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Edgbaston ratings

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Oliver Brett | 18:04 UK time, Monday, 3 August 2009

These are my marks out of 10 for the 22 players who drew the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

ENGLAND

Andrew Strauss - 7. Another lovely innings from England's most in-form player, and in some of the hardest conditions of the match. Generally seemed to have the right people bowling, unlike his opposite number.

Alastair Cook - 3. In his very best form, would have probably left the delivery that he nicked behind. Will be keen to atone for that at Headingley.

Ravi Bopara - 4. Another frustrating innings in which he started nicely before an indeterminate defensive shot after tea cost him his wicket.

Ian Bell - 7. Had some luck along the way, but played an important role in building England's first-innings lead in his comeback Test.

Paul Collingwood - 3. Reached for a cover-drive in the final over before lunch when caution was paramount, and paid the penalty.

Matt Prior - 8. Absolutely cementing the wicketkeeping spot at the moment with solid glovework and positive batting. His stand with Flintoff gave England great hope.

Andrew Flintoff - 8. Simply his best innings for England since the great summer of four years ago. Lovely bowling on the final morning, but went unrewarded.

Stuart Broad - 6. Great batting when Australia's spirits were flagging on Sunday, but despite some encouraging signs on day five with the ball, he may find himself making way for Steve Harmison.

Graeme Swann - 5. Worryingly, he seems to be developing a habit for mixing in brilliant deliveries, such as tthe one which removed Ricky Ponting, with innocuous longer spells. Perhaps felt the pressure a bit on the last day.

James Anderson - 8. Australia lived through a horror film starring Jimmy A either side of lunch on Friday as vicious swing in both directions provided the Lancastrian with a memorable five-wicket haul.

Graham Onions - 8. Started England's amazing run of seven wickets in the morning session of Friday with wickets from first two deliveries of the day. Struggled when the pitch went flat on Monday.

AUSTRALIA

Shane Watson - 9. Mocked in some quarters as a non-viable top-six player, he was the revelation of the match with his batting. Might want to forget about the uncertain three-over spell with the ball, however.

Simon Katich - 5. Though outshone by his opening partner, the doughty left-hander gave Australia solid starts in each innings but was unable to go on and play a major innings.

Ricky Ponting - 3. Poor technique, rather than good bowling, cost him his wicket on each occasion - although he did become Australia's all-time leading Test run scorer during the match. Aussies desperately need the real Ponting at Headingley. Some curious choices with the bowling changes.

Michael Hussey - 7. Atoned for his golden duck in the first innings with a gutsy half-century on the final day - a key factor in Australia saving the match.

Michael Clarke - 9. Becoming a reliable presence in Australia's sometimes fragile middle order, and played the key innings to stave off defeat on Monday. His wicket is now the one England's bowlers most want.clarkemgetty595.jpg

Marcus North - 8. Had produced three disappointing innings in succession before he impressively helped Clarke suck England's victory ambitions dry on the final day.

Graham Manou - 6. Made a dramatic last-minute debut following Brad Haddin's finger break, but kept tidily. Cleaned up cheaply by Anderson at his best.

Mitchell Johnson - 6. Australia's patience has paid off, Mitch is just beginning to find his range and could be dangerous at Headingley.

Nathan Hauritz - 5. Bowled one lovely ball to deny Flintoff his century, but was not otherwise terribly taxing, much like Swann.

Peter Siddle - 6. Keeps on plugging away, keeps chipping in with wickets, but never bowls a game-turning spell. Will the Aussies keep picking him?

Ben Hilfenhaus - 7. Seemed to bowl throughout Sunday, and was rewarded for his efforts with four wickets in the England innings.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Perhaps slightly harsh on Broad, i thought he looked the most dangerous bowler today, as he produced alot of played and misses, also he would have had a third wicket had Clarke's off stump not had some sort of cement like properties when it was kissed by a beautiful ball. The Selectors should stick with him as he is definatley a big part of England's future with Flintoff retiring at the end of the series.

  • Comment number 2.

    hey i've read your blog and i can't understand how you have marked Shane Watson and Michael Clarke as nines and Graham Onions and James Anderson as eights? onions and anderson put england in a situation that they could have won the game, anderson takes 5 wickets in the first innings and you give him a eight how can you justify that! sorry but your wrong

  • Comment number 3.

    Mostly fair ratings there - although Watson was not a 9 and Bell was lucky to get a 7.

    Also, i've got to disagree that Strauss generally had the right people bowling - Anderson was cronically under-used today!

  • Comment number 4.

    I know it's not really score related, but I'd like to see this team line up at Headingley for England:

    Strauss
    Cook
    Bell
    Shah
    Collingwood
    Prior
    Broad/Flintoff
    Swann
    Onions
    Anderson
    Harmison

    Obviously, if Flintoff is fit, the Broad gets dropped, but if he isn't then Broad takes on the all-rounder position. good balanced team either way, and Headingley is usually a hard, fast wicket so Harmison can steeple some into the batsmen.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    How much more borrowed time will Collingwood be given?

  • Comment number 7.

    Long time reader, first time blogger...

    Just a quick note:

    Poor technique? Ricky Ponting? The same man who has just become Australia's highest run scorer in Tests? That's a very bold statement.

    Yes, he was out hooking. Yes, he was bowled through the gate. But to describe Ponting's batting as being technically deficient in some way seems a little harsh to me. Granted, they weren't the greatest shots he's ever played and that's why he was sent packing. But poor technique? I consider Ponting one of the most technically gifted batsman I have seen in my cricketing life (1984-).

    And sure, he has weaknesses early in his innings - some would offer his propensity to play across his front leg and fall over a little to the offside and hard hands at balls outside offas two cases in point - but doesn't everybody? Otherwise he'd be averaging 99.94 instead of his paltry tally of 11,000 at 58.

    By the way, I should point out I'm not a Ponting fan. And I am a Pommie. It just made me chuckle.

    Oh, and just to spark conversation, if an England batsman goes down crook, to use the Aussie vernacular, who's next in line?

    Moore? Key? Shah? Trott?




  • Comment number 8.

    #6..Collingwood being questioend again-are you serious?

    Good ratings-but Watson no way a 9 (joint MOM??!!). Decent batting but his bowling-although only 3 overs-was crucial in allowing the English batsman to get away.
    Still not impresed by any of the Australian bowlers-I think the English batsmen have got themselves out more this series.

  • Comment number 9.

    cant believe you gave bopara 4....what about that dropped catch and the amount of runs it cost? important time in the game was wasted because of it.

    then we got someone further down calling for the inclusion of shah?

    yes quite...his average in test cricket is 26.90...!

    and then we have the same blogger calling for harmisons inclusion!

    yes broads bowling was poor...but his batting was twice the innings of bopara and lets face it hate to say it but freddie hardly set the place on fire with his bowling did he?

    time to really look at somebody else to fill in the top order...bell should move to number 3 and perhaps prior should move up above collingwood, who lets face it is not exactly doing the biz is he?

    we need to be ruthless in our selection for headingley just like the australians were with hughes...and it appears to have worked because they will now they have escaped and perhaps earned themselves a little victory here!

  • Comment number 10.

    No 6, what is the matter with you?

    Paul Collingwood's record for England in the last 12 months:15 Tests, 1079 runs at an average of over 49, 4 centuries, 6 50s, no ducks.

    Are there actually any circumstances at all in which you won't consider him to be on borrowed time

  • Comment number 11.

    why is no one mentioning ryan sidebottom for headingly? leftie and swing plus that's where he learned his trade!

  • Comment number 12.


    10. At 7:30pm on 03 Aug 2009, EddieOnTheWing wrote:
    No 6, what is the matter with you?

    Paul Collingwood's record for England in the last 12 months:15 Tests, 1079 runs at an average of over 49, 4 centuries, 6 50s, no ducks.

    Are there actually any circumstances at all in which you won't consider him to be on borrowed time
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------






    oh give it a rest mr. aggressive!

    its just an opinion thats all!

    now take a chill pill and calm yourself...i am just saying hes not currently and i mean the word currently producing for england and lets not forget that it wasnt too long ago that he fighting to save his career when he got the memorable century.

    if you want him to play at no. 5 then fine...as long as it makes you happy!

  • Comment number 13.

    Funny peculiar english are you joking!!

    With 3 50's already to his name, and as one of the leading runscorers in the past calendar year, he is one englands most consistent perfomers.

    Coupled with his outstanding fielding, and clever bowling which i think should have been used rather than bopara's, there is no way he should be considered a candidate to be dropped

  • Comment number 14.

    As I thought would happen Australia held out, Clarke made a ton and he got good support. Wrong though about Ponting - he scored 5 more than I thought and England didn't get the chance to collapse. I really feel England should have been made to bat again. The Aussie mantra of always going for a win just didn't seem to be the case today. They may rue such a defensive move.

    Bopara, Cook and Broad were dreadful. We can't play anybody with a quarter of the team misfiring regularly. If anything, it heaps more pressure on the other guys.

    As I've said often before, with Australia bowling weak, we can take out batsmen at the expense of bowlers. If we had not had Cook or Bopara, but Harmison and Sidebottom, I think we would have had Australia on the ropes. With a weak bowling setup from Australia the lower-order will wag all day. Emphasis must be on bowling them out.

    Collys rating was unfair imo.

  • Comment number 15.

    13. At 7:48pm on 03 Aug 2009, tynecastlejambo wrote:
    Funny peculiar english are you joking!!

    With 3 50's already to his name, and as one of the leading runscorers in the past calendar year, he is one englands most consistent perfomers.

    Coupled with his outstanding fielding, and clever bowling which i think should have been used rather than bopara's, there is no way he should be considered a candidate to be dropped
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    sorry i cant see anywhere in my original post where i said collingwood should be dropped!

    i merely suggested that he could drop down the order one place!

    read again fella and you might see that!

  • Comment number 16.

    Sidebottom is a good call. If he does not take wickets-he still keeps it tight. He looks in good form with his county.If Broad & Harmison both play-that may lead to problems as both can be expensive.

    I wish some would give Swann a break. He has only played 10 tests (for 40 wickets which is good)and is still learning test cricket.He was a match winner at Lord's and bowls some beautiful deliveries. Today it did not happen. It seems like he needs to learn to bowl long spells. He seems far more effective in shorter spells.

    England should have no fear with the Australian attack-it is embarassing that Johnson has become a change bowler. I reckon only Stuart Clark can turn it aroound for them.

  • Comment number 17.

    Re: Collingwood-not to mention he saved the first test....

  • Comment number 18.

    The dicey stop pretending that you're the smart guy because you're not.


    We need to drop Broad, Bopara and Cook and replace them with Harmison, Shah and Denly.

  • Comment number 19.

    thedicey

    Are you saying he hasnt performed in this current series? This is the man that pretty much saved us from defeat in the 1st test. But yeah he isnt performing currently, compared to Broad, Bopara and Cook.

    Harmison/Sidebottom in for Broad next test. We don't really have anyone to replace Bopara.

    As for marks all correct except:

    Anderson 9 instead of 8
    Watson 7 instead of 9
    and
    Clarke 8 instead of 9.

  • Comment number 20.

    if harmy had colly's attitude he'd be in the mcgrath level but he's too tempramental. colly's not the problem. main concerns are #3 (bopara or bell), fourth bowler (broad) and another spinner if we ever get a turning wicket.

  • Comment number 21.

    cook 3, strauss 6 (decent knock but uninspired captaincy again, bopara 3, bell 5 (51 but lucky to get so far and got out again after half century), colly 2 (if KP had played that shot in the last over before lunch aggers, cmj et al would have never shut up about it all match and gordon brown would probably have made a statement - i recall colly got out slogging in the 1st innings at lords but he's a 'hard northerner so that's all right, prior 7 (man of match for england but a 40+ isnt enough, a number 6 needs to get double that), flintoff 6 (good knock against friendly bowling but no wickets) broad 5 (good knock yesterday but does strauss trust his bowling? dont forget harmy got 49 against the saffers last summer as well as blasting out their top order), swann 4 (2 wickets and 1 great over does not hide a poor performance today - hauritz looks better to me in terms of flight and variation. if he cant hack the pressure get someone in who can), anderson 6 (good first innings, poor second and too much lip, stick to bowling son), onions 6 (decent spell on friday but innocuous for the rest)

    headingly team: cook, strauss, ramps, bell, colly, bopara, prior, flintoff, rashid, anderson, harmison.

    lets be open and honest and admit we're playing for 2 draws now and pile up 600+ at leeds and the oval. colly and bopara can take broad's share of the overs.

  • Comment number 22.

    i hope that everyone is now happy with prior - surely he has done enough to silence his harsh critics with his consistent glovework this summer and fine batting.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm quite astonished about how easily people are satisfied with fairly average England performances against an under-performing Australian team.

    Since when was a 50 a great achievement in test cricket? Nice knock Ian Bell but just satisfactory. I did see Strauss on Sky drooling over Prior's - wait for it - 41 ! And, sorry, I agree with those who believe that an England No 5 getting a 50 now and then really isn't good enough.

    As for the bowlers - today rather showed them up. Oh dear, it's not swinging. Can't get wickets then. Wouldn't give any of them more than a rating of 5.

  • Comment number 24.

    England score 67
    Australia score 71

    Lay off the crackpipe

  • Comment number 25.

    18. At 8:23pm on 03 Aug 2009, Torres' right peg wrote:
    The dicey stop pretending that you're the smart guy because you're not.


    We need to drop Broad, Bopara and Cook and replace them with Harmison, Shah and Denly.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    judge me how u want fella if it make you feel better!

    so perhaps you could tell us all how smart it would be to pick owais shah whose current test figures are as follows:

    Test Average - 26.90

    Centuries - nil

    half centuries - 2

    just the sort of player we need in the team!

  • Comment number 26.

    i find it a shame that ponting has lost his form from the first test, but i am sure he will improve. You have to give credit to Michael Clarke as i honestly thought australia had too much to do but he rescued them in style. Unfortunately the potential i saw in bhopara has gone out the window, and he just does not have the quality to even take any credit from the success of winning the ashes.

  • Comment number 27.

    thedicey, if you read the start of my comment you would see it is not directed at you at all, but at the blogger called funnypeculiarenglish.

    read again fella and you might see that!

  • Comment number 28.

    kp number 1, Anderson 6 for six wickets and a stunning catch, are you mad??????????????
    Onions 6 for 5 wickets in the match, you're very hard to please!

  • Comment number 29.

    just looked at the bowling stats for england: flintoff avg 48, swann and broad 57! broad and swann are going at 3.5 per over so are neither penetrating nor containing. the aussies much maligned 'fab 4' have taken 40 wickets the same as our 6 bowlers combined. lets face it, one of the reasons we won at lords was because of the bizarre umpiring that cost the aussies at least 3 wickets: ponting, hughes and hussey.

  • Comment number 30.

    Guys guys cool it! Remember it is our Aussie friends with all the problems at the moment. And some people are suggesting 3 changes for Headingly! Minimal changes for England really would be preferable. I like Sidders - he has been a reliable performer for England. I would much prefer him in the side to Harmy if there had to be a change.

  • Comment number 31.

    Always good to see the Denly fans out. Well done chaps. Now if the boy could actually do something worthy of the praise, I'd be happy...

    Oliver, I think I said on one of your other blogs that Clarke's innings at Lords, although ultimately fruitless in terms of winning or saving the game for Australia, also signified the point when the captaincy mantle really changed hands. Ponting was a miserable chap at Lords. Clarke stood up and tried to be counted. Here at Edgbaston, Clarke has done the same. Whatever happens in this Ashes series, each Test reinforces my belief that Ponting will step down as captain.

    It is the right time for Clarke to take the captaincy slot. He's looked very good in every Test match this summer. The looseness to his game we saw in 2005 has been replaced with something tougher. The shot he got out to in the first innings here was a surprise and more like the old Clarke. That he then comes back with a quality knock today shows how much improved he is. Cook and Bopara should both look at Clarke and copy what he has done. Both the England lads have been out to very soft dismissals this series. Clarke proves that you can retain an expansive and stylish game and combine that with tight defence (Bopara, please take note: attack is great but ultimately worthless if you play back foot defensive shots with all the solidity of a tent made of lavatory paper on the third day of Glastonbury).

    Shane Watson's success with the bat and failure with the ball was no surprise. In the World T20, he looked like a man struggling with yet another change of action. Seeing him warm up at Cardiff and bowling off a couple of paces was painful. Cricket Australia need to get away from this all-rounder obsession. Watson is a seriously good batsman, as his first-class average suggests. By trying to get him to bowl as a legitimate first-change bowler, Australia risk losing a very good batsman. It's far better for Watson to excel at one discipline than to spend half the year out on the treatment table trying to be good at two.

    Australia have to seriously consider their team line up now. Hussey has got runs but still looks the weakest of the top order batsman. As it seems the spin options from the part-timers was just idle talk and never going to be a major force, then you've got to think Australia need five bowlers. Watson isn't going to be that fifth bowler so you've got two options to my mind:

    -Go in with six batsman and drop Hauritz and Siddle, bringing in Clark and Lee.

    -Keep Hauritz, drop Siddle and one batsman, bring in Clark and Lee.

    Australia have been outbatted in the last two Tests not because their batsman are right out of form but due to a lack of incisive bowling. Siddle has been a huge disappointment. All the batsmen make a case for themselves at the minute. Watson has scored runs, Katich dependable, Ponting and Clarke pick themselves, and North has scored good runs. As much as I like him, I'd drop Hussey before dropping North.

  • Comment number 32.

    27. At 9:00pm on 03 Aug 2009, tynecastlejambo wrote:
    thedicey, if you read the start of my comment you would see it is not directed at you at all, but at the blogger called funnypeculiarenglish.

    read again fella and you might see that!

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

    thanks for pointing that out to me....i will get my coat then!

  • Comment number 33.

    thirdwoman is very astute -- the aussies would love us to amke wholesale changes and bring in rookies or unproven players. one thing we need to address is the bowling coach. we eem to get fixated on a pre-determined strategy for a player and not adapt. we have only had bowling success when assisted by the pitch or weather. the bowlers' coach needs to help them to bowl better on a good wicket and not give away 4-6 runs an over. at cardiff we didn't bat long enough and then allowed the aussies to rack up a huge total on a good track -- same as last two sessions today. need to tighten up the bowling a lot. hopefully headingly will suit our seamers.

  • Comment number 34.

    What is it with those brainless critics of Paul Collingwood? So far in the current series he has scored 221 runs in five innings. This makes him the 2nd highest scorer of our top six batsmen. Only Strauss has scored more runs. Added to which he is arguably one of the best fielders in the world. What does the poor guy have to do to convince the oafs?

  • Comment number 35.

    And on the subject of bowling coaches, to whom did Freddie give credit for his Lords performance?

  • Comment number 36.

    I give the England team a big thumbs-up. This match was extremely unlikely to produce anything other than a draw - only 3 days and a bit -and so it proved. England are still 1-0 up and they shouldn't make big changes but should learn that Australia never roll over and die in any circumstances. But the ones who are talking up a draw are Australia - it 's a big deal for them, as they've been under the cosh for much of this series and it also makes me think of the scenes of ecstasy at Old Trafford when Australia secured a draw. Who'd have thought it?

    Thirdwoman - agree, don't change things for the sake of it. However, I would bring Harmison in as he's got yet another haul of wickets for Durham today and he would support his mate Freddie Flintoff through thick and thin. I think we need him to replace Stuart Broad who I think will be a great bowler/batsman of the future - he is the real deal in so many ways but not quite yet and not in this series - despite his excellent batting yesterday. As Boycott so often says, they've got to get wickets, and England need to win this series by getting wickets which Broad isn't really doing at present.

    CliveofAmerica - you're forgetting Flintoff waving towards the bowling coach at Lord's - he and Freddie worked out the plan of a full delivery followed by a short one, and the plan got a wicket.

  • Comment number 37.

    Why on earth are people suggesting we drop Broad? He hasn't done anything wrong yet, or am I missing something here? He's taken consistent wickets in games, and in one innings of this match he wasn't thrown the ball until the 50th over, what do you expect him to do with it then? If no-one else has got it to do anything in 50 overs, it's highly unlikely that he will either.

    I thought it was back in the 90's that people who had done nothing wrong would get dropped just because they hadn't set the world alight. We need to remember that we are 1-0 up in the series with 2 to play. We are not the ones with the huge problems in the squad. Our batsmen need to knuckle down and concentrate more, but that's a mental thing. If we're going to criticise batsmen for getting out to silly shots, then why then go on to suggest that one of the most solid batsmen we have, Collingwood, should be dropped. There is a clear lack of logic in there, on the one hand to say that the batsmen are out swiping at balls they could leave happily, then on the other mock our toughest batsman mentally.

    Cook looks badly out of form right now, but should be persevered with. The same applies to Bopara. Bopara is like Ian Bell in a lot of respects in that he has all the technique and ability he needs to be a very good batsman, but that he gets himself out more often than the bowler gets him, and that's a mentality issue. It's about time the batsmen regarded their wickets as highly and of as much value as they are. But again, wholesale changes do not teach anyone anything. Patience and guiding is the name of the game. Look at the Aussie teams of the recent past and you will see players persevered with until the management decides that they just will not learn. That is when the axe comes out, not before then.

    If there is an injury or selection issue, then to me it should be Key that comes in. He is one of the few English batsmen that the Aussies respect for how he stands up to them. He would be able to open the innings, giving Strauss a right-handed and experienced partner, both in terms of his batting and in captaincy experience at Kent and the England Lions. That would allow Cook to come in at 3 and have more time to prepare for his innings. KP at 4, and the rest of the order would follow naturally depending on who was injured. Shah already looks like a very nervous starter to his innings, throw him into the Ashes and I don't think he would cope at all well.

    As for the Australians, looking ahead to the next test, pace and control are going to be the main elements at Headingley, however, I would be tempted to keep Hauritz, because he has done nothing wrong and even has exceeded expectations so far. He also provides a change in an otherwise all pace attack.

    I would be very nervous as Ricky Ponting every time Watson runs in to bowl given his injury record, so I would tell him to stick to his batting and fielding duties for now, and we'll look at bowling after he's had a few games behind him. I would also say that Hilfenhaus has looked their most dangerous seamer so far, so I would keep him in too. That leaves Johnson, who seems to have the faith of the selectors for now, and I would keep him too given that he improved at Edgbaston and is a match-winner when he gets it together.

    The other bowler is Siddle, who has tried hard, but has been largely ineffective, and so I would drop him in favour of Lee. Even though Lee hasn't had much past success in England and he is an injury doubt, his return would undoubtedly be a huge lift to the whole Aussie squad, something Clark can't claim to do, however metronomic and reliable he is.

  • Comment number 38.

    The problem people have with Collingwood, or at least, the slight problem I've always had with him, is that he doesn't look like a test match class batsman. To me he always looks slightly out of his depth and I've never seen him bat in a test match when he looked like he was comfortable and bossing the bowlers. I can't think of another batsman in a major test playing nation who never seems to look particularly "in the zone" and has had such a long stay in the test line up. Time after time he goes through long lean spells and then puts in one or two innings which rescue his place for the next couple of series.

    It's a tricky one-I certainly think there's no case for dropping him now. He's just not a player I have ever felt can really impose himself on a match-what they used to call a bits and pieces player (possibly slightly harsh assessment, I confess).

    And it's not even just that I don't really like the "nurdler" style of batsman-it's entirely possible to not hit especially big shots and look like you're completely on top of the bowling and rack up runs at a rate of knots playing classy shots-Graham Thorpe and, to a certain extent Strauss, to name but 2. Collingwood just never inspires great confidence in me.

    That said, the form he appears to be in now, no matter how much he looks like getting out all the time, he doesn't seem to be and if England are 50-3, fourth innings at the Oval and still 1-0 up, I can think of many worse people to be walking to the wicket to save the game than Paul Collingwood.

  • Comment number 39.

    to: thedicey,

    I don't understand how you could be calling for Collingwood to be dropped. He saved us in cardiff and gave a handy 50 at Lords and you want to drop him, I can't believe it. He is one of our most consistent batsmen along with Strauss and Pieterson. Not to mention the fact that he is easily our best fieldsman. If anyone is to be dropped it would surely be Bopara who looks nervous at being in an Ashes series. I'd promote Collingwood not drop him. You are entitled to your opinion but on this occasion your statement is unjustified.

  • Comment number 40.

    OneDayRemains:

    Actually the Australian model hasn't been to persevere with players until the selectors have decided if they can learn or not. The axe has often been the thing that has given a player the impetus to go on and become a better player in the state game and to then return to the side. Simon Katich got the axe and came back a better player. Martyn, Hayden, Langer, even Clarke was dropped for a while.

    As I said above, what Bopara in particular should do is study Michael Clarke. The guy's defence is so much tighter than it was four years ago. In 2005, he didn't look like he knew where his off stump was. Now he looks really solid and has been the best Australian batsman on show this tour. The tightening up of his defensive technique has not been at the expense of his strokeplay. He still bats as beautifully as any right hander I can think of for a long time.


    Look at the Aussie teams of the recent past and you will see players persevered with until the management decides that they just will not learn. That is when the axe comes out, not before then.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm glad someone is finally picking up on Bopara's impotence with the bat. Worst of all he doesn't even look bothered at letting the side down. An Ashes average of about 15 is not good enough for a Batsman. If Anderson, Broad and Flintoff can pile the runs on, Cook, Bopara and to some extent Collingwood might benefit from these guys as mentors!

    Also, am I the only one who feels like draws are a colossal waste of time? If 5 days don't distinguish a winner, what's the harm in dipping into day 6 to give the deserved team their reward?

  • Comment number 42.

    Who are you to comment on Ricky Ponting's technique? Who have you captained buddy? You're talking about the captain of Australia, highest Australian run getter in history. No wonder the crowds attitude towards Ponting is disgraceful with nobodies like you writing this garbage.

    Did you see the shot the England captain got out to?

  • Comment number 43.

    Generally fair marking, but I would switch the scores for Bopara and Cook. Partly because Cook was out to the wrong shot whereas Bopara was out to the sort of shot I would make! Test number threes simply should have better technique than to offer the enormous defensive gate he left open. Also, Bopara dropped a sitter whereas Cook's fielding was unspectacular but tidy. Dropping Broad would be harsh; he's a much better bat than Harmison and bowled well given that it was a pretty flat wicket for most of the Aussie innings. Even Flintoff lacked penetration on it. Overall, a draw was a fair result for an exciting match truncated by so much by rain.

  • Comment number 44.

    borrowed time hmm more fifties then bopara and pietersen this ashes put together, a fair few hundred's recently and a rather stable number 5, to say on borrowed is kinda silly and quite stupid imo

  • Comment number 45.

    England

    Andrew Strauss: 7 - Another captain's knock in the 1st innings, by England's rock. Made some good bowling changes which picked up key wickets in both innings. Went a bit flat in the 2nd innings and will be wondering how different it could have been had he held onto that chance from Clarke. That would have had them at effectively 80-5 with Manou arriving at the wicket.

    Alistair Cook: 3 - Fishing outside the off stump again. Unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to atone for that with a knock in the 2nd innings.

    Ravi Bopara: 4 - You have to give him something, Mr Consistent this series so far. 20 or so runs and then out to a lazy/sloppy shot. Got to work on his concentration. Under the microscope but I would persist with him throughout the series.

    Ian Bell: 6 - Very lucky to get away with a plumb LBW decision off Johnston's bowling and a couple more close ones (inside edge and one just going over, despite Warney's protests). Took his chances and compiled a valuable 53 in testing conditions on his comeback. Solid and dependable in the field. On pure hard facts, he justified his inclusion as KP's replacement. Hopefully will take some confidence forwards.

    Paul Collingwood: 5 - Out to a sloppy shot in swinging conditions. Clearly trying to force the pace, but maybe the over before lunch wasn't the perfect timing. Solid as ever in the field.

    Matt Prior: 8 - Great display behind the stumps again and is clearly making the spot his own. Some very valuable and quick runs in a good partnership with Freddie, which turned the momentum of the match in England's favour. Ugly shot to get out to but sacrificed himself for the chance of quick runs and a potential victory.

    Andrew Flintoff: 8 - Looked in great touch with the bat and showed Watson he is not quite ready to be a front line test bowler. Deserved a century, before getting out in bizzare circumstances. Bowled way too short in the 1st innings however tried his heart out with the ball in the 2nd innings and was mm's from getting Hussey on a number of occassions. Real concerns about his fitness for Headingly.

    Stuart Broad: 7 - Good performance with the bat at the end and got a deserved half century, whilst upsetting both Johnston and Siddle. Picked up 2 wickets in the 2nd innings when nobody else could.

    Graeme Swann: 7 - Another valuable contribution with the bat and another man who clearly upsets the Aussie bowlers when he is in. Hit and miss with the ball again though. Bowled well to get Katich and Punter, but far too many half volleys and full tosses thrown in as well.

    Jimmy Anderson: 8 - His bowling in the 1st innings was immense. Totally destroyed a good batting line up. 6 wickets for the match, a stunning one handed catch, impressive in the field and still no quacks in 52. Gave England a sniff of victory, but strangely couldn't get the ball to swing again on the last day.

    Graeme Onions: 8 - Proved many wrong with his inclusion above Harmison. Quality swing bowling in the 1st innings and has now picked up 8 wickets in his 2 tests this series. Turned the tide Englands way with 2 in 2 on day 2. Finished with 5 wickets for the match and has still not lost his wicket with bat in hand either.


    Australia

    Simon Katich: 6 - Another gritty display with the bat. Got away with an LBW shout early in the 1st innings and went on to score some valuable runs.

    Shane Watson: 8 - A surprise inclusion to many (me included), but took his opportunity well with half centuries in both innings. England clearly got their bowling plans wrong to him and need to be better prepared for the rest of the series. Showed he isn't quite ready for test bowling and was rusty with ball in hand.

    Ricky Ponting: 3 - Another disappointing few days for the Punter. Looked very scratchy with the bat in both innings and less than impressive / poor with his captaincy again. (2-1 to Strauss on that score). Rescued by his no.2 again. Did he miss a trick at the end by sending the English batsmen back in for a nervous 30 overs and 200 runs to get? I don't think it would have produced a result but it would have turned the screws again and built some real momentum for Headingly.

    Michael Hussey: 6 - Quite possibly saved his place in the side with a half century in the second innings. Difference between success and failure at the elite level is truly mms. Could easily have had a king pair had Onions got to the ball late on day 4 and Freddie was mm's from getting his edge on at least 6 occassions. Solid knock in the end though and produced some valuable runs.

    Michael Clarke: 9 - Mr Dependable and for me the man of the match. Has produced consistently throughout this series, stands up when his team needs him and deservedly tops the runs scored and averages. Clearly the next Aussie Captain. Just waiting for Punter to make that decision now.

    Marcus North: 8 - Another player who must have felt under immense pressure to produce the goods again coming into the 2nd innings (after a fantastic knock at Cardiff, then a series of failures). Looked totally at ease and fully deserved a century. Surely a certain starter for Headingly now. Stands 2nd only to Clarke in the Aussie scoring charts. Played his part in the catch of the series so far as well.

    Graham Manou: 5 - Thrown in at the deep end at the last minute. Kept much better than Haddin behind the stumps. Certainly won't threaten Haddin's position with his batting display though.

    Mitchell Johnston: 6 - Much better bowling from MJ with the old ball and looked to be getting some of his rhythm back. Looked like his radar was going off again when thrown the new ball and his bowling and figures noticeably suffered when his mind switched to starting fights with any and every English batsman that looked his way. Ended with unimpressive figures again.

    Nathan Hauritz: 5 - Most ineffectual game of the series for the surprise package of the tour. Some valuable runs with the bat late down the order though.

    Peter Siddle: 6 - What a frustrating bowler. Bowls some superb, aggressive deliveries and gets in amongst the wickets again. Surrounded by some real dross as well though. Looks like he tries too hard to take a wicket with every single delivery and ends up providing some lovely 4 balls. Will probably make way for Lee or Clark at Headingly.

    Ben Hilfenhous: 8 - The stand out performer for the Aussie bowlers yet again. Mr consistent and has the best bowling figures in either side (series so far). Another 4 wicket haul, surely his 1st 5 for isn't too far away. A valuable contribution with the bat as well.

    Overall
    England 70/100
    Australia 70/100

  • Comment number 46.

    I am again bemused by some posters questioning either Colly's batting position or indeed his place in the team!!! He may not be the most stylish of batters around but he does the job consistently.

    Broad was low on confidence but that 55 knock gave him that extra lift that he needed and he was bowling very well yesterday. I feel that the coaches are trying to turn him into the new Flintoff before Flintoff has retired and there is no room in this team for two allrounders. The coaches need to either say that he s a bowler that can bat a bit and support him more with his bowling or that he is a batter that can bowl a bit. He is not quite mature enough to do both just yet but he will get there.

    I dont think that Harmy or Ramps is the answer either. Sidebottom would be my choice to come in at the expense of either Broad or Flintoff.

  • Comment number 47.

    Some Australian perspective:

    Firstly, it goes to show how much being in love with someone blinds you somewhat. Siddle is disappointing, but Freddie not? 3/89 vs 0/93. A small snapshot version of Freddie's career stats really.

    Poking fun actually - Fred's a champion. Trouble is, only every now and then. Not nearly enough to be assuming Jesus poses IMO. But still, Australians fear him...and there's very few of those players in the English team.

    For those defending various English players, here's how I think Australians view each of them (critical comments, because there's enough fawning from the other commenters here):

    Strauss: Absolute talent. Seems to finally have his head and technique right, and I think is the big wicket for Australia in the first 6 batsmen.

    Cook: Could be anything, has loads of talent. But either is weak psychologically, or unable to rectify faults that opposition teams have identified. Or both. Will struggle until he's more solid.

    Bopara: Runs against the modern Windies do not a #3 make. Has a good eye, but I'd say the Australians fancy their chances every ball. Looooong way to go to be considered test class.

    Bell: Probably the most naturally talented batsman in the English side. Shame he has small-man sydrome, and wants to look like a movie star. Could learn something from Michael Clarke's transformation from stylish showboat to middle order pillar.

    Collingwood: A second-class talent with a first-class heart. Has so many technical flaws it must take an hour to run through the bowling strategies to him. That he can make the English side though seems a sad indictment on the amount of talent around (or alternatively the selectors).

    Prior: Sure this guy isn't Australian? Tough and aggressive. England have found their man behind the stumps for quite some time.

    Flintoff: A marauding Viking behemoth who turns batsmen's legs to jelly. Probably the only English player the Australians fear (along with Steve Harmison on his good days). Unfortunately, frequently comes paired with the jokey attitude of a 13-year-old schoolboy. If an Australian bowler had celebrated his 'century' with other bowlers, laughing about it (Cardiff), they would have been dropped and perhaps never played for the Green and Gold again.

    Broad: Still haven't seen why this kid is playing for England. Perhaps needs to shave his hair off...something at least to make himself look mean. Flicking your head to the side to get your foppish fringe out of your eyes is not a good look for a fast bowler. At least he can hold a bat. Australians are scratching their heads why they are facing his marshmallows rather than firey rocks from Harmison.

    Swann: Pretty much a regular, every-day spinner. Some good traits, some bad. A Hauritz, if you will.

    Anderson: In conditions like early Day 2, virtually unplayable - that late swing is bizarre (check the man for boiled lollies!). When there's no swing, fairly pedestrian. And wonder about his attitude - when given the ball before tea on Day 5 in search of a collapse, looked like he had already give up with his constant shrugging and little giggle moments with Flintoff.

    Onions: Apart from 2 in 2 to start day 2 (turning the game on its head), down under we're still all wondering what's so fantastic about this guy.

    Personally, I think this English team looks weaker than most that were fielded in the 90s - I'd hate to think what the 'hey-day' Australian team of Warne, McGrath, Hayden, Gilchrist et al would have done to them. Luckily for you, it's not - it's a really crapola Australian team that is underperforming badly. Quite a sad indictment on our team that we are down 1-0 at the moment to this English team.

    On the Aussie front, in short: Hughes should come back in for Watson (nice innings from Watson, but with homework England should work him out) as Hughes is a natural talent. I think Ponting is perhaps the best batsman of the last decade - can play every shot with authority - but his last 18 months have been abysmal. Not sure if he's going to come out of this slump, I hope so as he's wonderful to watch in full flight. (England booing him as "unsporting" is just plain stupid, he's one of the most sporting Australian captains I've seen (compare to Border and Waugh!). Don't equate "playing hard" to "being unsporting".) Clarke is at the peak of his powers atm. Who stole the real Mike Hussey, we want him back!? There seem to be two Norths - one who has no clue at test level, the other who has been playing it for 150 years. Losing Haddin is a big blow - not as far off being another Gilchrist as some people realise. If the real Mitchell Johnson turns up, a lot of English supporters will be eating their words - anyone who can break Graeme Smith's hand twice in a few months has some serious bowling gifts. Hauritz is an average spinner, but doing a job for Ponting so far this series. Siddle would have been a star in the days of greenish pitches, but in the day-and-age of flat batting paradises, doesn't have enough variation or swing - Brett Lee to replace for Game 4 I think. Hilfenhaus is perfectly suited to English conditions, and his success so far is bearing that out.

    So there you have it. Two sub-standard teams at the moment. Let's hope the quality improves for games 4 and 5.

    (p.s. Have to take issue with Brett Oliver saying Ponting had less clue than Strauss with bowling - no Anderson first up in the morning session, when the ball has always swung? Broad after the break!!!?

    p.p.s Apart from 7/77 in the morning session on Day 2, England have very little to take out of this test IMO).

  • Comment number 48.


    Neither side can be seen as being already in the driver's seat. With three tests gone this series looks set for a tight finish. Best wishes to the two sides.




    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 49.

    MachinElf;

    Thanks for your comments but you are way off on Collingwood. He already has 3 50's to his name in this series with an average in the 40's. How many other batsmen from either side can claim that? He is not the most stylish batter around but he has that gritty determination to constantly perform. Ricky Ponting even said that he was a player that he would also love to have.

    I also thought that booing of Ricky Ponting was terrible and left a very sour taste in my mouth as he is, in my eyes, a modern legend of the game and deserves every respect. I dont like booing in any sporting arena but i dont think that the Aussies can stand too high on their horses and condem this as a section of your fans are also guilty of the same offence.

  • Comment number 50.

    Watson & Clarke & North had the easiest day of the match with fine batting conditions so deserve 8s rather than 9s.Anderson´s 5 wickets were brilliant,worth at least 8 if not 9, he was underbowled on the last day,maybe could have bagged some more early on and would have been my choice for man of the match.
    Broad was underused but delivered when he was belatedly given the ball, and his match figures as an all-rounder are well worth 7.Strauss earned his 7 with a solid batting performance in the first innings and effective captaincy on all but the final day (worth 8 if he hadnt dropped a catch),but Bell was just plain lucky which certainly doesnt deserve more than a 5 - Swann was a more valuable player for England on the scorecard than Bell,and he didnt get lashings of luck!

  • Comment number 51.

    I think you have been harsh on Swann, he should have been used more in the first innings and dont forget he twice got the break through in both innings. His batting is improving and kept a couple of good catches unlike Fred, Strauss and Bopara. He was over bowled on a dying pitch and was unlucky a few times. Bell should be a 6 and Collingwood at least a 5. I think you have over scored Watson and Clarke, yes it was a good first 50 by Clarke, but the last 50 was on a dead pitch with no pressure and some nice buffet bowling to help along. The MoM should have gone to Anderson as he with Onions were the only ones to use the conditions properly-without them the game would have been a draw by Sunday night.

  • Comment number 52.


    The England ratings are fairly accurate, but some of the Aussie ones way off. Clarke's obdurate second innings helped the Aussies save the match, but he missed out in the first innings - to get a 9 after missing out in the first innings, surely you have to play a fluent run-a-ball innings of the likes of which Lara, Richards or a KP at the Oval?

    Also, to give Watson 9 is ridiculous. He was picked as an all-rounder and was awful with the ball. He had two innings, which we no more than decent - he battled out well, but I for one didn't think he looked an opener. 6/10 would have been more apt!

  • Comment number 53.

    An unbeaten 103 from Australias Vice Captain Michael Clarke enabled Australia to draw to 3rd Ashes Test Match at Edgbaston.
    http://www.oddsbet.co.uk/taxonomy/term/619
    The tourists had gone into the final day under a fair amount of pressure, on 88-2 with England scenting the chance of victory.

    However the home side were kept at bay, initially by Shane Watson and Michael Hussey, and then a prolific partnership between Marcus North and the centurion Clarke saw Australia to safety.
    While Clarkes innings was extremely impressive Australia will be very happy with the performance of Shane Watson, Watson regarded by many as one of the most talented all rounders in World Cricket was playing in his 1st Match of the series, and he was opening for the first time in his Test Career.

    http://oddsbet.typepad.com/odds-bet/cricket/

    England are 1-0 up in the Series after they managed to win the 2nd Test at Lords by 115 runs, it was Englands 1st Ashes win at Lords for 75 years.

  • Comment number 54.

    England's bowling yesterday was very ordinary, Broad surprisingly being the pick of the bunch, so I'd knock 1 mark off for Onions, Freddie and Jimmy. The flat pitch, ordinary bowling and lack of pressure after mid afternoon reduces the 'worth' of some of the Aussie batting efforts yesterday too.
    Bopara's all round game has been grim this series, his fielding and catching has been poor, and his bowling got picked off easily yesterday.

  • Comment number 55.

    Far too high a rating for Bell, it was a typical Bell innings. Get in, look good, get out

    He's not good enough, get rid

  • Comment number 56.

    Not sure how you have Katich as 5 and then Hussey as 7? Ok decent second innings but a golden duck in the first.

    Where as Katich gave Aus two very good starts alongside Watson and scored more runs overall than Hussey.

    Very strange.

  • Comment number 57.

    Chopping and changing a side rarely works, I'd probably stick with the same English side although I'd be tempted to rest Flintoff for the Oval, where he should be much more effective than Edgbaston or Headingley, and let Sidebottom or Harmison have a go.

    You have to bear in mind that England were pushing to score quickly in the 1st innings, also the 2nd innings at Lords so it's a little unfair to criticiase the batsmen for not making 100's. Prior's latest knock although small was significant in resting the initiative, similarly his 50 at Cardiff, he's a great asset.

    Swann would be a lot more effective if he had a consistently tight bowler bowling with him, even better if that was a spinner but Colly could fill the role. I wouldn't consider dropping Swann, his dismissals of Ponting at Edgbaston and Clarke at Lords show his ability to bowl wicket-taking balls. He could yet come up trumps for us.

    Sure the Aussies have a stronger batting line-up but their bowling really is weak. Johnson has yet to prove himself in English conditions although he's definitely getting better.

    The teams are pretty well-matched really but with England there are too many uncertainties and inconsistencies to give me much confidence that we'll hold onto our slender lead.

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • Comment number 59.

    Michael Clarke is a top class batsman but his wicket should not be any more prized than any other of the top 6 Aussie batsmen. England should go for broke at Headingley for they have to win one of the last 2 Tests to be sure of regaining the Ashes. Bring in Harmison (only if 100% fit) or Sidebottom and drop Broad for this Test. However the best laid plans will go astray unless Strauss is able to show more imagination and constant variation when things are not going right - he is a decent man, a good opener and a fair Captain, but not a good one. England need all to perform but also for Strauss to lead and direct options - the sad fact is that his limitations are painfully there for all to see including himself, and he has shown thereby that he lacks instincts that a Captain needs but he lacks. This will be a big problem for England as long as he is Captain when things start to drift, as they surely will from time to time, and the side needs the courage and occasional gamble by the skipper. Go for broke boys but settle for a draw if you have to. Of the current "performers" in the team, I think Collingwood would be a better Captain - he has shown ability before but more in the limited game. If not, maybe Rob Key who is a terrific skipper and would score runs under pressure if need be. I just feel that Strauss is skipper because the candidates seemed so ordinary to the Selectors, but to me, (and others?), so does Strauss.

  • Comment number 60.

    I agree with No. 47. Bell needs to take a good long look at Michael Clarke as a batting model. Clarke has been excellent and Oliver you are exactly right, every time he walks to the crease I pray that little bit harder for his wicket. Clarke is the one man in the Aussie team right now that I would love to have playing for us. Solid, dependable, consistent and with glorious technique, lads like Bell and Bopara would do well to take some serious notes.

    Having said that, Bell did alright. Bopara, on the other hand, has been fairly awful with bat, in the field, and I can't fathom why on earth he was given the ball over Colly. I can't agree with the dropping of Broad because in all fairness, he hasn't really done anything to warrant it. He'll become a mainstay once Flintoff retires and needs as much experience as he can get. But he needs more of an edge. Part of it is attitude, and his exchanges with Johnson when he was batting were lovely to see, but he needs to get more fired up when he bowls.

  • Comment number 61.

    @ MachinElf wrote:

    p.p.s Apart from 7/77 in the morning session on Day 2, England have very little to take out of this test IMO)

    ----------

    Really? What a crass statement. I suggest that England will be further encouraged that yet again they bowled Australia out, Australia were on the back foot for most of the match and were forced to bat, in effect, to save the game. We're constantly reminded that this Australian side beat South Africa recently and had a very strong batting line-up, so with England 1-0, regularly bowling Australia out for low scores and dominating the last two matches why would they take very little from the match?

  • Comment number 62.

    Dear Oliver

    Perhaps you were watching a different game of cricket to the rest of us? Watson on a 9, yet Jimmy A and Onions on 8? My guess is that you went down with a case of the runs on the second day, and that you are making up these ratings as you go along.. Am I right?

    Okay, so Watson scored 2 half centuries. Broad scored a half century in his innings with the bat, and bowled a hell of a lot better than the Australian opener.. Yet you gave him a 7. Explain.

    Don't get me wrong.. I certainly don't think that Broad deserves a better mark than he got, but Watson on a 9?? Pull the other one. Another example is this: Strauss - 7. What?! He scored more than Waton did on either occasion in his 1 innings. Again, I'm not saying he deserved higher, just that Watson was not very good. At all. I'd be seriously worried if my openers couldn't hit 50s.

    I can see you're probably just trying to be kind to the kid. It was his debut, and he did well. Well, but not amazingly. Maybe you should be reporting on another sport? I hear that the London Tiddlywinks Open starts next month.

  • Comment number 63.

    Obviously conditions don't have any part to play in anyone's judgements. When the ball is swinging it is MUCH HARDER to bat. On the last day it ceased to swing. Clarke's 9 might be tempered by his LUCK. He was dropped on 38 by Strauss of all people, then had his bails clipped in the Nineties and was out to a no-ball. He was also batting on a flat pitch accumulating nicely. He's a good batsman but if you are going to criticise the England batsmen then you have to consider how they would have batted without the threat of the swinging ball. I think it is laughable that Shane Watson who was also out to an lbw in his thirties not given is awarded a 9 - almost flawless. I'm not saying he didn't make good use of his Luck but it's not almost flawless. Cook, Strauss, Bopara and Bell were batting in the most difficult conditions as far as England were concerned. That is why Strauss and Bell's partnership proved to be crucial. There was a lot of pressure on Bell but I thought he looked accomplished at the crease. Has to watch that late inswinging ball!

  • Comment number 64.

    The ratings and reasonings are absurd, i'd be interested to know how long it took to compile them and whether they were reviewed by Oliver or by an editor!!?

  • Comment number 65.

    No.77

    yeah, apart from 7/77 in a session, you're not far wrong.

    and batting the aussies out of the game with a 1st innings score of under 400

    and a wagging tail that's alive and well

    and a 1-0 lead with two to play

    other than that, nowt, you're right mate

  • Comment number 66.

    I think that ur rating 4 anderson is rubbish. I know that Flintoff did well 4 his 70 and deserved his 8 but surely Anderson did much better. I think, because of Andersons, he deserved a 9.
    My team 4 headingley would be:
    Ravi Bopara
    Andrew Strauss
    Ian Bell
    Oais Shah
    Paul Colingwood
    Matt Prior
    Andrew Flintoff
    Grahem Swann
    Steve Harmison
    James Anderson
    And 1 more 4 u 2 decide

  • Comment number 67.

    MachinElf-interesting observations from Australia. I think England gained more than the 7/77 on day 2- how about hitting the Australian attack around for 6 an over on day 4?

    As for Onions-they guy only made his test debut in May-he's doing pretty good I think.
    I think England have a better team-mainly down to the bowling. If Freddie was fit the bowling attack would be more potent-plus we have Sidebottom and Harmison on the wings-I think Australia would love to have that.
    Not to mention our best batsman in injured.
    Colly averages nearly 50 at test level in the last year...

  • Comment number 68.

    Post #4 has it to a tee, I think that is an awesome team. Maybe bring prior up to 5 though, not sure, sit collingwood down one where he can get himself chilled out.

    Everyone screams that Bopara has potential, but he isn't delivering the goods. We are not in this test to practice, we are in it to Win.

    Broad - as has been said, he is in the team for bowling, not batting. The fact he knocks up some runs is great, but he needs to do something dangerous and offensive bowling wise.

    Bell can keep himself calm and he knows he can do it. He needs to keep it up and thats him in number 3 for good.

    Cook going out for zero took the biscuit... he really should know better. None the less, he can really dish out the damage.

    Harmison - yeh, without a doubt. He can bring the fight to Aus good and proper.

    Collingwood - you cannot question him. In my opinion he is the most underrated asset of the England team. He and Flintoff have been integral parts of the lineup for years and both have made amazing contributions. Collingwood is a great fielder and a good batsman when he gets himself on line. Really quality player, just a pity Freddy got the limelight!!

  • Comment number 69.

    What is this slatin of bopara about. Hes the most talented batsman in the team, he justs needs some confidence. I will admint his fielding of recent is dire. With the ball he should have clarke out at 38 and 96 he did more with his 8 overs than the rest. How can clarke get mom when he should have been out 3 times! Cook is grwoing into a world-class batsman and is vice captain. Hes classy in the field and has a great temperment i guarntee he will be one of englands highest run scorers ever. he has another 15 years left. colly is consistent but he looks so uncomfortable when batting. Im pleased for prior i think he is almost good enough just to bat. WHY wasn't he picked instead of shah for the 20/20. shah is terrible. Strauss is showing up ponting in the captaincy. Sidebottom in for flintoff. He has only taken 7 wickets compared to 12 for anderson and he still hasn't got mom. Flintoff isn't that special his battin was class tho.

  • Comment number 70.

    Could the solution be to drop Bopara for Headingley? He has not reproduced anything like the form against the West Indies and any agument that he is a back up bowling option looks a bit feeble now. Perhaps then, there is room for Trott to play in his place and for Sidebottom in the event Freddie cannot play. Both Freddie's aspects of his game are then covered. The venue is not suitable for Harmison. It would be a brave move though and one I think the selectors are not capable of making. Many times we have seen players outside the chosen few (Napier and Key at T/20) in squads but play no part.

  • Comment number 71.

    just heard an interview from andy flower saying he will not be dropped for headingley but england need someone who can anchor an innings at number 3 and bopara has been given way too many chances. Yes he's a good batsman but not good enough for ashes standards. Broad definetly should stay

  • Comment number 72.

    Harmison - yeh, without a doubt. He can bring the fight to Aus good and proper.

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

    Harmison bring fight? Exactly which alternate reality do you live in?

    He will bring innocuous, wayward rubbish, along with his surly, disinterested attitude to Aus good and proper.

  • Comment number 73.

    Harmison for Flintoff Broad should have got a 7 he is an alround player not just a bowler.

  • Comment number 74.

    How much more borrowed time will Collingwood be given?

    what are you talking about in 3 innings he's got 3 fifties he's England's most consistent performer at the moment we really on him. He saved us at cardiff and does well against the Assisi's because he's mentally strong He does well when were in trouble and in big matches.

  • Comment number 75.

    why does every body give cook such a hard time

  • Comment number 76.

    @75: He got a duck and did nothing in the field. He deserved less than 3.

  • Comment number 77.

    76. At 10:44pm on 04 Aug 2009, poshnanex wrote:
    @75: He got a duck and did nothing in the field. He deserved less than 3

    thats one test match a couple of innings ago he got 95 or does nobody remember that i bet they would if he got 100

  • Comment number 78.

    Just reading through some of these comments I am stunned. Especially the Collingwood-bashers.

    Can I take the Collingwood-bashers back to the first test at Cardiff. His innings on the last day kept the aussies at bay. It would be a very different series now if Australia had won that test match but Colly's contribution made sure they didn't.

    3 fifties out of 5 innings in the series is pretty good record I think although I am disappointed he didn't convert at least one into 100+ score.

    Ok he isn't as entertaining to watch as a Pietersen or a Prior or a Flintoff but he is extremely valuable to this England side. Under extreme pressure he is a quality batsman, he plays important innings at important times (as proved at Cardiff) and he is probably England's best fielder (although being pushed all the way by Anderson).

    I think it's extremely unfair to Collingwood to suggest he is on borrowed time.

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.

    @ MachinElf wrote:

    p.p.s Apart from 7/77 in the morning session on Day 2, England have very little to take out of this test IMO)

    I think your being generous there MachinElf. That 7/77 was caused in large part by very favourable bowling conditions and one great over from Onions.

    If the English take anything from that session it must be to hope for more heavy overcast conditions whilst bowling!apart from that Flintoff's Innings was good, but it looks like he wont play now,

    it must also be said that Australia where 5 down and nearly 200 in front on essentially the 4th day. if there was another day to go in the test the smart money would have been on an Australian victory. With england probably struggling to reach 300 in a pressure filled final day.

    damn rain.

    anyway, bring on leeds with some sunshine, please!!!

  • Comment number 81.

    Are you joking kezent, you reckon Prior would have played the same shot he got out to on day two? You reckon Strauss would have bowled for long spells with Colly, Bopara, Swann and Broad on a fourth day? No he gave his frontline bowlers a rest coz the testmatch was all over within the first hour after lunch. Credits to the North/Clarke partnership but you simply dont know what might have happened if there wasnt any rain at all.

    On topic I would say Colly 4, Freddie 7 and Watson 8, the rest of the marks fair enough, and dont change anything unless Freddie is not match fit.

  • Comment number 82.

    @slasaus: "No he gave his frontline bowlers a rest coz the testmatch was all over within the first hour after lunch"

    That would explain Jimmy A not appearing to give a toss when he got handed the ball. Though I think most people watching the game thought it was alive until tea...I certainly hadn't relaxed 1 hour after the lunch break.

    And I'd like to hear why my post at #79 was removed. I can't think of anything in there that would have justified that (unless the moderators are fans of Collingwood).

  • Comment number 83.

    77. At 11:54pm on 04 Aug 2009, cabinet101 wrote:

    76. At 10:44pm on 04 Aug 2009, poshnanex wrote:
    @75: He got a duck and did nothing in the field. He deserved less than 3

    thats one test match a couple of innings ago he got 95 or does nobody remember that i bet they would if he got 100

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


    You're missing my point. Besides, as the title to this thread says, these are EDGBASTON ratings. So... Given his performance at Edgbaston, he deserves less than 3.

    I by no means stated or indeed implied that he is a bad player.

  • Comment number 84.

    Oliver,

    Enjoy the blog as always, and think the ratings are fine - of course not everyone will agree, and that's the joy of it.

    However, you do contradict yourself massively regarding Swann's dismissal.
    Ponting - "Poor technique, rather than good bowling, cost him his wicket on each occasion"
    Swann - "he seems to be developing a habit for mixing in brilliant deliveries, such as tthe one which removed Ricky Ponting"

    So, was it a good ball, or bad batting? Would be interested to hear people's views. For me, a very, very good ball which would have got most batsmen out that early in an innings, except for Clarke who is looking outstanding and plays spin as well as anyone in the world I think.

  • Comment number 85.

    Andrew Strauss 7: Good batting, good captaincy, Australia were never going to win.
    Alistair Cook 1: No runs, no catches, one point for showing up.
    Ravi Bopara 5: Decent innings, again. Deserved treasured wicket of Michael Clarke.
    Ian Bell 7: Lucky innings, solid fielding, good comeback.
    Paul Collingwood 3: Loose shot, bowled a bit.
    Matt Prior 7: Good batting, good keeping.
    Andrew Flintoff 8: Deserved century, bowled without reward on slow pitch.
    Stuart Broad 7: Batted well, bowled OK.
    Graeme Swann 6: Inconsistent bowling, but good contribution overall.
    James Anderson 8: Great swing bowling, still no ducks.
    Graham Onions 7: Good swing bowling, bit expensive.

    If Flintoff is not fit, Harmison will probably come in, meaning another bowler would be dropped presumably, Broad probably, then Trott would come in. (Jonathan Trott average: 99.75)

    See what you think.

  • Comment number 86.

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

 

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