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England player ratings for Johannesburg

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Oliver Brett | 11:57 UK time, Sunday, 17 January 2010

South Africa put in a tremendous display to thrash England by an innings and 74 runs in the final Test, and as a result retain the Basil D'Oliveira trophy.

But no assessment of any England performance is complete without some player ratings. These are my marks out of 10 for the England XI at the Wanderers.

I found these particularly tough to do. (It's much easier when they play reasonably well). But as ever I'd like to know what you think.

James Anderson

Andrew Strauss - 3
Elected to drop Graham Onions, chose to bat first when bowling looked the more obvious choice, and could not really blame brilliant bowling for either of his two cheap dismissals. A match to forget for England's captain

Alastair Cook - 4
Got over the new ball well on the difficult first morning before falling lbw to what later appeared a possible no-ball. Nicked off early to a good delivery from Morne Morkel in the second innings when the tall paceman posed serious problems.

Jonathan Trott - 3
Did not seem to relish the challenge one iota, looking distinctly ill-at-ease throughout his two brief stays at the crease. Could the Jonathan Trott who made a century on debut in an Ashes decider please come back? The current model's not the same.

Kevin Pietersen - 3
Like Strauss and Trott, he ended a bad series with two poor scores. The pull shot that brought his downfall in the first innings was the right shot to play, but the execution woeful. The less said about his wild drive on the final morning the better.

Paul Collingwood - 8
Just how difficult was this pitch for batting? Mark Boucher almost got a century on it, and Collingwood's scores of 47 and 71 ensured he was the only England batsman - apart from the twice unbeaten James Anderson - to improve his average on it.

Ian Bell - 4
Bell had a decent series generally, but was looking for the Dale Steyn outswinger when cleaned up by the straight one in the first innings, and fenced weakly at a quick one from Morne Morkel during the collapse on the final day.

Matt Prior - 3
If he could have been forgiven for the pull shot that brought his downfall on day one, with the top six all gone, there was less excuse for the shocking shot he attempted to his second ball on Sunday, with Collingwood still there. Good keeping though.

Stuart Broad - 6
Got more wickets than either Sidebottom or Anderson combined, although they were the ones who got to use the new ball and caused a bit of discomfort with the shorter balls. South Africa were not really able to get after his bowling.

Graeme Swann - 6
With some more luck on reviews he would have been able to add a couple of wickets to his two, and was England's second best contributor of runs in the match too. Will he ever bat above Broad for England? My feeling is that he maybe should.

Ryan Sidebottom - 5
Like Swann, he deserved more in the wickets column - and this was by no means a poor performance from someone entering such a vital match with no meaningful recent cricket behind him. Very close to a six for the sheer effort he threw into it.

James Anderson - 4
Took a great catch to get rid of Kallis, but on a wicket that should have been ideal for him proved a great disappointment. Sure, he bowled one or two magical deliveries but they were frequently interspersed with some disappointing stuff.


  • Comment number 1.

    A very disappointing end to what has been a great series. I wailed when I saw Prior's shot, but the real culprits have been out two 'proper' South Africans - Pietersen and Trott. What happened to them? A track that the Proteas clumped 400 plus off should not see England's batting fall apart so abjectly. The trouble was that by the time our better performers - Collingwood and Bell - got in, they were already in a desperate situation.

    I hope there is not too much 'fatigue' talk after this one. As far as I am concerned, Strauss and Pietersen should be in Bangladesh, getting their Testr averages up and their confidence back. Trott should probably be returned to county cricket for a while.

  • Comment number 2.

    the ratings seem about accurate to me, Prior perhaps more for his keeping than his batting deserves higher than a 3 that would be the only one i would consider changing. Collingwood was by far our best batsman probably in the entire series, what was it 344 runs @ 57? something like that anyway, just went to show if you play sensibly you can score on the pitch.

    Why is it though that england always seem to have a disaster of a test match in the recent series they play? Jamaica, Headingly, and now Jo'burg in 3 of the last 4 series. Hopefully no such repeat against Bangladesh is forthcoming although with India being 213-8 on day one i wouldn't bet against the same thing happening if we play as badly as we have done in this test match.

  • Comment number 3.


    I expect Pietersen and Trott to be in Bangladesh, with Strauss among those rested - the others being perhaps Anderson and Collingwood.

    There's no point Trott going back to county cricket yet, we know what he can do there, had a stunning average last summer. Bot him and KP really need a tough, WAG-free tour of Bangladesh where they concentrate their minds on cricket only. Not sure when KP's baby is due, but I am beginning to wonder if that's becoming a distraction for him, because something is.

    sportsfan - India in a spot of bother in Bangladesh with a first-choice side! (And I think Tendulkar - 70-odd not out - was droppd before he had reached 20)

  • Comment number 4.

    To echo No 2, England always seem to throw a bad match into a series - Jamaica, Headingly etc. There are many positives from the tour as a whole, and although this was a lame ending, we need to try and look at the big picture.
    For this match, I am not sure what Trott did to deserve any points, and KP similar! Prior did not bat according to the situation he found when walked to crease, and that is simply not good enough. They got the same mark as Strauss, who had the burden of captaincy.
    Colly has been an absolute trooper in this series, and deserves all his accolades.
    Broad and Swann continue to be reliable performers, but I have my concerns about Broad. I am a HUGE fan, and because of that I want someone to sort him out a bit attitude wise. There have been whispers about him being captaincy material, but that is inconceivable if he continues in the current vein. I don't particularly like the fact that it has already been decided that Cook will be the next captain. Many things may happen before Strauss's time ends. I want there to be captaincy options. Also, his batting, which has always looked so classy, has not kicked on. I would definately have hoped for a test century by now after his performances against the Saffers in the last home series. Why is this the case? It is not lack of talent.
    The core of a good team is there. Much work to be done before next winter.

  • Comment number 5.

    the amusing thing about Bagladesh vs India Oliver, is that (although i am yet to personally read it) didn't Sehwag claim that Bangladesh would never take 20 indian wickets in either test? he certainly said something that has riled a few people. Love to find out his reaction after the first day.

  • Comment number 6.

    What a disappointing end to this series. England were out of it from ball one! As J. Agnew wrote, the referral business dominated the cricket and that's not good either. So! One to for England to forget; one for South Africa to remember; one for the ICC to think about.

    Roll on Bangladesh. Roll on the women's tour of India.

  • Comment number 7.

    Oliver , you missed a player. Onions 7.

    So we pick 7 batsmen and can't actually bat for 90 overs in two innings? And the conclusion is 'we can't play 5 bowlers'??

    Swann to bat at 4 and pietersen at 9 to try and wake him up. As usual the batsmen are kept, if we get an injury or two whoever comes in won't have played at this level.

  • Comment number 8.

    here is the link to what he said regarding Bangladesh, like i said in previous post i would love to find out his reaction now

  • Comment number 9.

    Very generous towards Pietersen methinks... "dismal" does not sum up his series adequately.

  • Comment number 10.

    Once again I would mark Broad down a point for his petulance. Someone really needs to speak to him about his attitude. Siders gets riled very easily, but he channels his aggression very well, and is a better bowler for it. Interesting that all the folks who called for Smith's head when he didn't walk are quiet today re Broad.

    Otherwise, fair enough scores, but I'd dock KP one for that idiotic overthrow.

  • Comment number 11.

    Trott and Pietersen have been the two big disappointments but, I'm beginning to believe Prior is not the batsman we believed.
    His demeanor at the crease is that of a one-day player whatever the situation.
    Perhaps he should not play these short games until his test batting has improved.

  • Comment number 12.

    By and large, I agree with pretty much all those marks. Collingwood, although always been a fan, has been really amazing this series. He's batted according to the conditions, like how we see the other top nations batsmen do it.

    I agree with most of the comments on Broad. I'd really like to really love him but I can't. His attitude stinks and someone needs to speak to him about it. If he was from any other country, we'd be having a pop left right and center.

    It's been a great series and in the process we've been able to show the South Africans that we're not far behind them. If we had a Steyn or Morkel, (oh why did Harmison go off the ball, he would have been so good on that pitch), we wouldn't be far off.

    PS. Don't think the Bangladesh tour is going to be as easy as we would all like to think.

  • Comment number 13.

    What does KP get 3 for, finding his way to the ground?

  • Comment number 14.

    7. I didn't miss Onions. These are the ratings for the final MATCH, not for the series. Onions didn't play in Johannesburg.

    9 & 10. I was very close to giving Pietersen a 2. In fact I did in my first draft but a colleague suggested I up him because otherwise it might look like we were unfairly targeting him. (Also I gave him a 2 in Cape Town I think)

    11. If Prior's demeanour is that of a one-day player, then we are in huge trouble as he has an abysmal record in ODIs. In fact it seems clear to me that he needs to be dropped for that format.

    Sportsfan, Sehwag said: "Bangladesh are an ordinary side. They can't beat India because they can't take 20 wickets." Seems a touch arrogant to me.

  • Comment number 15.

    Kp is not worthy of his place in the team and it is time for him to go.Give his place to someone with more dedication and commitment.

  • Comment number 16.

    England are 9/11s of a decent team at the moment, the missing 2/11 happen to be quite important bits though. A decent strike bowler, and a number 3 batsman.

    I think Trott should stay in the team, but he is no number 3, at least not yet. I think he may well be best used in a Graham Thorpesque role of adding solidity at 4 or 5 in the order. Rumours are that KP doesn't want to bat at 3, and I am not sure he is perfect for the role, but one possibilty would be to throw KP in at 3 and have Trott, Colly and Bell coming in behind him. That would have the added bonus of saying to KP that he isn't bigger than the team, something I think the England management wouldn't do any harm in emphasising to KP.

    As for the bowling, how quick is Steve Finn? Is he pacy, or is he more of an Angus Fraser clone? Is there another possible spearhead around in county cricket right now?

  • Comment number 17.

    Everyone needs to get off England's case. Sure they had a bad match, but it happens to every team once in a while (it happened to SA just two tests ago!). To come to South Africa, the second best team in their own yard, and be undefeated in all 3 series (T20, ODI, Tests) is a remarkable achievement considering we were losing to West Indies this time last year. Strauss and Flower have instilled a new confidence and fight in the side, and managed to draw a test series they would before have lost 3-1.
    However, I think Pietersen, not Cook, should be captain in Bangladesh as he plays much more sensibly when burdened with this responsibility.

  • Comment number 18.

    Most unfair on Prior who is selected as a wicket-keeper. Might as well give Broad a 3 for his batting. I still believe that England must play 5 bowlers as they have struggled to bowl anyone out for the last 18 months. Playing an extra batsman doesnt seem to help our batting as we only do well when in a strong position created by our bowlers. Swann, Prior and Broad should be made to practice their batting more to fill the gap. They have all shown they are capable of it. Sidebottom and Anderson are no dunces with the bat either and Onions can block the final overs pretty well!

  • Comment number 19.

    I dont think we should complain really. If I was told we were going to draw the series before it started, I would've laughed. Getting a draw in SA is a very good result. At least we look like a pretty good team now compared to the last few years.

    Colly = Legend I've always liked him even when he was getting stick. He's done us proud, a proper cricketer.

  • Comment number 20.

    Kevin Pietersen had better started getting the job done for England or he will quickly find himself warming a bench watching his replacement ply his trade in the middle. He is now squarely behind the 8-ball!

    The selectors must be cringing every time they see him wending his way back to the pavilion after each ephemeral stay at the crease.

    Ditto Trott!

  • Comment number 21.

    Bell's ball from Steyn in the first innings was not a straight one but an in-swinger - see the ball analysis available in the press etc. Everyone agreed it was an absolute brilliant ball. Even Steyn admitted he didn't know he had swung it that much. Bell's 35 far outstripped all other players except our gallant Colly. Therefore his 4 does not reflect his first innings effort. If the batsmen had all made similar scores we would have posted a decent total. So please explain why no recognition of his first innings against other batsmen collapsing in both innings. The Colly-Bell partnership in the first innings was the only thing between us and total collapse.

  • Comment number 22.

    It was absolutely crazy to substitute Sidebottom for Onions in this test - that was the first thing that completely unsettled the England side. Why change a winning team and put in a bowler who was seriously lacking match practice into the exceedingly sharp end? Whoever made that decision should be holding their hands up for an almighty slap - I suspect that will be Strauss and Flower.

    Very poor batting in this match with the utterly honourable exception of Collingwood.

    KP should be told to go and get himself sorted out. He's clearly not there mentally and the team should not rely on him to get them out of trouble. Trott has now been found out so he's got work to do.

    As to Prior - to make a suicidal stroke as he did this morning just beggars belief for a cricketer at this level - Graeme Swann showed him up good and proper. At that stage who could blame Swann for just going for it - there was nothing to lose.

    Broad - needs to get his attitude right. I am convinced that, injuries permitting, he will develop into a very fine cricketer indeed. However,compared with other players (such as Swann and Sidebottom) he's had it pretty cushy up to now, and now he's 22/23 he needs to do a reality check.

    Top hero for me is Paul Collingwood - is anyone else as sick to death as I am of the media mantra 'he's a limited talent'? I do wish people like KP would learn from his so-called limited talent and learn to graft, nudge and nurdle and never give up. I'd give Colly 9 for sheer effort.

    Finally - the review system is disgraceful if umpires can't even get to grips with it and turn their microphones up. Cook should never have been out, Smith should have been. In my view this being the case, the mean score of those players over the tournament should have been awarded in Cook's case, and deducted in Smith's case. That way, honour would have been satisfied.

    In the meantime, I hope this is the end for Darryl Harper (not Hair as indicated in the BBC's postings - Hair would never have made such mistakes).

  • Comment number 23.

    Disappointing, as the game looked drawable had the batting been more sensible. So the blame has to be the Top 4, who fell early both times.

    I don't think you can drop any of the Top 5, but is there a case for PC at 4, and KP at 5.

  • Comment number 24.

    Re no 22: completely agree with you about Collingwood. He doesn't get the credit he deserves for being able to read the match situation and bat accordingly. Yes, he can play the long defensive innings (thank God), but can also play the aggressive shots when the situation demands (how many England batsmen have deposited Steyn back over his head for 6 during this series?). For his sheer guts, application & bloody-mindedness I'd have him in my side ahead of Pietersen any day.

  • Comment number 25.

    Personally, I'll dock a point off KP - what on earth was he thinking of during the 2nd innings - and I'll dock off a point off Strauss (and I'm a Strauss fan)- if he'd put SA in to bat first maybe the outcome would have been different. Apart from that I have no problems with your ratings.

    As for Bangladesh, the selectors should forget about resting their key players - especially the batsmen (except for Colly and Belly) who frankly haven't produced the goods.

  • Comment number 26.

    To be honest I think the team did pretty well considering.SA are a very strong side especially at home and even in the heyday of English cricket we found it hard playing them on their own turf.With a little more selection sense we could have maybe just pipped them over the series.It was madness to bring back KP so soon,he has looked rusty in his application and needs more time.Trott at three is now looking questionable but we should keep with him maybe further down the order.I would bring in Kieswetter for his batting alone.Perhaps its time to split up Cook/Strauss and give someone else a stab at first slot.It wont be Strauss so it will have to be Cook.Collingwood has done as proud but he is looking a bit wobbly these days and how much longer can he continue?I wasnt impressed with Prior at all and very fast bowling found him out but his keeping is much better.Broad continued to improve although he bats to low for my liking,he needs to bat higher to learn to build an innings.Swann was very good.Sidebottom really has had his day and should never have been playing.Anderson was to hit and miss and he has been like that all of his career,I find his bowling frustrating,sometimes he is utterly brilliant and then he is utterly useless.I was impressed with Onions the little we saw of him.Bell was a good example of a cricketer who has improved a great deal but I wouldnt have him in at number 3.We do need a bowler to give Broad some support and at present apart from Swann there isnt anyone.Time for new people to step up to the plate.

  • Comment number 27.

    I would give Pietersen a 0 if Im honest, he hasnt been his self and Jo'Burg was the down point.
    He had a chance to save the game and set for a good score and what did he do....he fluffed it.
    I would sent Pietersen back to County Cricket and Trott should go to Bangladesh.
    But the rest of the rantings were correct and I wonder what could have been has Onions been chosen.

  • Comment number 28.

    So you gave Pietersen a higher mark, just in case you seemed to be picking on him! Oliver, just do your job and be honest! He was worth a low 2, never mind a 3!
    If Pietersen likes to live "on the edge" as a cricketer, then he must realise that edges can be sharp and hurt you. He needs dropping and made to work hard on his game, not his photocalls.

  • Comment number 29.

    Pretty much agree with the scores given. Prior lucky to get 3 and suggest also brave going to sit next to the captain straight after his second innings shot. I get terribly frustrated listening to Strauss at post-match interviews. Granted, there is admiration for Sir Alex and his way of deflecting deserved public criticism of his players, however you long for Andrew to speak more form the heart rather than the oh so boring 'credit to' and 'behind the eight ball' sayings which he loves. Contrast with Smith, and Mickey Arthur and their interesting comments, in elation and disappointment, delivered with purpose and in articulate fashion.

    I hope England will also put their 'try to be clever' selections to bed i.e. dropping a guy who'd done nothing wrong for someone who has hardly played for ten months, for a vital game, smacked of the same strange rationale for 'team England' as was picking Pattinson from nowhere two years ago - also hammered.

    Okay for people to suggest dropping Trott, but whats the alternative? Bell is performing where he is and I suggest Trott deserves another chance and will get it as a match-winning ton must buy you sometime I imagine. Long for the discovery of a fresh, new, nasty and hostile genuine paceman a la in the mould of Harmison and Morkle.

  • Comment number 30.

    Strauss 1 Pieterson 2 Trott 2 Strauss 1 for the wrong call on batting first and for leaving Oinions out on a pitch known to favor seamers. Should have left Trott or Pieterson out.

  • Comment number 31.

    Prior constantly stands too far back for the quicks/mediums his batting only suited to 1 dayers! anderson poor on this track sidebottom very average too both struggle outside of english conditions and your marking for broad too generous he was worth 4 maximum as were the other pace guys

  • Comment number 32.

    The only mark that sticks out to me was Prior's three as he kept (as he did all series) very well. As others have said he is picked for his keeping so surely that must rank as a higher consideration in your calculations. It is not just another fielding mark after all.
    But what I would like to ask everyone is who they think is responsible for the way England batted today. Last night I thought to myself it may be better to be positive and try and get an improbable lead as opposed to grinding it out against all odds over two days and hoping for a rain rescue.
    Is it left to the individual to make his mind up or has the captain and coach said to the players to chance their arm and counter attack?
    Because it looks bloody horrible when it goes wrong hence all the poor marks but if they hung around for another hour each torturing us all with a dead bat they may all have got another point.

  • Comment number 33.

    Am I the only one who thinks Prior should be dropped? He has a good average, but how many of those runs came against the Windies against lacklustre bowling and dead pitches? Prior has failed to make an impression in this series and the last. His average of 22 this series was probably roughly matched by his diabolical average against Australia. His wicketkeeping has improved, but he is such a pedestrian keeper there was little chance it could get worse. Considering how great form Swann has been in, Prior's lack of stumpings does not bare well on his wicketkeeping abilities. In the last T20 World Cup, I thought Foster was wonderful behind the stumps. Even if he might not score that many runs (it won't be difficult scoring more runs than Prior) he'll be a much better keeper.

    As for Trott, I fear he has become the new Bopara. Looked good for a few innings, then his footwork turned into nonsense and looks awkward playing the slightest defensive shot. Maybe Carberry or even Denley deserve a go at playing at 3.

    Against Bangladesh, the only batsmen I feel can take a rest is Colly. Out of the bowlers, Swann, Broad and Anderson deserve a break. Out of the players, I feel most of them have enough talent to be given another chance except for Prior. He's wasted too many chances now.

  • Comment number 34.

    I agree with the scoring. I think England have been 'brewing' a collapse of this nature for the whole series. Having just held on in the first and third test because of collapses in the upper order was always going to put some strain the team. You cannot keep relying on your lower order to bail you out. Also, i think the injustice of the referral system played on their minds and introduced an air of negativity into the mindset. If you think that's rubbish, how much have we been debating it????

    With regards the number 3 position, i feel it may be wiser for the management to consider bringing in another opener, someone who is used to facing the new ball and can provide a solid base for the stroke players below. Even Collingwood may fit this role? (Discuss) We can look at Shane Watson or Ashwell Prince (granted a poor series) who have moved up and proved to be good opening batsman. It seems that as soon as one of the openers is out, our number 3 is soon on the way. It would be good to see some stats for batsmen in that spot over the last few years.

    As for bowling, Onions dropped on a seaming wicket. Laughable. That man has the potential to be England's best strike bowler! Siders is good, but bowls too wide and Anderson is inconsistent. Try opening with the Onions and the Broad and see if he work that aggression off with a new ball! Swann, legend! Will get you wickets, especially with the referral system.

    However, a good series for England to build on. A developing one day team and a test side that can compete. One last thing...... No resting players. We have the Ashes in the winter and this team needs to be strong and focused. Players buggering off because they have had a long winter will only wind up their colleagues who have been on the same tour!

  • Comment number 35.

    I know KP has been slated to death in this series for his lack of contribution, whether he's fit or not rermains to be seen but for a player of his ability to get out stupidly in eery single innings he's played is ridiculous. I would drop him from the tour to Bangledesh to show to the world that the ECB believe that no player is 'untouchable' or 'undropable'. Trott has had one good innings and could be another batsman that suffers from his own believe that he is a international cricketer, he got a 100 in a decisive test and I thank him for that, but has shown no signs of being a decent number 3 in my opinion. All in all it's been a good tour I would take a drawn T20 series, a won ODI Series and a drawn test series but by no means are we a 'team' yet. Hard work starts here

  • Comment number 36.

    Generally agree except for Prior, ok he didn't bat well but he's a keeper first (or should be) and his keeping was good, spliting the marks out of 10 with 4/5 for keeping and 1/5 for batting would give him a 5, which is much better than some.

    The bowlers while mabye a touch unfortunate still should have got more wickets, shipping 400 for 7 wickets with rain breaks providing some decent swing opportunities isn't good enough.

    The problem is that it only takes one mistake for a batsment to get out looking like a plonker. A bowler can bowl 90% tripe, but still get a 5 wicket haul (ala Harmy in days gone) They get marks for "hitting the right lines" but how many do we give batsmen for doing stuff right? They seem to get judged only on their scores, where as the bowlers get hours of toil factored in too.

    Strauss possibly should have got less too, he has been awful this series, and while Smith again came up with a Captains innings, Stauss hasn't done anything usefull batting all series, can understand him not putting the saffers in though, the last 2 times he did that didn't exactly work out well did they?

  • Comment number 37.

    Whilst the batting has come under the spotlight during this final test, I have to say my concern remains our attack. With the very obvious exception of Sawnn, who continues to impress me enormously, the remainder of the attack is one dimensional.

    Prior to the Ashes tour next winter England desperately need to identify a strike bowler capable of leading the attack. Anderson, I am sorry to say, will never convince me that he is anything other than a bowler who can move the ball in the air if the conditions are suitable - under the blue skies of Australia he will flatter to deceive as he has done all too often.

    And am I the only one who feels that Sidebottom, Onions and Broad are never likely to strike fear into the hearts of a top quality batting order?

    I know many will say that dropping Harmison was a step forwards thinking long term, but I would have taken him to South Africa purely becuase he has the extra pace and bounce which can buy wickets at key times.

    There is no replacement for raw pace at test level, and I'm afraid the attack we have at present leaves me stone cold.

  • Comment number 38.

    Not much to argue about from here with those ratings.

    It's worth looking back at two series now, Australia and South Africa, in which we've achieved results far beyond the standard of our cricket. I know there were arguments about England winning more of the important sessions during the ashes, but our batting and bowling averages were far below the Australians. It's a good result, but our cricket is patchy, our batting has been fragile for a fair while now, and we are seriously lacking a decent pace bowler.

    I wanted to say something regarding Pietersen though. Often during this series I've been frustrated enough to want to see him dropped. And then I thought back to other players we've nursed through periods of bad form, and it's paid out. Strauss and Collingwood, being two obvious examples. Collingwood look awful for a fair while, so much so it was painful to watch him bat. Now look at him go. So I tried to check my irritation with Pietersen.

    And then I realised there was a difference. Pietersen isn't scratching around, poking for runs. He's not knuckling down and just not managing to pull it together. His 'out of form' period is more heinous, because it's entirely an attitude and mentality thing. There's been no sign of him just trying to grit his way back to form. No sign of him playing for the team. His arrogance has finally caught up with him. Yes, he's supremely talented. But if I've learnt anything from years of following Test cricket, 'mental' talent, the ability to mix confidence with level-headedness, moral fortitude, determination, character - without these things raw talent is eventually found out. It's what stopped Ramprakash and Hick making the most of their natural talent. The guy isn't just out of form. He's actively getting himself out. I can't think of another player in recent years who wouldn't have been dropped by now.

    I've never seen anything like Pietersen's recent run, and in my eyes what needs some attention is his ego, i.e. it needs a good hard kick. I've been embarrassed and ashamed to watch his batting histrionics on this tour. I know it would take something exceptional to replace him in the team, but I'd dearly love to see him out this team for a while.

  • Comment number 39.

    Bronty14 - I agree with you that Onions, Broad and Sidebottom will never put fear into any batsman. Broad has dissapointed me no end this series, and in general, he is just to inconsistent, he loses his head when things aren't going well. He has potential but I dont think he will ever utilise it and I predict by the age of 27 he's back playing county cricket and be a forgotton man for England. Anderson is a good bowler but I believe fitness is his issue on his day he could be one of the best but again to inconsistent - story of our bowling attack (bar Swann)

  • Comment number 40.

    Being a saffer I guess i shouldn't really comment on the ratings. I agree though that Collingwood & Swann were England's best performers. But in general terms it seems to me that if one of your players plays one good innings (Trott?) he is automatically hailed as the messiah by your media. Never happens unfortunately. We in SA have got used to surprise selections in our team but even the media holds back & we say: ok, give him a chance, let's see how he does. Personally, I'd never heard of Parnell but it seems that the selectors saw something in him & they may well be proved right. Graeme Smith seems to be reviled in the UK, why I'll never know, but after Parnell had bowled 3 nervous overs in the firat innings, he took him out of the attack. In the second innings he brought him on first change & he proceeded to take both Strauss's & Pietersen's wickets. Really good captaincy in my book. I think you should bear in mind too that Smith puts up with all kinds of political pressure off the field too. One of our best captains I'd say; & he's only 28! Let's talk about KP. There seems to be a cult of celebrity afoot in the UK & Pietersen has bought into that big time. We on the other hand really consider him to be a "good ole boy" from Natal & the celebrity stuff doesn't go down well. That is why he is given a hard time by the crowds, not because he is a "defector". Did Tony Greig, Allan Lamb, Robin Smith, or even Andrew Strauss suffer the same fate? NO! I'll end this little rant with a comment about the quota situation. There is definitely a problem in my view at the lower levels of the game e.g. Kieswetter (now there's a good English name!). Which raises the question, what is wrong with your structures? Where are your local boys? However at international level I personally don't believe there is a member of the SA X1 who is not there on merit. Ntini, the only black face, was retained for two matches beyond his sell-by date but there again Graeme Smith stood by him & the powers that be; I really think he is remarkable.

    Just my tuppence worth!!

  • Comment number 41.

    Daryl Harper is good umpire and a class act. He has been given a bad rap in the press and that’s unfortunate! It is a shame to see all the 'ignorant' posters here calling for his removal when they don’t even know what a No ball is, for instance. They haven’t a clue what the hell they are talking about!

    Let me tell you this, Daryl Harper is going nowhere. You had better get used to it. I wonder how many of these arm-chair experts can go out there and do a better job. I also wonder how many of them have had the opportunity to stand in the middle with him (as I have) to call a game and to see the intense concentration he puts in on each delivery to get it right.

    The truth of what transpired in this so-called ‘controversial’ series will soon be known and then many of the self-anointed critics will be forced to do some serious back-pedaling. Stay tuned!

  • Comment number 42.

    This match was embarrasing the way we just seemed to give up. Forget resting anybody, everyone needs to go on tour and buck their ideas up (except maybe Collingwood). OK sometimes you get off to a bad start. Dig in and sort yourself out before carrying on again. You cant win the match on the first morning but you can definatly lose it!
    Looking at what happened I think we need to review the batting line up. At the moment there only seems to be Collingwood who can play to conditions. Therfore I would think about sending him in at 3 and dropping Trott to 5. This would take the pressure off him and give him a chance to establish himself.
    Pieterson needs to be sent somewhere to get him some match practice to play himself back into form. He is a class player but just hasnt played enough since coming back and was thrown straight back into the tests which isnt the place to play yourself back into form.
    Also get Onions back into the team. I can see why the change was made but given that Sidebottom hadnt played that was the same situation as Pieterson was in.
    I have no issue with us losing, we wont win everytime. My only issue is with the way we lost. Just try and back it resectable and make them get us out, (not hooking second ball!). Make them win it, rather than us lose it!

  • Comment number 43.

    I for one would like to congratulate 'splendidsparrow' and his up coming marriage to Daryl Harper beacuase he must love him so much to defend him, as any one would to defend their man. But I agree with him, it must be so hard to look at a TV monitor and give an opinion (sound off/on - delete as appropriate). Yes he's an amazing umpire, he just doesan't know what a dismissal is. splendidsparrow I salute your defence of Daryl Harper

  • Comment number 44.

    Some odd scoring there.

    Collinwood did well enough but an 8? I fear youare just jumping on the bandwagon here.

    Prior kept very well and deserves a 4 or even 5 because of it.

    Cook also deserves at least a point more. Pretty much proven to be not out in the first innings (benefit of doubt goes to the batsman, always) and got a ball that anyone would have been ut to in the second.

    Also all these daft saddos who are saying to drop KP or move him to #3 are getting on my nerves. He is NOT a #3, never will be, in fact I would far sooner see him moved down to 5 with Trott at 4 as that's his more natural position. As for dropping him, he is still our most talented bat, there is pretty much no one clamouring for selection instead of him.

    If we are playing 6 batsmen then the six in the team are the right ones, perhaps Denly or Carberry deserve a chance but I'd sooner see them open instead of Cook for a match or two.

  • Comment number 45.

    With great respect to Ryan Sidebottom, this could be his last Test for England. He's not getting any younger and it's a while since he really looked on song. The Sidebottom of 18 months ago would have run through South Africa.

    As many have said, this was an apallingly disappointing way to end the series. The batting was dreadful (when Andrew Strauss gets out early the rest of the side tends to capitulate, which shows how important he is), but the bowling looked toothless. South Africa started looking aimless whenever Graeme Swann bowled, but had got on top of him by the end of the series and that was the key to their comeback. Several players need to look at their performances seriously and ask themselves if they were good enough.

  • Comment number 46.

    Is Prior's score of 3 just for his batting or an oddly weighted average of the score for his batting and keeping?

    Yay for Red Terrier's (Collingwood's) heroics, but I'm sure the press -elitist pinkos who care about technique more than results - will be back on his case the next time he gets out cheaply.

    And yes, Strauss should be vilified for leaving Onions out instead of allowing him to rescue England at the last moment. If Make-Em-Cry had played, he would have Done A Dizzy and scored a double century ;-)

  • Comment number 47.

    "The Sidebottom of 18 months ago would have run through South Africa"

    Really, dude, get a grip! Stick to Star Gazing! :-)

  • Comment number 48.

    It's been a great series to watch. For South Africa, it's shown them the key areas where they need to make changes. The dropping of Ntini has happened and now they have to decide on an opening partner for Smith and what to do with the slow bowling slot. There are still questions mark about the 5 and 6 positions. Duminy looks out of form and De Villiers disappointed. There's no doubting his attacking ability but his mental approach doesn't convince me yet. It's like watching Michael Clarke bat in 2005. You could sense there was a lot of ability but somehow it wasn't quite clicking. With Kallis getting older, I wonder if he may take on the opening position. His technique is more than strong enough to do it and it's unlikely he'll be asked to bowl the number of overs that he used to bowl. With Kallis and Smith opening, Amla at 3, I'd feel much happier with De Villiers in at 4, Prince at 5, and to continue with Duminy at 6. Duminy may well have ended the international career of Paul Harris too, particularly with Imran Tahir lurking in dispatches. I expect to see Harris signed up as a Kolpak player for a county side in the future.

    For England, I don't think many things have been unearthed that we didn't know beforehand. The Number 3 slot is still a problem. Ian Bell showed some fight but still isn't a rock solid certainty. The openers will carry on as they are and it is heartening to see more runs from Cook. Trott is a strange case. He looked solid at the start but increasingly erratic when Steyn returned to the side. Given that Steyn played for Warwickshire in the past, is there some history between Steyn and Trott?

    Pietersen is a major issue. Last winter in the West Indies, he looked thoroughly disinterested for obvious reasons. He thrives on challenge but there's also a huge part of him that was hurt by how he was treated as captain. He doesn't look to be enjoying his cricket. If I were Andy Flower, I'd tell KP to go and play in the IPL this winter. Forget England in Bangladesh, just go out to India, and enjoy batting again in a different environment, and get the enjoyment of the game back into his system.

    Collingwood was magnificent. He has no centuries to his name on this tour but his scores count for more than the total number of runs accumulated. He and Swann should be rightfully proud of their efforts in South Africa.

    Of the bowlers, the need for a paceman is evident. The squad had too much of one thing running through it (Anderson, Broad, Plunkett, Onions, Mark Davies as a squad call up early on). We need someone who might spray it around a bit but who can rough up the lower order. The biggest bowling disappointment was Anderson in the final Test.

    Overall player of the series for me: Dale Steyn. Smith's influence is enormous but Steyn's is equally as important from the bowling viewpoint. Of all the South Africans playing right now, he is the one with the X-Factor, that ability to do something special regularly. Morkel might get to that point soon but Steyn is comfortably the best quick bowler in the world right now.

    So what now for England? Hopefully they will send a real development XI to Bangladesh and throw some new players in and experiment.

  • Comment number 49.

    Sir Geoff said several times during this match. "What **was** he thinking ...". Michael Vaughan again said on TMS today that so much of what went wrong in this match was down to "mindset". This team & what ever succeeds it can not move on without addressing this root-cause problem. The higher ranked players here - Colly, Swann at least seem to have got the "mindset". Where to go next. Bangladesh will be rubbing their hands together if England can be rattled without too much ado.

    How does one develop the right "mindset" !

  • Comment number 50.

    Points pretty fair to me - some really disappointing performances here. Sadly the whole thing was just deflated by Strauss first ball of the game - you could see the dressing room just go to pieces, and then we had Trott and Pietersen come and attempt to 'steady' the ship with some truly woeful top order batting.

    About time that Collingwood finally gets his dues in my book - I've been saying for years that he would be my first name on the team sheet. Test cricket isn't just about 'raw talent' or being the 'best player' in the team (labels which seem reserved for Pietersen).

    I think Anonymous (38) has it spot on - it's about having the guts and adaptability to tough it out, and I see little evidence that Pietersen has what it takes.

    Crazy suggestion, but what about Collingwood up to 3...? I know it's a bit left field, but, he has the mental strength to drop anchor, he's able to battle through some tough new ball spells (Steyn in third test), and he's quite capable of scoring at 75, or even run a ball?

  • Comment number 51.

    Thing to remember about Pietersen is that he has one good innings in eight, the rest are at best cameo and at worst walk on/walk off parts. His good innings was 81 in the second innings of the first test, not bad considering he had been laid up for several months, his next good one isn't due until the second Bangladesh test when everybody will rave about how good he is, forgetting not only this series but that he only scored five in a test a couple of days previously as well.

    Bell is also subject to selective amnesia. I really hope Bell has finally found something, but I'm afraid two good innings and a couple of good balls, does not yet equal an unqualified success.

    Personally, I would rather have four 'Collingwood/Boycott' clones as batsmen, not elegant, but will graft for a reliable 30-50 runs each even if it takes all day, than our four pretty batsmen- Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Bell who will on occasion get belting scores. Not advocating such a change and I would struggle to think of that many candidates, certainly Luke Wright would not be one of them, but the chance of England batsmen reaching 200+/4 runs between them would be much improved!

    Bowling, we obviously have seam problems.

    Can't knock Sidebottom, considering he hadn't bowled in anger for nearly 12 months he did well and he is still the only England bowler with a strike rate of less than 30.

    Anderson tries hard, but is scyzophrenic. Good days he is very good, bad days the word 'good' is not used.

    Onions seems to be a more reliable version of Anderson, though he does not get as much swing, a long term prospect.

    Broad is picking up bad habits and like the early Anderson is pushed in to bowling in a style that simply does not suit him. Let him simply bowl line and length with an occasional short one to keep batsmen honest and he will be fine.

    Don't mention Harmison/Mahmood/Plumkett. Yes pace is there, but the major requirement: Balls should be near the wicket more often than not, certainly is not.

  • Comment number 52.

    Collingwood at 3 is a terrible idea. He struggles hugely against the ball leaving him and is always a candidate for caught in the slip/gully region.

    I think Sidebottom a 5 is a touch harsh.

    He quite clearly got Smith on 15 and should have had De villiers for much less.

    Well done SA-they looked alot hungrier than we did and have more firpower in the bowling attack.

    Parnell is a quality young bowler

  • Comment number 53.

    Russian, would you care to eloborate on your deeply considered remark? Are you saying that the Ryan Sidebottom who carried the England attack through the first half of his career was never any good? Or that he is still up there with the best?

    two years ago he would have exploited the same conditions that the South African pacemen found so to their liking and done it superbly; I wonder if, after two English seasons of injury, he will get that sparkle back.

  • Comment number 54.

    Sorry to be off the pace, but could someone please explain why we are now using 'being behind the eight ball' to mean (I assume) 'being comprehensively outplayed'? e.g splendidsparrow (20) and Andrew Strauss in his post-match interview?

  • Comment number 55.


    "Personally, I would rather have four 'Collingwood/Boycott' clones as batsmen, not elegant, but will graft for a reliable 30-50 runs each even if it takes all day, than our four pretty batsmen- Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Bell who will on occasion get belting scores. Not advocating such a change and I would struggle to think of that many candidates, certainly Luke Wright would not be one of them, but the chance of England batsmen reaching 200+/4 runs between them would be much improved!"

    If you had four Collingwood clones then your batting line-up would be very one-dimensional. You need the grafters as much as you need the attacking Pietersens of this world. Watching Ponting and Clarke bat together in the current Test against Pakistan was a case in point. On the first day of their partnership, Clarke played the circumspect role and Ponting was far more attacking. The next morning, Ponting took a long time to really get back into boundary mode and Clarke took over. It was superb to see two players batting well together and helping one another along. If you had four Boycotts, then you'd have a slow scoring rate and half your side would be run out!

    "Don't mention Harmison/Mahmood/Plumkett. Yes pace is there, but the major requirement: Balls should be near the wicket more often than not, certainly is not."

    Harmison and Mahmood should be mentioned because we need that type of player. We have a set of bowlers right now who bowl good lines and who don't disappear for many runs. What we don't have is someone who might give away a few runs but who bowls those two or three unplayable balls that get wickets. A year ago Morne Morkel was not looking good. He went away, worked on his game, and now look at him. England's attack suffered through having no pace variation in terms of outright speed. A genuine paceman makes all the difference. Look at how New Zealand's attack looked without Shane Bond and then the difference he made in his brief return to Test cricket before retirement.

    Lots of people might throw names like Mark Davies or James Harris into the equation but the reality is that they aren't much different to the personnel already playing for England. We have a mass of mid 80s bowlers who can seam it about or get some movement but nobody with real outright pace. Perhaps England need to be brave in the way the West Indies were with Fidel Edwards and give a guy who is raw a chance and accept that he will get wickets but will go for runs.

  • Comment number 56.

    In truth if I had been offered 1-1 before the series started I would have accepted that. In practice England were lucky not to have been thrashed and overall they were poor during the series. I have to question the Flower - Strauss leadership. Strauss is remarkably naive at captaincy and Flower appears incapable of helping him.

    Surely it is time for Pietersen to go, if that will convince him that he is not as good as he thinks he is. Strauss must tour Bangladesh. He is the captain and it is his team. He needs leadership experience at this level. I would rest Broad and try and find a decent strike bowler to experience a tour. Trott is down on confidence but he should be able to bounce back. If he doesn't he goes.

    You cannot continue to give Pietersen points for turning up. THAT is favouritism.

  • Comment number 57.

    Mr. Stargazer.

    I was not trying to downplay Ryans Sidebottom's ability, rather than to deride your OTT comment. Do you really believe that Sidebottom, then or at any other time, would have "run through" the SA innings? In a display of top class fast bowling in this Test none of the SA quicks was able to individually "run through" England. Surely you see the point.

  • Comment number 58.

    Collingwood had a great series and with a broken finger, hat's off to the lad. I thought selection was wrong for most of these matches. England have shown that the difference between having 5 bowlers vs. 6 batsmen winning and losing Test matches. I don't buy into the extra batsmen crap at all, if the top 5 batters do their job or even something close to it then with Broad, Swann, and Prior you donot need the 6th batsmen, but you always need a 5th bowler, especially where you don't have a true pace bowler, which in SA is paramount, only Flower and Strauss think different. Onions should of never been pulled and not that he would of been the answer anyhow, we need someone who can bowl an average of 90mph not hitting it once a session. There has to be someone beside Flintoff or Harmisson that can bowl over 90mph in England! Another continuing problem we have is our batsmen come good once in a tour and then nothing, make the same mistakes and give the same excuses. If each batsmen could even hit their average on a consistent basis we'd have a shot, but single digit scoring in consecutive innings, and for some matches is just no good enough for a place.

  • Comment number 59.

    Interesting that a number of posters claim Cook deserves a point more because he wasn't actually out in the first innings. Hmmmm. Despite the argument that there may have been a no ball call (I disagree- marginal, but a legal delivery) Cook DID still manage to force the umpire into making a call by missing one and getting trapped. Now, I'm no expert, but is it not the case that a batsman should defend or play so as to avoid being trapped by every ball, and not allow himself to be caught lbw on the off-chance that there might be a no-ball. Even if it wasn't a legal delivery, it was still a mistake by Cook. Half an inch further behind the line and no-one would be calling for an extra point for him.

  • Comment number 60.

    Hi Oliver

    I'm writing to you from Cape Town. I enjoyed this series so much. It was the most exciting (test match) cricket I've watched in ages. In fact - the series was so exciting, that my 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son are now Test Cricket fans. They always enjoyed the limited overs cricket (and found test cricket boring)- but this series has changed their attitudes. Well done to the Poms - you gave us a tough battle over the last few months. The Barmy Army is always very entertaining and fun to watch (and hear). You guys really have the world's best fans!


  • Comment number 61.

    Colly is the poor man's Steve Waugh. He will always give his best in a gritty way for the team. He has a limited shot selection which will be exposed if the ball moves around.But should be the first person on the team sheet - feisty and uncompromising. More a match saver than winner.

    The Pietersen saga continues because he is not English. Definitely not a no.4 Batsman (no.5) but is more likely to win matches than anyone else in the team . Why do we select him if he is that bad. I'm sure this will please our test opponents - definitely the Aussies.

    Playing a batsman at no. 6 is such a negative move. Bowlers win matches! This just shows the lack of faith they have in the current lineup. Find another bowling all rounder urgently. Either Bell bats at no.3 or he should be out of the team.

  • Comment number 62.

    Pietersen! What can you say? He's the kind of cricketer who proves the point that Test Match cricket requires more than swashbuckling bravado from batsmen. It's no accident that Collingwood has been England's most successful batter on this tour.

    He is the hard-working Beethoven of batting, as opposed to Pietersen's Berlioz. Pietersen is exhilarating when it comes off, scoring, (as it were), magnificently and with apparent ease, but Collingwood is full of struggle and introspection, and in the end all the more satisfying and valuable for that.

    I miss the years when Test matches usually lasted more than 4 days, when batsmen rationed their swashbuckles rather more than they do now.

  • Comment number 63.

    Agree with all the marks you have given. The one question mark for me about this Test would be - Weer South Africa as amazing as people are trying to make out, or was it simply because Engalnd played so badly. I would guess the visitors would have made the 54th Bournmouth scout group look world class by comparison...

  • Comment number 64.

    L A Odicean:

    "Pietersen! What can you say? He's the kind of cricketer who proves the point that Test Match cricket requires more than swashbuckling bravado from batsmen. It's no accident that Collingwood has been England's most successful batter on this tour."

    ...and no accident that it's been graft that has won out in the series with the bat on both sides. The wickets simply haven't been fast run scoring affairs.

    "I miss the years when Test matches usually lasted more than 4 days, when batsmen rationed their swashbuckles rather more than they do now."

    Oh, come on. How can you say that after two Tests in a four Test series that have gone down to the very last ball?

  • Comment number 65.

    "Oh, come on. How can you say that after two Tests in a four Test series that have gone down to the very last ball?"

    The exceptions that prove the rule. Such matches are rarer these days, but I think we can agree that they were easily the most absorbing.

  • Comment number 66.

    What is it about people. Possible no ball? If we did not have TV replays you could say that. The replay clearly shows the heel being a gnats crotchet legal. There is no debate about that except among the visually challenged.
    The law is the law; it was as legal a delivery as one bowled a foot behind the line.
    Get over it.

  • Comment number 67.

    Post #21 - battingforbell wrote:
    Bell's ball from Steyn in the first innings was not a straight one but an in-swinger - see the ball analysis available in the press etc. Everyone agreed it was an absolute brilliant ball. Even Steyn admitted he didn't know he had swung it that much. Bell's 35 far outstripped all other players except our gallant Colly. Therefore his 4 does not reflect his first innings effort. If the batsmen had all made similar scores we would have posted a decent total. So please explain why no recognition of his first innings against other batsmen collapsing in both innings. The Colly-Bell partnership in the first innings was the only thing between us and total collapse.
    What he says! You've done right by Bell in the previous two matches Oliver and if other batsmen are getting 3s for doing nothing, Bell definitely deserves more than 4.

    Broad's attitude and quick temper are becoming increasingly tiresome. This morning he took an age to get to the middle and when, quite rightly, given out he once again hung around and refused to leave the field. This young man needs to grow up. He's been encouraged by too many people to think that what he is showing is "character" and "competitiveness". It's not, it's arrogance, immaturity and an inability to control himself in certain situations. He said in a newspaper article last week that he just wants to win and he doesn't care if people don't like him. Just as well, Stuart, I think you are losing a lot of friends at the moment.

  • Comment number 68.

    L A Odicean wrote:

    "The exceptions that prove the rule. Such matches are rarer these days, but I think we can agree that they were easily the most absorbing."

    England's win was absorbing. The Test match here was a great South African display. Throw in two Tests that go to the last ball and the whole series was excellent entertainment. The Australia-WI series was good to watch, Australia also fought back against Pakistan, the Pakistan-NZ series was good to watch as well, and right now we have the whipping boys of Bangladesh making India look foolish. After the dreadful Tests in Pakistan on dead wickets, other series have shown just how good a spectacle Test cricket can be and is.

  • Comment number 69.

    Can't quibble with your ratings Oliver. Can we check Collingwood's and Swann's DNA? I'm sure there must be some Southern African blood in there somewhere - they both display the kind of winning attitude which I'm familiar with having grown up in Rhodesia (home of the Flower brothers, the Pithey brothers, Colin Bland, Graeme Hick, Paddy Clift, Mark McNulty and many other fine winners).

    They don't display the bad attitudes of the petulant Broad and Anderson, nor do they cheat by slowing the game down (or "taking time out of the game" as Nasser Hussain euphemistically calls it) or ball-tampering. Having said that, Messrs Strauss and Trott need to return to their roots to rid themselves of their worrying tendencies towards Aussie "sportsmanship".

    As for KP, give the guy a break! He has come back from serious injury and people expect him to fire on all cylinders! Get real. Okay, he may have issues off, and he will no doubt still be smarting from his treatment over the captaincy - and who can blame him? At least as Captain, he would never have dreamed of not going to Bangladesh with his team. And besides, I don't see a huge queue of potential home-grown replacements ..... do you?

  • Comment number 70.


    Just my tuppenceworth, Smith may be reviled as he regularly seems to be the first eo whine like a baby regarding any potential injustice towards his team, yet is the first to abuse the rules and etiquette of the game if it means he can gain an advantage. Once again, this has been proved during this match. The class-less Micky Arthur does little to help.

    It is a pity, because to be fair, he comes accross well in post-match interviews, and I am often left sitting there thinking 'why do you have to be such a t*** on the pitch sometimes'.

    And with regards to your dig re: good old English names - well lets see....Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis, Jean Paul Duminy, Paul Harris, Wayne Parnell, Graham Smith!......all gold old South African names?

  • Comment number 71.

    If you had four Collingwood clones then your batting line-up would be very one-dimensional. You need the grafters as much as you need the attacking Pietersens of this world. Watching Ponting and Clarke bat together in the current Test against Pakistan was a case in point. On the first day of their partnership, Clarke played the circumspect role and Ponting was far more attacking. The next morning, Ponting took a long time to really get back into boundary mode and Clarke took over. It was superb to see two players batting well together and helping one another along. If you had four Boycotts, then you'd have a slow scoring rate and half your side would be run out!

    Ah to have a Ponting or a Clarke for England!
    You can't honestly claim Collingwood is a single dimensional player, from recent history he is probably the most multi-capability player in the England team, capable of stalwart defense and, when circumstances permit, spritely attack. Pietersen offers, attack, or near abject failure.
    Nor do I see four Collingwood clones, playing for the team, running themselves out Pietersen like in a vane attempt to put a run on his personal score?
    I grant that perhaps 'clone' was the wrong word to use, 'style' might be better and I agree we need players who play with flare, but not at the expense of reliability.

    The same sentiment goes to bowling. Flintoff was a good bowler, at least five balls of each over was aimed at the stumps and batsmen had to play. Mahmood/Plunkett and recently Harmison, are not. Each averages seven balls in an over, of which only one has to be played. Wickets come from surprise rather than ability.

  • Comment number 72.

    Antiwhinger - think your rant undermines your name, to be honest

  • Comment number 73.

    I reckon for the way he got out in both innings Prior deserves a 2, his one today was just completely braindead.

    A wonderful series to watch, a real shame we don't have a 5th test to get a winner.

    Worth pointing out now that in the last 2 test series England have now only managed 4 hundreds in 9 tests so the batting is pretty consistently not firing as a unit, especially in the 1st innings. The Swann/Anderson partnership was what really saved that 1st test because otherwise the South Africans would have had a big lead and been able to declare much earlier.

    I really don't see why Strauss isn't going to tour Bangladesh. If he is in need of a 'rest' then he could sit out the ODI's like Ponting did for a few matches after the Ashes but as captain he should do his job and lead his team. Given that he has never captained in the sub-continent you'd think he be keen to get some experience of the conditions. Anderson's knee issues mean that he is the only one who should really be considered for a rest, the rest of the players should all play in the Tests.

  • Comment number 74.

    I have completely lost patience with the England selection process:
    1. Harmison should have been selected for the tour, we need a strike bowler, and he is the best that we have got to choose from.
    2. Dumb Slog needs to shape up or ship out. He should be our number three. He needs to play responsibly. He needs to realise that he is not "the king" and cannot keep playing off to leg. He has been found out
    3. Sidebottom is not, nor never will be a penetrative bowler, dropping Onions was a big mistake

  • Comment number 75.

    #41 Mr Spenididsparrow you need to go and look at what happened rather than voicing your "blind" support for your "aussie mate", who has been sub standard as an ICC umpire for a long time. It is not just concentration that is needed it is judgement! As a third umpire I suggest your support of Harper as giving his all is rather flawed as the concentration that is needed is on the replay, pity he could not find it time!

  • Comment number 76.

    It's been a great series and certainly a positive advert for five day cricket. Even my teenage son followed all the tests as opposed to his usual "Booorrring" as he walked past any TV showing a five day test in progress. Just a comment on fair play...How come Smith gets wall-to-wall flak for not walking on a edge that the review couldn't pick up? Nothing is said about Broad 1) taking an interminable and deliberately long time to get onto the field 2) essentially disputing the review which clearly showed he had gloved it 3) taking a long time to get on his bicycle. Some previous comments have drawn attention to his attitude. He thinks he's being competitive. I think he's behaving like a spoilt brat. Huge pat on the back for Paul Collingwood. My Brit mate says that he would like a team with 11 Colly's in it. Or how about 6 Colly's and 5 Swanns?

  • Comment number 77.

    Why does Jimmy get off so lightly. Does he get 4 for a brilliant catch?
    In a game where Steyn and Morkel took 7 apiece England's spearhead took 0 for 111 in 30 overs. I admit he can bowl well in helpful conditions and I can't fault him for his effort but he is just not accurate enough.
    Of all the bowlers who have taken 150 wickets or more for England, his average is the worst at 34.81. England's bowling coaches must be on easy money if they can't do anything to improve his accuracy.

  • Comment number 78.

    Poor poor showing by the England. Andy flower must be seeting and I hope he gave most of them a good rollicking for one of the poorest batting debacles I've seen in a while. The Saffa's should have won 3-1, and 1-1 is very flattering for England.

    My marks out of ten for the fourth test are:

    Andrew Strauss - 2
    Poor decision to bat and even worse batting, block the first ball. Looked like he couldn't be bothered.

    Alastair Cook - 2
    The Cook of old was back, impersonating David Gower (at his worst) wafting outside off stump as per usual.

    Jonathan Trott - 1
    He gets one for padding up and holding his bat. Useless.

    Kevin Pietersen - 0
    You need to be dropped KP. You were England captain, now you're not. Get over it.

    Paul Collingwood - 8
    Only batsmen to come out with any credit. Showed grit and bottle.

    Ian Bell - 3
    Oh dear, so much promise and capitulated as per usual. bring back Ramprakash!

    Matt Prior - 1
    His stroke choice in the second innings was crazy! What were you thinking?! Keeping is ok, but batting is a joke. Prior is a walking wicket.

    Stuart Broad - 5
    Bowling was pretty good, but please stop whining and moaning like a 10 year old. Batting needs some work on quick smart.

    Graeme Swann - 5
    Unlucky with some referrals. Betting batting avg than KP, Strauss and Trott. Nuff said.

    Ryan Sidebottom - 3
    Whay were you playing? Not his fault but his just very average these days. Go back to Notts, your England time is up.

    James Anderson - 3
    he doesn't look right. Knee problem I hope that can be sorted. He should have got lots of wickets on that pitch.

  • Comment number 79.


    I'm all for kids being converted to Test cricket so that's good news. I have an 11-year-old son also, but unfortunately he is more enamoured with Wayne Rooney's dribbling than Paul Collingwood's blocking - and that's partly because we don't have any cricket on non-pay TV here. (But also partly because, despite what the ECB says, there appears to be virtually no cricket coaching going on).


    I think South Africa were exceptional in the final Test, but not quite there for the first three. In Jo'burg I am fairly confident they would have beaten India and Australia with a performance like that. It took them the whole series to realise Steyn, Morkel and Parnell are the three seamers they need - and if they stay fit I expect them to reclaim the number one spot in the next couple of years

  • Comment number 80.


    Think you a little harsh!! As a saffa your ratings are very low being that the score shows 1-1! I however agree that we should have maybe won the series but credit must be given to England for holding on in 2 tests.

    KP is Englands best player and Im afraid thats a fact although he didnt shine on this tour he will be back that I promose you. He is the only guy that all teams fear! because he can do things and change games like nobody else in the world can do.....

    Well done on a good series....

  • Comment number 81.

    Strauss 3, Cook 4, Trott 1, Pieterson 1, Collingwood 9, Bell 4, Prior 1, Broad 4, Swan 7, Sidebottom 2, Anderson 2
    Prior has improved his keeping but not only is his batting not good enough under pressure his brain is clearly not !
    I would have dropped him from the next series for not giving a stuff about getting humiliated. It was TV off in disgust when he played that shot, how can he sit in the same dressing room room as Colly ?
    I suspect he was quickly having a beer with KP, Trott and the Saffers.
    All this about him batting at 6 is a joke he chances his arm and never plays with an understanding of the match situation
    I will reserve judgement on Jimmy as he may be injured but he does not do it often enough and blow away the top order, he has been built up to be our leader and world beater, look at his stats.
    Broad gets hammered for his attitude ( unlike Prior and KP ) but atleast he shows he cares and wants to win.
    ps how did Harper not get MOM, i firmly believe that something will come about this test match and Harper in particular in the future.

  • Comment number 82.

    lots of people are saying that paul collingwood should be rested in bangladesh, but to be honest, his and swann's batting in the second innings was the only part of that test match worth watching. if collingwood didn't play in bangladesh, theres almost no point in watching these games. i could watch cricket all day on the television normally, but england are a horrible team to watch in general. watching them bat is like watching a procession towards the pavilion, and bowling is a race between the opposition teams to get to 500. shocking

  • Comment number 83.

    I think most of your ratings are pretty fair (as always), though I may have given Prior a big fat zero and Broad one less, down to 5. I notice they only realy talk about the batsmen not turning up (and, with the exception of Colly, they are right), but we definately do not have a strike bowler, one who, on his day, can blow the top order away. Come back Harmy all is forgiven!!!!
    I am a big Strauss fan, but seeing the news that the ENGLAND CAPTAIN is not going on an England tour (especially after averaging 24 odd in SA) my opinion is changing somewhat.
    And finally are we using KP as scape goat, played some pretty ordinary shots, but was under a lot of pressure and just coming back from a long injury, surely we could never drop him, he is a quality player and will surely come back to form soon

  • Comment number 84.

    When Vaughany says with a performance like that they would have beaten India and Australia, does he mean if most of their top order get two digs and one of the biggest contributors is the thrid umpire ?
    The South Africans are good when on top bullying poor sides which England were in the last test.
    If the decisions had gone Englands way it may have been different, the only time they were under pressure they folded as usual.
    Needing to win the test as they did the pressure may well have got to them !
    ps for the guy who wanted to bring back Harmy, is that to see who has got the smaller heart him or Prior ?

  • Comment number 85.

  • Comment number 86.

  • Comment number 87.

    Is everyone aware you can email the ICC
    I emailed to see if they are looking in to Harpers performance

  • Comment number 88.

    Would love to know how a Saffer gets the nickname Russian John. If true to the form shown in UK, then he probably has a Czech grandmother or once visited Moscow as a boy. Have to agree with you on Sidebottom, he wouldn't run through anybody. His time has gone and and we should invest in youth.

    However, all those pleading for a 90mph+ county bowler to come through the ranks, I'm sorry to burst the bubble but there are none on the circuit. We will have to make do with line & length medium-quicks unless Harmy sorts himself out. Sounds grim, but I would dearly love to have 3 or 4 medium-quicks who actually COULD put the ball on a six pence 6 times an over (with a hint of movement off the seam) and not serve up a full toss or leg-side long hop once or twice. If we have to smother sides to death to win, then bring it on.

    Re: KP. Give him time, he's never going to be a Ponting/Lara/Tendulkar due to his approach so let's accept him for what he is - a flawed genius - and recognise that we're experiencing the flawed bit for a while. He'll come good.

    Thumbs up to Colly, one in the eye for the MCCers chuntering into their G & Ts about the craft of Compton & Edrich.

    Agree with the ratings, and the comment about Brett doing his job properly. If you think KP is worth a 2 then give him 2. It's your opinion, don't worry about what we think. You're not a politician!

  • Comment number 89.

    Love the endless complaints about the England team. Gotta love the British support! I thought we played pretty well. Shame we didn't win the series but 1-1 was a fair result against a team considered so much better than us. Swann continues to improve, Bell proved a point, and Collingwood confirmed he really is the engine house of the batting line up. Interesting how many people are calling for a man with close on 5000 test runs at 49 should be dropped. I'd say Trott is the man who needs to score heavily in Bangladesh as he doesn't even have runs in the bank yet.

    Get off Strauss's back. He's gone though a lot of s&&t during his time as England captain (not least from the selectors), and a couple of low scores don't suddenly undo the 50+ he's been averaging as England captain. His batting doesn't need Bangladesh and I think a rest will clear his head ready for the captaincy battles to come. Let's face it, we're going to smash Bangladesh with or without Strauss and anything less than 2-0 will be a disappointment. The biggest requirement is runs from the top order, and only if Pietersen/Trott et al fail against Bangladesh's county trundlers then questions over their places should be asked.

  • Comment number 90.

    Looking through the match reports, I think England won 2 innings out of the 8 played, scored a few hundred runs less overall than SA and so should be grateful for a 1-1 drawn series and not the 3-1 loss which would have been the fair result from a nuetral point of view. Only Collingwood, Broad and Swan produced the goods over the 4 tests

  • Comment number 91.

    My Computer's ratings of the English players for the entire 4 match series are given below:
    (1) Swann - 4 tests, 7 innings, 1 not out, 171 runs, bowled 1,262 balls, conceded 659 runs, took 21 wkts and 3 catches. Overall Rating - 9.43. Should have been declared the man of the series.
    (2) Anderson - 4 tests, 7 innings, 3 not out, 56 runs, bowled 977 balls, conceded 548 runs, took 16 wkts and 1 catch. Overall Rating - 6.01.
    (3) Collingwood - 4 tests, 7 innings, 1 not out, 344 runs, bowled 120 balls, conceded 66 runs, took 0 wkts and 8 catches. Overall Rating - 5.99.
    (4) Broad - 4 tests, 7 innings, 0 not out, 76 runs, bowled 930 balls, conceded 435 runs, took 13 wkts and 2 catches. Overall Rating - 5.47.
    (5) Bell - 4 tests, 7 innings, 0 not out, 314 runs, took 3 catches. Overall Rating - 4.95.
    (6) Cook - 4 tests, 7 innings, 0 not out, 287 runs, took 4 catches. Overall Rating - 4.60.
    (7) Onions - 3 tests, 5 innings, 5 not out, 11 runs, bowled 690 balls, conceded 366 runs, took 8 wkts. Overall Rating - 3.61.
    (8) Sidebottom - 1 test, 2 innings, 0 not out, 15 runs, bowled 186 balls, conceded 98 runs, took 2 wkts. Overall Rating - 3.49.
    (9) Prior - 4 tests, 7 innings, 0 not out, 158 runs, 12 catches. Overall Rating - 3.18.
    (10) Trott - 4 tests, 7 innings, 0 not out, 190 runs, bowled 66 balls, conceded 58 runs, took 2 catches. Overall Rating - 3.01.
    (11) Pietersen - 4 tests, 7 innings, 0 not out, 177 runs, bowled 54 balls, conceded 30 runs. Overall Rating - 2.70.
    (12) Strauss - 4 tests, 7 innings, 0 not out, 170 runs, 2 catches. Overall Rating - 2.70.


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