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Ashes series player ratings

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Tom Fordyce | 09:00 UK time, Saturday, 8 January 2011

Sydney, New South Wales
Well well. England, in a fashion that few of their supporters would have dared believe, retained the Ashes with a stunning 3-1 series win. Australia, in a way that their fans found increasingly awful to watch, suffered their worst Ashes defeat in just over 25 years.
Who deserves the plaudits, and who the brickbats? I'll start the debate, and then you pile in.

ENGLAND

Andrew Strauss - 9

If the series started in the worst possible fashion for Strauss - out in the first over of the first session of the first Test for a duck - it has ended at the opposite end of the spectrum, only the third English captain in history to win the Ashes both home and away. His batting was solid - an average in the low 40s is historically very good for an England opener in Australia - but it was his captaincy that was inspired. A model of calm and control in the field, he led his side with authority, imagination and class, bringing the
absolute best from almost every one of his players.

Alastair Cook -10

This is one mark that we'll surely all agree on. Arriving in Australia as a supposed weak link at the top of the chain, Cook left it as an indomitable run-machine, breaking records with such unhurried ease that it seems impossible he had an average over eight innings last summer of just 13. His 235 not out saved the game in Brisbane; his big centuries in Adelaide and Sydney set up historic English victories. Only Wally Hammond has scored more runs in a single Test series for his country, and that was in an era of timeless Tests. Man of the series.

Alastair Cook

Jonathan Trott - 9

In any other Ashes series down under, an England batsman who averaged almost 90 would be the hero of the day. That Trott's achievements have been overshadowed by those of his team-mate one place up the order will bother him not one bit. His century in Melbourne was the pick, a study in ferocious concentration and application, but throughout he was a rock in Australia's path to purgatory. England's best number three in a decade.

Kevin Pietersen - 7

This should be a no-brainer. Pietersen's 227 in Adelaide was the most complete innings of his career, as disciplined as it was destructive, the display Australians had feared from the very start. At the same time, there will be those who think Pietersen let himself down with the bat, wasting good starts and losing his wicket to impetuous shots at inopportune moments, as in the second innings in Perth and first dig in Sydney. In reality, we may be wasting our time expecting one without the other.

Paul Collingwood - 5

If his valedictory series was a poor one with the bat, Collingwood will still leave the Test arena with his head held high. His fielding set the benchmark to which all his team-mates aspire, his attitude energised the team and his bowling was an unheralded factor in allowing England to pick just four front-line bowlers. The catch to remove Ricky Ponting on the first morning in Perth will remain one of the highlights of the series. Colly, thanks for the hard work and memories.

Ian Bell - 8

Four years ago the Sherminator, this time the Terminator. Bell was the most aesthetically pleasing batsman in the series, contributing on almost every occasion despite batting too often with the tail and, through the excellence of those above him, getting far less time at the crease than anyone could have imagined. His maiden Test century against Australia at his 31st attempt was a fitting way to seal an excellent series.

Matt Prior - 8

Along with James Anderson, Prior is one of England's most improved players over the past three years. His glovework was excellent throughout the series, his foot movement sharp and his hands quick both standing back to the quick and up for Graeme Swann. Dismissed for a golden duck in his first innings of the series, he ended it with a thumping century as England compiled their highest ever Test total on Australian soil. Is there currently a better wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket?

Stuart Broad - 7

Two wickets from 70 overs across two matches doesn't sound like a great return, especially with not a single run from the bat to add into the mix. In this case, statistics fail to tell the story. Broad's control in Adelaide - he went at just 2.3 runs an over in his truncated series - built the pressure that led to wickets at the other end. He even made his debut as a TMS expert summariser in Perth, which gets him a bonus BBC mark.

Graeme Swann - 7

The Aussies were so scared of his spin wizardry, they prepared green-tinged wickets to thwart him but Swann still took 15 wickets in the series, his best 5-91 coming at Adelaide to put England 1-0 up. He showed his nous to operate within his limitations if there was no spin, performing a great enabling role and tying up an end on many occasions. Not as swashbuckling with the bat as he has been, but he didn't need to be, and special praise for bringing the "sprinkler" dance to the world's attention.

Steve Finn - 8

14 wickets at 33 in your first Ashes series, at the tender age of 21, is a marvellous return for someone still at the very start of his Test career. Finn was expensive at times, and struggled with his length on the unfamiliar Waca surface. Events in Melbourne proved that England were right to bring in Tim Bresnan. But that takes nothing away from the man he replaced.

James Anderson - 9

Tonked all over various ovals four years ago, Anderson shocked the Australian players and public alike with his transformation into a bowler capable of dismissing any batsman at any time. If his line and length were exemplary, his ability to move the new ball and reverse-swing the old one wrought havoc in the Aussie ranks. If his best moment was getting rid of Ricky Ponting for that golden duck in the first over in Adelaide, he was a consistent threat on every surface. The unquestioned leader of England's attack.

Chris Tremlett - 8

Surprise package #1. Some wondered why he had been picked in the squad in the first place; others said he was the wrong man to come in for the injured Stuart Broad. All were proved wrong. Tremlett ended the series a key man in the four-man bowling assault, frightening batsmen with steep bounce and finding movement off the seam at the Waca, MCG and SCG. Built like an ogre, he performed like a prince.

Tim Bresnan - 8

Surprise package #2. He wasn't supposed to have the weapons to succeed at the highest level, but that brilliant spell at the MCG of three wickets for two runs in 18 balls after tea on the third day, including the prize wickets of Ponting and Hussey, proved the doubters wrong. Continued to pose a threat in the fifth Test, finding movement off the seam and keeping a wonderfully tight line, and gives the England attack tremendous strength in depth.

Andy Flower - 10

Appointed amid the ruins of the Pietersen-Moores regime, Flower has gradually remoulded this England team into the fittest, best-prepared and most unified side in memory. The batsmen delivered, the bowling plans worked and the fielding excelled. The squad selection was proved faultless, and the changes in personnel made during the series all came off a treat. Neither will he stop here: he has already set his targets on the World Cup and then the number one spot in the Test rankings. He may yet achieve both.

AUSTRALIA

Shane Watson - 6

435 runs is a fine return for an opening batsman, particularly in a team that's as consistently under the pump as this Australian side has been. Watson should be content. What will leave him unsatisfied is that he failed to play any innings that had a decisive effect on a match, and failed to build on so many good starts. He was also involved in three run-outs, all three of them utterly needless, and his bowling - 3-233 across the five matches - lacked any sort of menace.

Simon Katich - 5

If this was the end for Katich - and he refuses to throw in the towel, despite his advancing years - it was no sort of farewell. In the four innings before his Achilles problem ruled him out of the rest of the series he was averaging just 24, run out in that dramatic first over in Adelaide and sitting alone in the stands, far from his team-mates, for the rest of the day. If he was three years younger he would probably be Australia's next captain.

Ricky Ponting - 2

Could this Ashes series have been any worse for Ricky Ponting? Not in his most fevered nightmares could he have conjured up a total of just 113 runs, at an average of just 13. As the trot developed he looked a little unlucky to be getting out - nicking behind off his hip in Brisbane, seen off by one of the great slip catches in Perth by Paul Collingwood - but gradually the awful truth dawned: one the best batsmen of all time was on the slide. He wants to come back, and he wants to come back as captain; you'd say he had little chance, but who else is there?

Michael Clarke - 3

At his best a wonderful, free-flowing batsman, Clarke endured a miserable series. An average of just 21 would be bad enough for a number seven, let alone a number four and vice-captain, but it was the manner of many of his dismissals - wafting or pushing hard outside off - that was almost as bad. Given the captaincy after Ponting's finger injury to widespread dismay in the Aussie public, his young side was taken to the cleaners at the SCG. If he wasn't skipper, would his form be enough to keep him in the side?

Michael Hussey - 8

Australia's sole genuine success story. Had Hussey been dropped before the first Test, as so nearly happened, Australia could have lost this series 5-0. That might sound like an exaggeration, but remove his runs from the scorecards in Brisbane and Perth and then see what you think. Played beautifully in the first three Tests, showing excellent judgement outside off and driving and cutting beautifully; his relative failures in the final two Tests were the final nail in his country's coffin.

Michael Hussey

Marcus North - 2

Never popular with Australian supporters outside Western Australia, North managed just 49 runs at 16 in the first two Tests and found himself jettisoned after the thrashing in Adelaide. In some ways the timing was unfortunate - he prospers at the Waca, and at 31 years old and his state's captain he could have been an outside bet for national skipper. Steve Smith was also no improvement at six. Instead, he finds himself on the international scrapheap.

Brad Haddin - 7

Always a strong batsman, Haddin impressed with great self-control in his huge stand with Hussey at the Gabba and with attacking brio at times elsewhere. Played loose shots to get out in Melbourne and Sydney, but on both occasions he had been left in the lurch by his top order. Not the tidiest gloveman, but kept going throughout a monstrous 800 overs behind the timbers as his bowlers toiled.

Mitchell Johnson - 4

First the good news for Mitchell: he took 15 wickets, including a match-winning haul of eight on the hard bounce of the Waca, to end the series as Australia's leading wicket-taker. Now the bad news: those scalps cost him 554 runs. Everywhere but the Waca he was innocuous at best and, at worst, a liability. Scored twice as many half-centuries as his skipper Ponting, which was saying a lot less than it once was, and completed his final spell of the Ashes being mercilessly taunted by half the ground.

Xavier Doherty - 1

Brought in to be the left-armed spinner who would see off Kevin Pietersen, Doherty instead found himself another unfortunate entry on one of the longest lists in Australian cricket: spinners who have failed to replace Shane Warne. If it was bad in Brisbane, it was awful in Adelaide - a double ton for Pietersen, spell after barren spell and not a sniff of control. His Test figures? 3-306. Was he really better than Nathan Hauritz?

Peter Siddle - 6

Began with that sensational hat-trick on his birthday in Brisbane and bagged another six-for on his home ground at the MCG. In between it wasn't quite so pretty - he took just two other wickets - but at least he tried his heart out. Would he have got near an Australian side of old? Probably not. But when the cupboard is almost bare, a cheese sandwich sometimes has to suffice.

Ben Hilfenhaus - 3

Such a danger in English conditions during the Ashes of 2009, Hilfenhaus began the series with the prize scalp of the English skipper in his very first over. That was about as good as it got. Took just six more wickets in the rest of the series for an overall average of 59 and was probably relieved to have missed the mayhem in Adelaide. No English batsman feared facing him.

Ryan Harris - 7

Whole-hearted and dangerous in the right conditions, Harris was Australia's best bowler in Adelaide. That's a little like saying that Siobhan was the best singer in Bananarama, but still. Bowled beautifully during England's second innings in Perth, picking up 6-47 to blow a huge chunk in the top order, but then broke down with a stress fracture of the left ankle in Melbourne. Deserves another bite at Test cricket.

Doug Bollinger - 2

Australia's most effective bowler over the previous year, Bollinger never recovered full fitness nor momentum after being injured on the tour of India in October. Overlooked for Brisbane, he took the England skipper's wicket in his first over at Adelaide and then, in his captain's words, "hit the wall". His 1-130 ensured he would not get another chance in the series.

Phillip Hughes - 1

Picked when horribly out of form, Hughes convinced no-one in his six innings. 97 runs at an average 16 spells it out: his technique is still too flawed for him to succeed at Test level. Looked most settled in the second innings at Melbourne, only to be run out, but needs a major overhaul.

Steve Smith - 2

One day Smith might make a Test player, but not yet. Woefully out of his depth at number six, neither did he pose enough of a threat with his occasional leg-spin to be picked as a bowler, going 0-138 in the two matches where he was tossed the ball.

Usman Khawaja - 5

Brought in for his Test debut in difficult circumstances, he did enough in the first innings to suggest he has a Test future. Undone by clever bowling and field placement in the first innings, he found Anderson's swing too much in the second, fooled by a great out-swinger after a series of in-swingers. Give him time.

Michael Beer - 2

He was better than Xavier Doherty, but that's hardly praise. Went 1-112 on debut, having been denied Cook's wicket on just 46 by his own no-ball, after being left out in Perth and Melbourne despite the selectors initially insisting he would be picked. Will get another chance despite his lack of impact here.

Tim Nielsen - 3

Australia's players, with one notable exception, batted feebly. They bowled with less discipline and success and dropped more chances. The players originally selected struggled; those brought in to replace them generally did worse. Not all of this is the coach's fault. He can only work with the material he's given. But what he did do brought few results.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    ..... and Tom Fordyce 10 for great blogs, although comments sections have been rather spoiled by you know who and those who baited him

  • Comment number 2.

    I would like to second peterkirk1's rating for Tom Fordyce. The BBC website's coverage has been outstanding and enlivened many a Sky lunch break (Sir Beefy 1/10, Athers 8, Whispering Death 10 for the voice alone!)

    Even giving Cook a 10 seems harsh. His performance is amongst the best of all time. Anderson and Tremlett seem a point shy as well.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    To be honest, the only difference I would make would be to take Xavier from a 1 to a 0. He was dreadful. BUT, this could be a blessing in disguise for Nathan Hauritz. Hasn't taken any criticism for not featuring in the Tests, and it doesn't seem like there is any other spinners who come close to his bowling level.

  • Comment number 5.

    Having been there and suffered the last two tours watching and listening from a far has been hard but enjoyable. The Barmy Army get the result they deserve for persistence alone...

    Thanks to the bloggers and TMS for bringing the action closer to home.

    Just a shame the BBC missed the proverbial TV boat with the highlights...

    Looking forward (for a change) to the T20 thrash & ODI's

    Thanks Tom

  • Comment number 6.

    How on earth can you give Broad more than Collingwood?

    Broad did absolutely nothing in his two matches!!! At least Colly played all 5, took the most catches (even more than Brad Haddin) and bowled them crucial overs!

    Also Cook doesn't deserve 10 because of Perth. A 10 should mean a perfect tour where you score runs in every game.

    Anderson deserves 10

    Mine are here: http://jamesheneghan.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 7.

    if you're handing out 1's, 2's and 3's to ponting, hughes, clarke and co, then collingwood is going to need one as well. avereged 13 below ponting, hughes, clarke and north. time to go paul, good decision

  • Comment number 8.

    great ratings- canno't argue against any of them massively although i think hussey, watson and siddle i think you have been a bit harsh to but excellent blog tom and always been consistently good blogs since the first test

  • Comment number 9.

    "When the cupboard is almost bare, a cheese sandwich sometimes has to suffice." Marvellous! Fantastic blogs Mr Fordyce - they have complimented Aggers reviews perfectly, thank you! Can't quibble with anything here ratings wise. Bring on the World Cup!

  • Comment number 10.

    I know working within a 10 point system is difficult (so why use it, then?), but there are some anomalies here.

    Broad gets 7 for playing two Tests, getting two wickets but, crucially, giving away only 2 runs per over. Bresnan plays the same number of games, gives away a similar number of runs per over, but takes 9 wickets more.

    Conversely, Finn gives away over 4 an over but takes 14 wickets and yet gets the same 8 as Tremlett who gave away fewer runs per over and took 17 wickets in the same number of Tests...

    Seems Tom is falling over himself to big-up the ECB (and now BBC) blue-eyed boy, Broady.

    Anybody remember Broad actually played in the series now?

  • Comment number 11.

    Please don't link this blog to "Have Your Say"!! We don't want any of the fools from yesterday joining the debate again!

    I've really enjoyed the blogs this series and despite not agreeing with anything Shango writes, he did show himself to be a cricket fan yesterday compared to some of the idiots commenting on the other blog!

    Hussey and probably Siddle (1st and last tests) are the only Aussies who can take anything out of this series.

    Although winning the Ashes is a huge high for Collingwood to go out on, it's a shame that he didn't get more runs this series, still his last ball in test cricket took Hussey's wicket.

    All the batsman were superb and the thing i've enjoyed most about this series is that I never got really dispondent when we lost a wicket becuase there was always somebody who could come in and score runs almost up to number 11!

    The bowling was great as well and even though Swann didn't get the wickets he probably deserved I'm sure he will on the British pitches in the summer. One of the differences with the last tour is that we stayed relatively injury free and even the injury to Broad didn't weaken the squad. If we go back to 2006/07 and think how the injury to Simon Jones affected us its just another way we can see how far we've moved on.

    Anyway thanks again for the blogs and I'm sure I'll carry on reading the debate and waiting to see what pearls of wisdom our favourite contributor comes up with next!

  • Comment number 12.

    Agree with both posts 7 and 8. He may be retiring, and has done a great job for England in the past, but you don't judge a batsman on his fielding, so Collingwood on the basis of his average would only get a 3 for me.

    I think Broad should have got lower than Siddle as well, Broad didn't really perform to his best for his couple of tests while Siddle set up the game for Australia in Brisbane and was probably their biggest threat throughout the series, plus he managed to score more runs than most of his batsmen!

  • Comment number 13.

    Pretty much all in order Tom, although you are a wee bit harsh in some of the comments on the Aussies. Harris and Siddle can't be blamed for the fact there are no Waughs, McGraths, Lees or Gilchrists to supplant them anymore; while their team toiled - sorry, took a hell of a beating - they still came out with their heads held high.

    Cook should get an eleven.

  • Comment number 14.

    Peter Siddle 6, thats silly Siddle was by far the best australian behind Hussey and at least deserved a 8 or 9

  • Comment number 15.

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

  • Comment number 16.

    I'd lower Strauss' score by one (yeah he had a good average, but the rest of the batting, bar Colly, was great). Also lower Colly's to three (excellent in the field but he is picked as a batsmen, and he failed at that). Lower Broad's to 5 - very good containing role and a bit unlucky, but you need to get wickets at the end of the day. And Swann down to 6 - unhelpful conditions yes, but could have done with a few more wickets. Othewise spot Fordyce.

  • Comment number 17.

    Agree on the whole with all your ratings, Tom, but I would take another point away from Ponting for not having the courage to front up to the media at the ground on the final day of the Sydney test, leaving poor old Michael Clarke to try and explain away Australia's performance not just in that match, but throughout the series. the bulk of which was under Ponting's captaincy. He should have been man enough to be there at the end to take what would have been well-deserved flack. He has been an awesome batsman in his time, but a mediocre captain blessed with an outstanding team until recently, but surely his time is now done? If he can't even get any runs then the question has to be asked: "What is he good for?"

    Surely Prior, after that blistering batting display at Sydney, must now be back in contention for the One Day team?

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree pretty much with your England scores - I haven't got time to read the Aussie bit thoroughly but I glanced at the scores and I thought 6 for Siddle was pretty harsh. I think he deserves more than that for showing some real fight, which was sadly lacking from the Aussie team.
    Still can't believe it's all over. I'm looking forward to the next series already - I hope once again England can triumph, and that you'll be blogging us to victory. Cheers!

  • Comment number 19.

    Colly didn't have a great batting series as we know but crucial wickets and catches at important times so 5 is probably right.
    Being a little bit greedy I would only give strauss an 8. This is hard when you win by an innings three times but I did think that his tactics at times were a little bit "safe" particularly the Aus 1st inns in Perth and Sydney when we really should have gone for the throat, But hey that's a minor point.

    England played exceptionally well that cannot be denied and we deserved our victory but lets us not get overly carried away yet. Australia were very very poor.

    Flower is right England can get better and I can see us beating India in the summer albeit not by the same margin.

    Let us bask for the moment and then move on!

    Well done guys.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think you have been a bit generous to Bollinger - but at least he gave us plenty of jokes about his rug!

    Great blogs Tom throughout the series - we throughly enjoyed them.

    Here are our marks out of 10 for those that are intersted:

    Ashes 2010/11: England series marks out of 10 http://bit.ly/gDQdt7, Australia series marks out of 10 http://bit.ly/fgYaNE

  • Comment number 21.

    #15

    I'm just saying how can you give Broad more than Colly? That's saying Broad contributed more than him even though they took the same amount of wickets but yet Collingwood took 9 catches as well as resting the seamers with his overs.

    And don't say 'the other players couldn't look him in the eye' because they all respect him massively. He was one of the crucial members of the side, the centre of it. You heard what all the players said after the game. E.G Strauss said "its going to be a big loss to the side etc."

    Collingwood averages 52 against India/Pakistan/South Africa and Australia. That's pretty impressive don't you think and shows that he scores runs when it really matters.

  • Comment number 22.

    What makes this exercise difficult was that the England players all got better and better towards the end so I think it can be easy to be slightly over generous to England. I think with the exception of Cook, Anderson, Tremlett and Trott I'd take one mark off each of the England players.

    As for Aussies, probably about right for me apart from Doherty and Johnson who I'd give 0 and 1 to, respectively.

  • Comment number 23.

    For all you cricket fans, we need to enjoy the moment. England have beaten Australia in their own back yard for the first time in 24 years and we need to make the most of this moment. Just have a look at these jokes about Australia. They are fantastic! http://caf510.blogspot.com/2011/01/ashes-jokes.html

  • Comment number 24.

    England

    Strauss- 8
    Cook- 10
    Trott- 9
    Pietersen- 7
    Collingwood- 4
    Bell- 8
    Prior- 8
    Bresnan- 8
    Swann- 7
    Anderson- 9
    Tremlett- 8
    Finn- 7
    Broad- 3

    Australia

    Watson- 8
    Hughes- 3
    Ponting- 2
    Clarke- 3
    Hussey- 9
    Haddin- 7
    Smith- 5
    Johnson- 6
    Siddle- 7
    Hilfenhaus- 3
    Beer- 2
    Doherty- 1
    Bollinger- 1
    North- 2
    Khawaja- 3
    Harris- 6
    Katich- 2

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    @15

    I want to marry Shango

  • Comment number 27.

    #25

    hahahaha Yeah I bet they are so ashamed of him. I mean he's only gone and won the ashes 3 times, played 69 test matches averaging 40, led England to their first ever ICC world cup and taken some of the greatest catches of all time.

    They must be embarrassed!

  • Comment number 28.

    Yeah, the euphoria has carried over into protecting the rating of anyone with a blue cap, clearly Collingwood gets a 2/3 (then again he got an MBE for 17 runs a few years ago, so......).

    The other aspect is that if you rate the Australian bowlers so poorly (and I don't argue with that) isn't it worth putting some of the English batting into this context? If three guys can go home with massive averages and the Captain gets 40 doesn't that rather undermine your rating (which I acknowledge also reflects solid captaincy)?

  • Comment number 29.

    What a shot (post 24) - generally think you've got it spot on there. I think Johnson has to deserve at least a 6 as he, even more than Hussey, was the real difference in Perth. 2 for Beer looks a bit harsh - I thought he bowled OK, especially on debut in a fading, rudderless team.

  • Comment number 30.

    Stuart Broad getting injured was the turning point in the series. Totally overrated but it helps having Daddys influence to pull a few strings.

    I'd give him 10 for going home and getting replaced with a proper wicket taking bowler.

  • Comment number 31.

    Does this sound like a man who has let his country down? http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2010/dec/31/the-ashes-2010-11-paul-collingwood

  • Comment number 32.

    I was expecting your tour ratings to come out, so prepared my own beforehand for comparison. In general, my England ratings are lower, ie:

    Strauss: 8 (mainly for captaincy)
    Cook: 9 (great, but not perfect)
    Trott: 8
    Pietersen: 7 (one fantastic innings, others 'good')
    Collingwood: 5
    Bell: 7 (much like KP)
    Prior: 8 (for batting and w/k)
    Broad: 5
    Swann: 7 (did his job)
    Finn: 6 (nowhere near as good as Anderson)
    Anderson: 8
    Tremlett: 7
    Bresnan: 7 (you can't rate somebody just on surprise value!)

    What these ratings miss is that cricket is a team game and the real reason the series was won so convincingly is that we played much better than the Aussies as a team. Therefore:

    England: 9

    As for the Aussies, I'd plumped for:

    Watson: 6
    Katich: 5
    Ponting: 4
    Clarke: 4
    Hussey: 7
    North: 3
    Haddin: 6 (ie: 2 fewer than Prior)
    Johnson: 6 (won one match on his own and batted well sometimes)
    Doherty: 2
    Siddle: 6
    Hilfenhaus: 4
    Harris: 5 (you can't get points on this system just for trying!)
    Bollinger: 3
    Hughes: 4
    Smith: 4
    Khawaja: 5
    Beer: 4
    Nielsen: 3

    Australia: 4

  • Comment number 33.

    Tom I have really enjoyed your Blogs throughout the series. I agree with most of your ratings with two exceptions:

    1 I don't see Broad as any more than a 6
    2 For me Matt Prior is a 9, especially given that you rate Haddin as a 7. Prior missed one stumping chance in the entire series, had an average of 50, was absolutely magnificent with his glovework and was continually motivating and geeing up the whole England team (something which Justin Langer picked up on in one of his blogs). He also took 23 catches which I think is only 1 behind the record held by Alan Knott.

  • Comment number 34.

    Richard Halsall and David Saker get high marks for their role in this transformation.

    How much credit does Graham Gooch get? He doesn't seem to get much of a mention.

  • Comment number 35.

    I would have given Siddle more credit (maybe a 7). To be fair to the lad, he kept going and occasionally took clusters of wickets to give Australia half a chance. He also did much better with the bat than most Australians.

  • Comment number 36.

    If the future of Australian cricket really lies in the hands of the likes of Smith and Beer, they really are in trouble for the foreseeable future, and I can imagine England being able to thrash them for years to come.
    Despite the fact that England were consistently excellent (apart from at Perth) in almost every facet of the game and kept their foot on the throat ruthlessly for once, several Aussies needed no pressure on them at all to reveal that they simply do not have the necessary technique and skill to compete at this level.

    Ratings are good but Anderson deserves 10 and should have been joint man-of-the-series, as Beefy said.

  • Comment number 37.

    Tom, many thanks for making the Ashes even more memorable. Your blogs have been witty and enjoyable to read and have generally sparked some decent debate (one notable exception). Definitely 10/10 for you.

    Although some of your marks good be argued by a couple, I like the way you've justified them, unlike some others who have simply put numbers up with no reasoning.

  • Comment number 38.

    Good morning gentlemen, and a very good morning to Tom who must get top marks for these blogs. I have to agree with post 11 regarding the linking up to the HYS site, what a shambles they made of these excellent blogs with their attention seeking, self satisfying, doom and gloom, and in most cases, their uncalled for remarks, which left some of us genuine cricket lovers getting our replies to their taunting moderated. We (the genuine cricket lovers), wanted to have a good chat and exchange views with the friends we have met on here, but alas, through this hi-jacking of Tom's superb blogs, we were unable to have a good debate due to this invasion by what I can only describe as party poopers, they ruined what should have been a very enjoyable debate on here, but I suppose it takes all sorts to make a world. Anyway, if you are there soupbear, I did reply to your kind comments, much appreciated my friend, and hope to see you on here later. I hope that Colly does well in the one dayers and the T20, he has been a rock in the test team and will be missed, pity his batting form seems to have deserted him, I hope he gets it back. Brilliant win for England, the ozzies must be hurting to be defeated in their own back yard, especially by three innings defeats, I think a little salt in the wounds might be called for, they rubbed it into Englands wounds for 24 years. Let's hope we can enjoy a good debate today without those party poopers being allowed to join in (even PSAR/ROTS is better than those twerps).

  • Comment number 39.

    collingwood averaged about 10? and yet still managed to pull out a 5 which is about 4 marks too high.
    And an 8 cannot be given to someone who got dropped midway through the series i.e finn

  • Comment number 40.

    Not sure where Punter's 2 marks come from - did nothing with the bat, failed to galvanise a modest side (which is when it matters most) and periodically threw his teddy out the pram - the extended rant about the KP "catch" was a disgrace. He also nonsensically blocked the recall of Hauritz, if rumours are to be believed. A sorry end for a great player, worth no more than 1 for me. OTOH I think you've been a bit harsh on Watson and Siddle, bearing in mind that the former is a converted allrounder and the latter has had to carry a string of mediocrities in the Aussie attack. A point more for those two, I'd say.

    For England, more or less right IMO although Bresnan is probably worth more than a point more than Broad, and Prior maybe a 9 (what did he do wrong?). There's maybe a bit of a sympathy vote for Collingwood but that in itself reflects his esteem within and beyond the team.

    11/10 for the blogs though. Great stuff from start to finish.

  • Comment number 41.

    Totally agree with Sheepyyy, 39.

    Very generous on Colly. His fielding was great but his batting should carry most of the weight for his mark. Will definitely miss him from test cricket though.

    Definitely agree with 10 for Cook, you won't see many performances as incredible as that.

  • Comment number 42.

    Nice post Tom - I've enjoyed the blogs over the past few weeks so just a quick note to say thanks for the fan's view.

    Someone sent me the below article from before the series, which raised a few smiles - could it be someone with even less accuracy than PSAR?

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/cricket/reasons-why-poms-wont-win/story-e6frey50-1225955985591

  • Comment number 43.

    Broad should be a 5 if Collingwood is a 5. You can't rate Broad the same as Swann ! Even with a bonus BBC mark ...

    Tremlett and Bresnan are worthy of a 9 alongside Jimmy.

    Otherwise I'd agree with your England ratings. Can't be bothered to read the Aussie ones lol.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'd like to ask the question: How many runs would Cook have scored had Australia not been so bad as to deny him the opportunity to bat twice in 3 of the Tests?? Discuss...

  • Comment number 45.

    Much harder to score the bowlers than the batsmen for England. Mainly because they played 2-3 games except Anderson and Swann, at different stages of the series. Also no single stand out figures for an England bowler, instead performing well as a unit taking 3-4 wickets each in most innings. For that reason I'm inclined to agree with the scores as Tremlett and Bresnan performed at the business end. And Finn and Broad were involved in giving us the best start to a series in years. Possibly a point off Broad but that's splitting hairs.

    I think many are under-estimating the role Swann played in this series win. Every newspaper and website before the series said he was basically our only chance of winning. The Aussie groundsmen took note and prepared seamers wickets. The Aussie batsmen put a lot of effort in to not getting out to him. This meant that when he wasn't bowling they let their guard down a tad and couldn't resist a nibble at the balls outside off stump (Heneghan cPapa bShango if you will). He still took nearly as many wickets as the 'best' aussie bowler and his average compared to the aussies 'spinners' speaks volumes. Anderson was a joint Man of the Series for me.

    Those arguing for more points for Siddle just remember he performed in 2 out of 7 innings, at Brisbane and Melbourne. That England didn't need the other three innings says as much about the aussie bowlers as it does about the aussie batsmen. He was part of a bowling unit that conceded record after record. I agree he was a stand out for Australia but that's not saying a great deal.

    All in all, bring on India.

  • Comment number 46.

    spot on Tom. Maybe think Watson deserves higher as a 60 looks much better if it is followed by a 100 from 2,3 or 4. He almost always gave his team some sort of platform, they were just completely incapable of building on it.

  • Comment number 47.

    I was at the Gabba to see Broad crash the ball into Clarke's helmet early in his innings on day 2. Mysteriously thereafter Clarke didn't seem to relish coming forward to the faster bowlers and was frequently caught in the slips/gully/keeper playing from the crease. Funny that!
    I think you're spot on with Broad's score.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    Thanks for all your blogs Tom - excellent stuff, always interesting and well-informed.

    I agree with most of your England ratings, although like a few other posters I think Prior deserved a 9 (practically faultless keeping + averaged 50, higher than Strauss) and a rating of 5 for Collingwood is more than his performances on the field deserved... Also, I thought Tremlett deserved a 9 - to come in to such an important series and bowl so aggressively and effectively is deeply impressive.

    I'm looking forward to a few early nights now and catching up with a bit of sleep!

  • Comment number 50.

    Pietersen was the one slight disappointment for me. One major score, albeit a match-winning one, was a poor return for a player of his ability. His conversion rate of 50 to 100 is well down compared to start of his career and makes you wonder if his original declared love of stats and desire for personal records has passed by.

    Leaving out Hauritz was a truly strange decision to say the least and part understandable that he threw a wobbly and started selling off is kit...no doubt having just watched Australia's very own Ian Salisbury (Smith) throw down another long-hop.

    In terms of media coverage, I'd give Sky the top score at 9/10 with Channel 9 (based on the ITV4 highlights) 5/10 (and thats generous given their ridiculous bias. TMS on Sports Extra was once again top notch, with Vaughan outstanding.

  • Comment number 51.

    Some interesting comparisons:

    Finn 107-9-464-14, avg 33.6, econ 4.3, mark 8/10
    Johnson 136-22-554-15, avg 36.9, econ 4.1, mark 4/10

    Not sure that is fair on Johnson - he did win one match for his team.

    Interesting looking at a few other comparisons
    Siddle 147-28-484-14, avg 34.6, econ 3.3, mark 6/10
    Swann 219-43-597-15, avg 40.0, econ 2.7, mark 7/10

    Hussey 570 runs, avg 63.3, 2 x 100, 3 x 50, mark 8/10
    Trott 445 runs, avg 89.0, 2 x 100, 1 x 50, mark 9/10

    Prior 252 runs, avg 50.4, 1 x 100, 1 x 50, 23 catches, mark 8/10
    Haddin 360 runs, avg 45.0, 1 x 100, 3 x 50, 8 catches, mark 7/10

    Looking purely at runs Watson (435) did much better than Strauss (307) so maybe we are being a bit unfair giving him just a 6 too.

    Smith too, he got 159 runs at an average of 31.8 so a 2/10 mark is also a bit harsh!

  • Comment number 52.

    re: Prior. Has been better than ever this series, but Sangakkara is a better batsman and wicketkeeper.

  • Comment number 53.

    Very fair marks. Just think how good England will be when they bring in Woakes (for Collingwood or Bresnan). I saw him put Tremlett to the sword at the Rose Bowl in 2009 despite being a rookie who was supposed to be a specialist bowler. If he can do that and Tremlett worries the Aussies then we have our next world class all rounder.

  • Comment number 54.

    I agree with #1, 10 for Tom Fordyce, only things I've disagreed on all series are some of your ratings, but even then it's been by a point or two.

    I reckon Prior deserved 9, averaged over 50 taking 23 catches what more do you want from your keep? He only made 1 mistake behind the stumps (that missed stumping).

    Overall though your ratings are pretty good. Especially Flower's, I don't know how much influence he had on the preparation but it was perfect.

    My English ratings are towards the bottom:

    http://iradar666.blogspot.com/2011/01/aussie-bbq-cooked-in-our-own-backyard.html

  • Comment number 55.

    Pietersen is such a maverick. One of the best innings I've ever seen to get 237. Then never doing himself justice in the rest of the series. He could take a leaf out of Trott and Cook's books, then he'd be the compelte batsman.

    Have really enjoyed watching Bell this series. Quality batsman. Expecting him and Cook to become truly great batsman over the next few year.

  • Comment number 56.

    Don't understand Pietersen being marked the same as Broad.

    Thought Siddle's mark was a bit low.

    Enjoyed the blogs throughout the series.

  • Comment number 57.

    ROTS, how do you know the other players are are privately pleased Colly has gone? Are you in their confidence? And how do you know he's a horrible person? By whose account? All sources in the last few days, and indeed for years, have claimed he is a top bloke.

    Why do you hate him so much? Is it jealousy that someone who recognised his limitations and worked hard made it at the top? Has he slighted you in some way? Or are you just the type of person who likes to come on public forums and post nasty comments about others? If it's the latter then it's you who is the horrible person whose family should be ashamed.

    I know opinions are subjective but your comments on here are out of order. Maybe Colly hasn't been the best player but many professionals respect him as a cricketer and human being and have valued his contribution to the England team. I think I'll go on their informed judgements formed by first-hand experience of him as a player and person rather than the disgraceful, ill-informed and immature utterances formed by someone who has no such experience.

  • Comment number 58.

    Really enjoyed your blogs Tom, so 10/10 for those, it's created such a fantastic board for discussion (bar the culprit).

    Agree with the ratings, but think Anderson should be 10/10 also.

    Seriously exciting times for English Cricket!

  • Comment number 59.

    I was someone who was really worried when Broad got injured because I thought he bowled fast and accurately in his two games and was unlucky to pick up a few more wickets. That said, even I think that giving Broad the same mark as Swann is too generous. Swann managed to bowl economically and threateningly throughout the whole series even on pitches which offer very little for spin bowlers.

    For me Australia playing poorly and England playing superbly are two sides of the same coin. It's the perennial debate among sports fans. One side says they lost because their side was below par, the other side says they won because they were excellent. There's a huge crossover of these two positions. Both Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke have stressed that they do not take anything away from England's performance because they were completely outplayed.

    I agree in the main with the ratings although I'd nudge a few up and nudge a few down. I'm usually someone who gives perfect marks very very rarely but for Cook to get 766 only needing to bat 7 out of ten times warrants a 10/10. If it wasn't for the innnings defeats he would surely have got close to beating the all time series record.

    I'd give 8 to Strauss as even taking into account the captaincy his performance was just a notch below Trott. Also, although Collingwood's fielding and catching can often be worth 50 runs itself, he was in the side as batsman and as such should get no more than 4. I think Watson deserves a 7. Yes he consistently failed to make the big score Australia needed but he regularly got 40-50 runs at the top of order which, considering how testing England were with the new ball, deserves a 7 I think. The final thing I'd say is that 4/10 for Mitchell Johnson is a tad unfair considering he almost engineered Australia's sole victory on his own and without his 50's at the end of the innings their totals would have been even more embarrassing.

    Thanks for the excellent BBC coverage over the last month or so, I wouldn't have stayed up without it. Let's hope 2011 will be even better than 2010 for England cricket!

  • Comment number 60.

    I think that another key factor was the consistent picking of players for England. Look at the amount of England players compared to the amount of Australian players. Australia's batting was awful but the England bowlers were amazing. A few people are saying that Swann didn't play well but he was vital. Swann bowling meant that the fast bowlers ciould have a rest. Australia prepared the pitches so that it was harder top spin on but they didn't realise how good our fast bowlers were. Cook was amazing i thought that he should of been dropped before the series but thankfully he wasn't.

  • Comment number 61.

    shango, I have had a laugh at a lot of your posts, but I do think your last post was bang out of order.

  • Comment number 62.

    #27 - Totally agree with the Colly comments; yeah his runs weren't great in this series but he's averaged more than Hussain, Atherton and Stewart over his career and what he brings to the team in the field is priceless.

    Think you're being a bit harsh on Cook to say he doesn't deserve a 10 and Anderson does, surely they both do? 114-2 overall at Brisbane would surely count as much as a blemish. The marks should be given for the overall impact on the series and in that sense I would say they were both perfect.

  • Comment number 63.

    Tom Fordyce 11/10

    Trolls -1

  • Comment number 64.

    The Man of the Series debate is one I've been having with a friend over the last few days and I still have Anderson above Cook as Man of the Series. Consistency, pace, intelligence, and a great deal of work as the leader of the attack put Anderson above Cook for me. Yes, Cook scored a mass of runs but against a dismally poor attack (you could make the case that the Australians currently have the worse spin attack in the world and the seam attack is fairly one-dimensional bar the odd Big Mitch moment). Anderson took wickets against a batting line-up that still possessed some ability. As usual though, the batsman takes the plaudits. I've often thought that there should be a separate award of Batsman and Bowler of the Series.

  • Comment number 65.

    Can I echo how much your blog has complimented this ashes series for me Tom, many thanks. I think some of the England scores are a fraction generous as we bask in the warm afterglow and Colly's 5 has been balanced by a career reflection rather than as a series snapshot I'm sure, but fair enough and I will remember him - as batsman, as much for the beligerence of keeping KP company at the wicket in the final test of 2005 scoring ten runs as for the bigger albeit more technically ugly innings. Can I score Anderson at 9.9 on the basis that the only thing preventing a 10 is by impact comparison with Cook? And I would suggest that Siddle is under-scored and that his aggression and unflagging work-rate deserves more. The comparison of eras is unhelpful, and if Australia are to truly re-build the names McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist, Langer, Hayden, Lee and Ponting (as he looks set to be a historical figure) should be left alone as players develop and stake a claim

  • Comment number 66.

    7. At 10:04am on 08 Jan 2011, lwww wrote:
    if you're handing out 1's, 2's and 3's to ponting, hughes, clarke and co, then collingwood is going to need one as well. avereged 13 below ponting, hughes, clarke and north. time to go paul, good decision
    ----------------------

    A comment comparing England's ratings to Australia's ratings. You need to think about them in a team context, and also compared to expectations.

    Collingwood doesn't get many marks for his batting, but gains marks for fieldings. His failure with the bat didn't cause a team failure.

    Ponting, Clarke and Hughes etc get less marks for batting than Collinwood because Australia needed them to get runs and they failed. Their failures with the bats did cause a team failure, therefore they deserve several less points than Collingwood.

    Finn wasn't expected to be a big threat. But he took 14 wickets in 3 matches at a good average. His hauls were 6,0,1,2,2,3 - so consistent wickets, and he got every one of the Aussie top 6 except Smith. So he did far better than most imagined, so he deserves a 7 or 8.

    Johnson was expected to be the leader of the attack. In 3 out of 4 games, he was awful. His hauls were: 0,0,6,3,2,4 - but those last two innings were at the expense of many runs. He failed to lead the attack as England scored 500+ 4 times, therefore, despite being the match winner at Perth, he deserves a sub-5 mark.

    Hussey vs. Trott - remember that Hussey played 9 innings and Trott played 7 (and didn't get dismissed in two of them). Plus Hussey failed in the last two games when, as the in-form player, his team needed him (not that he should lose many marks for this, his team-mates should have stepped up).

    Watson vs. Strauss - firstly, Strauss gained points for his captaincy, so the 6 vs. 9 isn't purely on batting. On batting, it is probably 7 vs. 8, but Strauss gains for captaincy and Watson loses for run-outs. Secondly, Watson's failure to convert a 50 into a 100 ultimately held his team back, in Strauss case it did not. Also, Strauss' starts in the final two Tests, whilst only 60, helped England get of to fantastic starts as they raced past Australia's first innings totals.

    And a quick comment r.e. a perfect 10. Think about rounding. Cook scored a double-ton, two further centuries, scored 700+ runs, spent 36 hours at the crease and got two MotM awards. He had a near perfect series, so he probably deserved something like a 9.63 or whatever. Round that to 10. If you are going to say a 10 is only for perfection, then it will never get used because the perfect series performance doesn't exist.

  • Comment number 67.

    #52:

    Sangakkara doesn't actually play as wicketkeeper in Tests anymore but when he did he was the best wicketkeepr-batsmen of all time. Even better than Gilchrist. Gilchrist got 5000 runs @ 47 from 96 Tests. Sangakkara has 8000 runs @ 56 from 91 Tests. Amazing really that most people would name Gilchrist as the greatest wicketkeeper-batsmen.

    I think you'd say that MS Dhoni just shades it against Prior but it's close.

  • Comment number 68.

    13. Einveldi wrote:

    Cook should get an eleven.


    I think if I was to award an 11, I'd give it to Andy Flower.

  • Comment number 69.

    #57 mrbenn27, well said.

    I complained about the trolls posts #25 and #48
    as they were utterly vile - was so glad to have the moderators agree and remove them!

    Rather than feed her ego, the offensive posts should IMO immediately be referred to the mods to deprive their obvious attention seeking bile. Free speech and difference of opinion is great, but the troll seeks only to attack without reason or justification.

    I have otherwise enjoyed all of Tom's brilliant articles and am now addicted to all of the interesting comments/debate (bar one).

    Well done!

  • Comment number 70.

    Good blogs Tom, 10/10 from me too:)
    I would say though that Tremlett was NOT the man to replace Broad as the Perth test showed! What we ended up with was Bresnan for Broad and Tremlett for Finn.
    I would put Straus at 10. He shares all the glory of team selection and building a winning team. So often in the past the captain has ended up as a passanger perfomanace wise but an average of over 40 is a sound performance.
    I would also give Bresnan 9. He played the role of Broad in locking up one end with economical bowling but also took wickets and scored runs. Apart from a couple of spells against tail enders he performed consistently at a high level.
    I really don't see how Nielsen gets any points at all. The Australian fielding was abysmal, 1 inning in each of the tests they lost started with a run out, their morale was at an all time low. They performed as 11 individuals, not even the same 11. The chopping and changing of players made things worse and showed a complete lack of any idea of who should play or who can play.

  • Comment number 71.

    Very good ratings, only 2 to bump up could be Tremlett 9 (came in at series low point and took some vital wickets at key times), Watson 7 (Hardly a single failure and played some brilliant shots)

  • Comment number 72.

    Why do people keep harping on that 'you should not give tens out unless the guy scores a ton every game'? Cook scored over 700 runs in an away Ashes series. If someone scored over 500 they deserve a ten, never mind 700!

    And how does Smith get a higher mark than Clarke, Hilfenhaus, Beer, Kahwaja, North in one persons ratings? Although they didnt do very well (although thats rather harsh on Kahwaja), Clarke and North got *some* runs, Hilf and Beer got *a* wicket... while Smith did niether.

  • Comment number 73.

    Watson is an enigma and his score of 6 is absolutely on the money. Watched him at Hampshire a fair bit and liked him in what was an all-rounder's contribution in all competitions, so was a bit surprised to see him promoted to opener/second string bowler. But, he is almost guaranteed to walk out and get between 40 and 60, and if you have a partner doing the same and can readily post 80 to 120 for the first wicket, you do have a platform for a decent team score. His conversion of fifties to centuries will be currently low, but he might end his career with an average in the forties range that denotes a very good batsman. I would want to address the mental barriers that appear after he hits 50, but the team shouldn't demote him to the middle order, but should find the regular partner, assuming Katich won't return and that Hughes has been found wanting, who will help him regularly post 100-1.

    The main talking point for England post-Collingwood, is whether we look for a bright young thing to bat at 6 below Bell, or as I tend to think now that the batting is looking solid 1 to 5, and that we have Broad, Bresnan and to a slightly lesser extent Swann showing all-round ability, Prior bats at 6 (would the responsibility affect his ability to swashbuckle as per his 100 off 109 balls at Sydney?) and we extend the lower-middle order/tail....

  • Comment number 74.

    #72 - Smith had their 4th highest batting average behind Hussey Watson and Haddin

  • Comment number 75.

    Generous to Broad and Finn - a sympathy vote to Broad for being injured, I suspect. Our attack was much more potent when Tremlett came in for him. As I've said in a previous discussion, Broad is now fighting Bresnan for his place. Finn will come again, but at his age, looks far less the finished article than Tremlett.
    Some mean marks for the Australian bowlers, especially Siddle, Harris and Johnson. As ever, in a batsmen's game, I think you're making them carry the can for their batsmen's poor performances, rather than accepting that it was England's fine batting that made them look as ordinary as they did.
    Having said all that, I'm deeply suspicious of the ratings idea at all. The scorebooks and averages speak for themselves - other than a bit of fun, what value do we get from the arbitrary and subjective pinning of a number from 0 to 10 on these people?!

  • Comment number 76.

    I await with eager anticipation a justification of the 5/10 you gave Collingwood. Anyone?

    I've been a great fan of his over the years. His efforts is the field have set the standard and his concentration at the crease and determination to grind out runs has been admirable.

    But the marks you have awarded are for this Ashes series, and this series alone.

    On its own, 5/10 for a batsman who averaged under 15 is incredibly generous. When contrasted with 6/10 for Watson, it looks like an absolute joke.

  • Comment number 77.

    Re. the last two comments. Statistics are exactly the reason why the ratings are useful; because stats can prove anything (e.g. that 6 out of 7 dwarves are not Happy). The ratings give a true reflection of the overall performace during the series (again well done Tom). Yes, Colly didn't get a lot of runs, but he took plenty of key catches and brought something to the team that cannot be measured in numbers. Watson, on the other hand, although averaging just under 50, didn't convert 100, was responsible for 3 run outs and did not shine at all with the ball or particularly in the field.

  • Comment number 78.

    #76 - but he also took 2 wickets at a respectable 36.5 (as a part-timer) and 9 catches whereas Watson as an all rounder took just 3 wickets at 70 odd and also managed 3 run outs.
    Agree that Watson may be worth a 7 (think he gets a lot of stick for what he doesn't do rather than some praise for what he does) but I think Colly's worth a 5.

  • Comment number 79.

    Colly & Finn too high. Would bump Jimmy to 9.5, Tremlett to 8.5. Watson probably deserves a little more, but taking into consideration impact on the series with his culpability in the run outs might be fair. All conjecture really, but good fun.
    And echo the thanks to Tom for his well constructed and thought provoking articles.

  • Comment number 80.

    I couldn't possibly argue with Colly's efforts in the field. Once again he had a tremendous series in that respect. And I know that stats can't paint the whole story (for example, I saw some references to Alec Stewart's batting average being below 40 earlier in the thread...) but I can't escape the conclusion that a batsman is selected to make runs. If it hadn't been for the quite incredible success of the rest of the batting order, Colly's failures with the bat would have been more stark. So I still reckon 5/10, even taking into account his reliable part-time bowling and excellent fielding, is overly generous for a batsman who failed to post a notable score.

  • Comment number 81.

    75. At 12:46pm on 08 Jan 2011, revilotrebor1966 wrote:

    Some mean marks for the Australian bowlers, especially Siddle, Harris and Johnson. As ever, in a batsmen's game, I think you're making them carry the can for their batsmen's poor performances, rather than accepting that it was England's fine batting that made them look as ordinary as they did.

    Really?

    517-1
    620-5
    513ao (when the other side got 98 and 258)
    644ao - an ALL TIME english record in Australia!!

    There were only three other innings and they had no bearing on the outcome of the series.

    It's not like the aussie bowlers gave the batsmen a chance and they narrowly failed to get past the finishing line. Putting in a good performance once or twice in a series is what England used to do and they got hammered for it as the aussies are now. I think a few people have gone soft basking in the glow of a humiliating series win IN Australia.

  • Comment number 82.

    Even I have to agree 5 is a bit generous for the great man. Perhaps a touch of sentimentality creeping into your scoring there Tom?

    On his batting alone you'd struggle to give him 1. Yes, he's our best fielder but the whole team is now recognised as probably the best fielding side in the world. The catch of Punter probably being the only piece of fielding he did that wouldn't expect from the rest of the slips.

  • Comment number 83.

    25. At 10:48am on 08 Jan 2011, Return_of_THE_Shango wrote:
    #21 they would say that. But privately they are glad he has gone, he has brought shame on the country by not being good enough. I bet even his family are ashamed of him

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


    Are you still here? I thought you might have switched to a sport you understand. Tiddlywinks, perhaps, or rounders.

  • Comment number 84.

    Tom, sentimental 5 points for Colly, can't blame you, but wrong. Assume that England had lost the ashes instead of won and you would be saying that his form had cost England dearly, his marking should not be any different to Punter or Pup. Markings should be based on individual performance not coloured by whether the team wins.

    Not sure I agree wholly on Strauss assessment. A brilliant leader of men and with the ability to get everyone to buy into the programme, but his tactics in the field were at times poor. An example of this would be the field settings to Johnson in the first innings. At the end of the Aussie first innings the fact that they hauled themselves up to 280 odd was seen as important in the final outcome of the test and the series. You could also point at the fact that in the last test he got his bowlers at the wrong end on numerous occasions. The comment by Swann on tv (albeit with a smile) in the midst of yesterdays celebrations, was that as soon as Strauss let the bowlers have the fields they wanted then the bowling got better, did seem to suggest that not all had been sweetness and light. In summary, brilliant leadership, but at times could do better with field tactics.

  • Comment number 85.

    Check out my ratings and team of the series at http://jackbradshaw.blogspot.com/2011/01/ashes-ratings-england.html

  • Comment number 86.

    For Shango's predictions and FACTS, I give him a 0. Chocolate teapot springs to mind.

  • Comment number 87.

    Generally agree, think Khawaja was a bit generous though, spent most of his time at the crease trying to edge everything slightly outside off stump. The impression he left me with was that he was a wicket waiting to happen. Although it is early days for the lad, and harsh circumstances.

  • Comment number 88.

    One other thing I totally disagree with is your "cheese sandwich" assessment. I would be overjoyed with a cheese sandwich in a food cupboard, now if you said egg mayonnaise instead you would have had a valid point.

  • Comment number 89.

    as much as i'd love him to be Prior is not the best wicketkeeper batsman in test match cricket. Boucher and McCulullum for me

  • Comment number 90.

    "Harris was Australia's best bowler in Adelaide. That's a little like saying that Siobhan was the best singer in Bananarama"

    Nice one Tom - deserves cult status! I'm sure the BA could make something out of "Cruel Summer" in time for 2013.

  • Comment number 91.

    Agree with virtually all the rating except Broad - a 7 for failure with the bat and 'holding up an end' - not really good enough for a strike bowler. Dont get me wrong I am a huge fan of Broad but he cant have a 7 for what he did over those 2 matches.

    And at the risk of being a killjoy - an extra mark for commentating? Could we give Bollinger an extra mark for the rug or Ponting 2 extra marks for comedy value fo throwing his toys out of the pram again (like I said...killjoy!)

  • Comment number 92.

    Tom,

    First, thanks to you for all yor blogs, been really entertaining over the last couple of months. I might go so far to say that you should give Cook 11 and Anderson 10 as both have played out of their skins this tour, considering recent performances (Cook) and past nightmares in Oz (Anderson).

    I remember Cook getting 200 against Oz in 2005 and he is beginning to show why we all thought him cut out for success at the very highest level. However, let us not forget, the Kookaburra does not swing in Oz (unless England are bowling of course) and it will be interesting to see how he fares agaisnt Zaheer Khan in the summer with the Duke...

    Anderson I first saw on this tour 8 years ago and even then, Ricky Ponting no less, was singling him out for praise on his debut as one for the future. He has taken a while to fulfil that promise but now I do feel highly vindicated for championing his cause all these years whith people constantly doubting him or asking questions of his ability and mental toughness. If England need a wicket and/or control, it almost feels inevitable he will provide that breakthrough now. I still wish we could have seen a pace quartet of Harmison, Anderson, Jones and Flintoff all fit and firing but will be quite content with Anderson, Tremlett, Bresnan and Broad. Also, and quite crucially, David Saker has signed for another 3 years and his influence on this series with the bowlers has been very pervasive.

    Finally, Collingwood has been, I strongly believe, the best fielder in the world over the last decade and deserves mention with Colin Bland, Viv Richards and Jonty Rhodes in the pantheon of great fielders. How many superhuman catches has he pulled off, consistently and which, as the adage states, have won matches? He has never had the greatest or prettiest technique at test level but has got runs and thus been effective in the middle order. An underrated and great servant to English cricket.

  • Comment number 93.

    Interesting comment about Gilchrist v Sangakkara, both of whom were (are) very good players. But in making the comparison you cannot rely on pure stats. You have to take account of the (very) batting friendly pitches Sangakkara played on in the sub-continent. Still, I would not want to make the choice.
    As several have commented on the Broad v Bresnan choice at no 8, I come back again to Woakes who is better, younger and a real all rounder rather than a bowler who can get runs occasionally. Why do England find it so hard to introduce real youth (unless they play under the eyes of the powers at Lords?). One other thing; the BBC squad site shows Woakes as RM. If regular 85 mph is RM then I would hate to face an RFM. I suspect the speed rating is from a couple of seasons ago when he was more like 80 mph and still building strength.

  • Comment number 94.

    Do you people not realise that these sorts of things are OPINION and are supposed to lead to discussion and debate, with each person justifying theirs like we do down the pub, not trying to make yourself sound like you have superior intellect?! Jeez.

    Anyway, fantastic blogging Tommo, think they are about right, althought think Harris deserves an extra point, he was the only Aussie with any fight or guts!

  • Comment number 95.

    @Is there currently a better wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket?@

    I think the Indian Captain, MS Dhoni would slot in there nicely, no?

  • Comment number 96.

    #93 England do introduce real youth. Ali Cook was 21 on debut, Finn wasn't quite 21 as 2 recent examples. 21 year old cricketers ready for test cricket do not grow on trees. Woakes may well move forward into the test team and become a genuine all rounder but a 1st class average of 27 does not suggest he is a genuine all rounder just yet. He'd have to bat in the top 6 to claim that otherwise he goes into the Broad/Bresnan mold of bowlers who can bat.

  • Comment number 97.

    Yes, Harris did show a bit of fight and guts until his ankle went. Also Siddle showed some fight and guts with his snarling 'in your face' stride up to the batsmen,,, that is until he tried this threatening, snarling 'in your face' stuff with Matt Prior, Matt just said "OK mate, see you outside the ground afterwards", Siddle soon stopped the snarling, threatening 'in your face' stuff after that, well, at least with Matt Prior.

  • Comment number 98.

    Collingwood only 5? Less than some Ozzies? C'mon, he was probably better than any Ozzy.
    Cookie: Well, he reminds me of some old time rock'n'roll "Spinal Tap" guitarist: If only they could turn the amplifier up to 11 or 12, he would get it. He certainly deserves it.
    Well, that's my opinion.

  • Comment number 99.

    @ albion at #53 and #93.

    In a blog rating those good enough to have performed for their country in the Ashes, I am not sure how you can promote a player in Woakes with, at best, only a reasonable county record behind him.

    Both players you rate him above, Broad and Bresnan, have all round Test records which stand very solid scrutiny.

    Hopefully, Woakes will get the chance to play in some ODIs in the VB series, so that should give all of us a better idea of how he'd go on the international stage to compare him with his rivals.

  • Comment number 100.

    84. At 1:35pm on 08 Jan 2011, Bigglesof266 wrote:
    "Markings should be based on individual performance not coloured by whether the team wins."

    ---

    I disagree. Cricket is a team game. If a player's failure leads to a team failure, he should (in my opinion) be marked lower.

    So as I said earlier, Collingwood's failure didn't lead to a team failure because we scored 500+ 4 times. Punter/Clarke/Hughes/etc's individual failures led to a team failure (1 score above 310) and therefore did worse than Collingwood with the bat. Add in all the catches Collingwood took (only behind Prior in the series) and you end up with Colly a couple of marks ahead. So Colly deserves a 4, 5 at a push and the failed Aussie batsmen deserve less.

 

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