10
    Harris - 2/10
    Peter Siddle - 9/10
    Wicketless-enhaus - 2/10


    TMS fourth test ratings:

    Boycs - 9.5/10
    Vic - 9/10
    I Chappell - 9/10
    CMJ - 8/10
    Spyro - 8/10
    Langer - 5/10
    Vaughan - 5/10


  • Comment number 76.

    #67,

    Bell had one failure, Hussey had two

    So 2 versus 1 then, not 4 versus 1, still makes no sense

  • Comment number 77.

    I for one hope that Paul Collingwood remains in the side regardless of his performance in the Sydney test. At 34 going on 35 he still has a few good years in him, and I would argue that his age (and experience) is a benefit to the team rather than a hindrance, as it does not seem to have affected his game aversely. Just look at some of the catches he has taken this series for evidence of a player who is as agile and sharp-eyed now as he was at the beginning of his career. Of course his statistics have been well-documented throughout this blog, and it would be churlish to argue that his performances in the last year, aside from and excellent battling 82 against Pakistan in the summer, have been up to standard. Without wishing to rely too heavily on the old cliche that statistics don't always tell the whole story, never has this been more true for a player than Paul Collingwood. Collingwood's greatest innings have arguably been rearguard actions: a 72-minute 10 at the The Oval '05, 74 at Cardiff '09 and 24* & 40 at Centurion and Cape Town '09/'10. For this competitive steel and all-round contribution to the team I would persevere with Collingwood for the time being. After all, he is not the first player to suffer a slump in form. The fact that we have quality young players pushing for selection now can only be a good thing, and their time in the side will come.

  • Comment number 78.

    On the marks scored for the batsmen, most batsman would get two bites at the cherry and England only had one knock, and lets face it Collingwood/Bell were in a different situation where pushing the score along was important. Clarke got a 2 for 2 scratchy knocks and Collingwood for 1. And sorry was Bell's catch really worth bumping him up to 4 for versus Colly?
    As for Collingwood long term, #42 post is interesting in terms of 2 series with a bad average. Comparing with a young enough to improve Cook is not right because the latter was technical (which may yet be exposed in England) whereas Colly is showing signs that his reflexes with the bat can't compensate for his technique. What happened in the past does not justify the present. At some stage he'll need replacing but Morgan really isn't the answer.
    A decent middle order batsman such as Hildreth is an option or even Carberry deserves another shot. Bopara was never the worst no.6 (no number 3 tho) and has fielding and bowling too. Trott can always turn his arm over for a few by the way. In certain circumstances, Rashid could bat 7 with Prior 6 to give a two spinner option.
    Bowling line up is interesting though - when you get Broad back who got away with inconsistency due to his batting who will be the 2 with Anderson, Broad/Tremlett/Finn/Bresnan? Good times potentially.

  • Comment number 79.

    Leave the team alone !
    They are playing as a team, and do not need tinkering with.
    The only possible exception would the bowling line-up, and the team management should pick that, they have the local knowledge, and have got it spot-on every time. Even the professional pundits are conceding that !

  • Comment number 80.

    #26, I'm 100% in agreement with your comments about Colly!

    The series is not yet won! Why change a winning team? Keep the same XI, so Colly plays & lets hope he scores some runs to keep the doom merchants off his back! People under-estimate his value to the team. Although, i do agree with Ian Chappell's comment about Bell's good form being wasted at No.6 & he really should be moved up the order.

    Well played England, keep up the excellent professional work & a 3-1 series win has got a very satisfying ring to it!

    As a Pom living in South Africa you can imagine i get quite few comments about the SA influence in the current England team. My answer is usually on the lines that "England does recognise potential talent & is prepared to train willing volunteers for the cause". It has the desired effect as the subject of conversation is usually changed forthwith!

    I can't fault your markings Tom.

  • Comment number 81.

    Cook 8
    Bell 5
    Prior 7

    Aussie ratings:

    0 each - and they are lucky I'm in a generous mood.

  • Comment number 82.

    A number of posters are being beastly to Tom. I have been faintly critical of him myself recently, particularly about his obsession with cricket in this series of blogs. But I have always meant it kindly, as a tutor might mentor a promising student. So I feel bound to jump to Tom's defence.

    There are three good reasons why Hussey is marked down. First, he was on the losing team. Secondly, he failed in two innings. Third, he carried into the match an expectation to score runs, which he failed to deliver. His runs have been far more important to Australia than Bell's have been to England. The low mark Tom gave to Hussey reflects not just his lack of runs in the match but also a sense of disappointment in Australia's go-to player.

  • Comment number 83.

    On the subject of batsmen who can bowl, don't forget Pietersen bowled out Clarke, the main threat, in the second innings at Adelaide.

  • Comment number 84.

    @82

    Well that all makes sense now, thanks teacher

  • Comment number 85.

    I also agree that it is time for Collingwood to depart. Surely Broad can just slip back in when he is fit. Remember he is meant to be an all rounder and he would give us even more options with the ball.

    Also Bopara or Morgan to replace Bell!!

  • Comment number 86.

    @82 Are you serous when you say that you get marked down for being on a losing team - the ratings are about individual performance surely...Siddle was given an 8 by Tom but was on the losing team so maybe a 4 is more appropriate (using your logic)

  • Comment number 87.

    Agree with 95% of those ratings, very good assesment of the fourth test! Think i would of given Trott 10/10 but thats the only difference. Really hope Collingwood keeps his place for the 5th test his service to the team for so long deserves it. I think its only a matter of time before he is replaced with Morgan in future test squads though. Lots of people saying change the team.. Did Australia experiment in 06/07 after retaining the ashes? No they wanted that 5-0 and we should play our strongest team in order to garantee a 3-1 scoreline. 2-2 will not show how dominant we have been overall in this series and everyone knows the Aussies are still very dangerous even with this team!

  • Comment number 88.

    I agree with the ratings for the players for both teams

    I expect no changes for England for the 5th test in Sydney
    Colly is the only person who has not scored a lot of runs this series but he makes up for it with his excellent fielding.

    I expect the only change for Australia will be Khawaja replacing Ponting

    I would give 10 out of 10 for the TMS commentary team

  • Comment number 89.

    I still think we need to keep the team fresh and constantly regenerate the team, bringing players in and out depending on the situation. Its ok running with a team consistently for a good few years and success will come with that, however it all comes to an end which is Australia's issue at the moment. They stuck with the same team for years (A team full of legends) however fresh blood wasn't brought in and now they are facing problems for it.

    The bowling has it correct, we have a group of 6bowlers who can all come in, they are tried & tested and if one of the main 3 were to get injuried we have very good replacements. I would still like to have another spinner in there for when we are on the subcontinent.

    Batting needs to keep itself fresh and would possibly like Davies to get a few more run outs in the team, as if we get an injury to Prior could really hamper our middle order. Still feel that Morgan is good enough for England and that he should get a decent run in the team.

  • Comment number 90.

    Good to suggest Ravi to replace Collingwood. Like for like as neither will score runs!
    He's been given a chance time and time again and has proved that he can't score runs at the top level. Good county player but nothing more.

    I agree that whoever comes in to replace Colly should do it under pressure. So I hope that Morgan and Hilldreth are both in line and rotated or used when/if there are injuries to the other top 6 bats.

    Morgan looks like he will have the mental strength to play test cricket, nothing seems to phase him and hes done a number of top performances under pressure in the ODI team already. Hilldreth just has sooo much class and has proved it on this tour for the Lions.

  • Comment number 91.

    #86

    Siddle had match figures of 75 for 6. So did Besnan, but TB's were aggregate figures over two innings. All the other England bowlers had poorer aggregate figures than Siddle.

    Tom scored Bresnan with a 9, and Siddle with an 8, the same as all the other English bowlers. So, I think my logic still holds.

  • Comment number 92.

    Also Bopara or Morgan to replace Bell!! Sorry, give a reason! I htought this had been put to bed!!!

  • Comment number 93.

    #91 So, I think my logic still holds

    only to you dear boy

  • Comment number 94.

    Excellent blog and difficult to disagree with any comments, although I still have worries over KP's attitude and how it reflects in his performances.

    Most importantly, over the years Colly has been the real backbone of the England team in all disciplines, and in light of his none playing qualities shoulnd't be encouraged into the backroom team?
    He could generate a massive atmosphere of 'team' to newcomers - especially if a youngster came with an undesirable ego.

  • Comment number 95.

    Collingwood missed 2 dropped 2 at Melbourne he has dropped a lot of catches this year.Ignore what might happen in Sydney he has made himself lookdire on the biggest stage internationalcricket. He is atleast 2 years past his sellby date. Just a walking wicket that cant catch 50% of the time. Its sad young payers have not had the chance of playing down under because of the misplaced faith of Struss and Flower in a walking wicket called Collingwood.

  • Comment number 96.

    #75
    I'm not sure how you can give Boycott 9.5/10. After 10 minutes of the test ,he said he couldn't see England winning it. Did he acknowledge his mistake? He'd sooner pull his fingernails out than do that. With every test,he turns more and more into a parody of the never-wrong Yorkshireman,making Trueman sound like a master of the weighted contibution.

  • Comment number 97.

    "Yes, but in 2010 (12 Tests) he has scored on 514 runs at 28.55, which is very poor for someone who bats in the top five."

    Short sighted. What about his fielding? People have said we can't afford to have a specialist fielder...well, why on Earth not, provided that fielder isn't dead weight with the bat (and he clearly isn't, even through this poor run of form) His fielding isn't just good, it's extraordinary. Rather than look purely at the runs he scores with the bat, have a think how many he saves in the field versus any likely replacement. Have a think how much he contributes to raising the morale, improving the attitude and thus ultimately the headline figures of his teammates.

    No way he should be replaced.

  • Comment number 98.

    I was going to put together a rather long post on whether those advocating Collinwood’s removal for the last Test were the same who were banging on about Cook, Bresnan and Tremlett not to be included in the tour. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it) #26, badgercourage, said it for me.

  • Comment number 99.

    Collingwood will play in Sydney, lets put that to bed.
    What happens after who knows, but he is a key member of the 1 day side, and captain of the T20, games of which we have coming up straight after this series, not to mention the world cup.
    Colingwood is a key member of this TEAM, and as a winning team he should stay for Sydney.

    After the world cup, not now, is the time to reasses his position in the Test side.

  • Comment number 100.

    for those people on here who seem to be basing their marks on statistics alone (mentioning no names!) just be prepared to look a little deeper. For example a bowler could bowl a great spell , beat the bat and stop the opposition from scoring leading to wickets for other bowlers (tremlett 2nd inns?), or alternatively (albeit not necessarily in this test) a batsman could make quick runs for a declaration but get out for 30 or 40 when they may have made more batting "properly", but look at it as a contribution to the team result rather than individual averages. On the colly debate, keep him in. I'm a big fan, think he brings a lot to the team dynamic but just happens to be in a poor run of form (which can happen to anyone.) If he continues downhill over the summer then sure, begin to look at a replacement (and would agree with others that hildreth is a good place to start)

 

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