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Third Ashes Test player ratings

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Tom Fordyce | 05:39 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010

Perth, Western Australia

Three Tests down, two to go, 1-1 in the series.

But before we start thinking about the tensions and tribulations to come, let's finish off the post mortem from the Waca.

Usual rules apply - use my thoughts as a springboard for your own and then dive in to the debate.


Andrew Strauss - 5
His most difficult three and a bit days of the tour so far. Scored a half-century in England's first innings as his side cruised to 78-0 before the dreaded collapse set in, and failed - as did so many others - when disciplined batting was required in the second. Has scored just 178 runs in the series to date, almost two-thirds of them coming in a single innings at the Gabba, and now faces a stern test of his leadership skills in restoring the morale and self-belief of a team that has just been soundly thrashed.

Alastair Cook - 3
After the superlative deeds in Brisbane and Adelaide, England's leading run-scorer came back down to Perth with a bump. When Mitchell Johnson took his wicket early on the second morning it presaged both an England collapse and the rebirth of Johnson as a Test bowler, although neither could be blamed on Cook. Overtaken by Mike Hussey as the best batsman in the series so far, but that particular head-to-head is not over yet.

Jonathan Trott - 3
Looked uncomfortable against the short ball throughout on the bouncy Waca track. Trapped bang in front by the brutal late inswing of Johnson on the second day and then, having done the hard work on Saturday evening, poked at one he could have left. Will be hoping the pitches at the MCG and SCG have less spice and grass.

Kevin Pietersen - 1
In Adelaide, Pietersen looked like the best batsman in the world - rock-solid in defence, faultless in shot selection, brutal in attack. Here in Perth, he barely got started, playing across the line as Johnson worked his magic in the first innings and then playing a horrible needless waft off the back foot in the second just when his side - and the match situation - required patience. The prospect of 95,000 Australians screaming for his blood at the MCG is exactly the sort of motivation he will enjoy.

Paul Collingwood - 2
Began the match with one of the great slip catches to get rid of Ricky Ponting, but receives his marks almost entirely for that. Looked a walking wicket against Johnson's late in-dippers, and with an average in the series of just 15 is the man most under pressure in the England batting-order. Still unlikely to be dropped - he is too valued within the team, and Eoin Morgan has neither the form nor Test pedigree to be a guaranteed better option - but desperately needs runs to silence the critics.

Ian Bell - 6
Continues to look accomplished every time he comes to the crease, and has been undone as much by the prospect of running out of partners as anything else. England must now decide whether to risk more of the same by leaving him at six, or shuffling the batting order to give him more of a chance. Most likely is a straight switch with Collingwood at 5, although he could also move up to four to protect Pietersen from the danger of a swinging new ball.

Matt Prior - 6
Impeccable behind the timbers, Prior has looked a far superior wicketkeeper to his opposite number Brad Haddin; some of his takes down leg-side were exceptional. With the bat, however, he failed to make any significant contribution when his side needed him to step up. Averaging 16 in the series, aided in large part by his not out 27 in Adelaide.

Graeme Swann - 3
Took the prize scalp of Mike Hussey on the first afternoon, but from then on failed to make any real impact. Curiously denied the chance of a decent spell in the second innings as Australia took the game away from England, and will be glad to leave the Waca wicket behind.

Chris Tremlett - 8
His eight wickets across the match represented a splendid second coming for the giant Surrey fast bowler, and he bowled with control and menace throughout. Found the perfect testing length on the first morning to help blow away the Aussie top order and kept his side in the game with his first Test five-for on the third day. Guaranteed to keep his place for the denouement.

James Anderson - 4
Snagged the big wickets of Ponting and Haddin on Thursday but then struggled to maintain both menace and parsimony. Took only the late tail-end wicket of Peter Siddle in the second innings and looked weary in the Western Australia heat. As nightwatchman turned down a late single on Saturday night that might have saved his senior partner Collingwood and copped an earful of abuse from the fielders when the wicket fell to the last ball of the day.

Steven Finn - 5
To be England's leading wicket-taker in the series in your first Ashes and aged just 21 is a great achievement. Despite that Finn might now be rested for the fourth Test, his scalps here expensive and his line increasingly awry. England's bowling plans require their attack to squeeze the life out of opposition batsmen once the shine has gone from the ball, and Finn's tired profligacy may cost him his place - however harsh that might seem.


Shane Watson - 7
Plumb in front as Australia's top order was skittled early on, he led the charge in the second innings with his usual muscular thump. Although still vulnerable at gully on the drive, his shots down the ground were authoritative and his bearing serene until the dreaded 90s ticked round again. Let himself down with backchat to Umpire Erasmus when his dismissal for 95 was confirmed by TV umpire Aleem Dar.

Phillip Hughes - 1
At no stage in either innings did he look comfortable or out of the bad trot that has dogged him all season. The selectors may have had few other options at the top of the order, but his continued presence there is giving England no sleepless nights.

Ricky Ponting - 2
Two more failures with the bat mean he now has just 83 runs from six innings in the series, a woeful return for such a great player. Most watchers believe he is more out of luck than out of form, but with his 36th birthday now in the past, another failure in Melbourne, if he is fit to play after fracturing a finger, would set the tongues wagging. Deserves credit for getting his team fired up after the shambles of Adelaide, even if the performances of his bowlers rather disguised some strange field placings and tactics.

Michael Clarke - 2
Having managed just 24 runs in the match, Clarke continues to look a shadow of the classy player he can be at his best. Still looks uncomfortable against the short ball despite lots of work in the nets, he may yet end up skippering his country in Melbourne if Ponting's fractured finger fails to heal in time. Had he not been vice-captain, would now be facing more searching questions about his place in the side.

Mike Hussey - 9
Another superlative display in front of his home crowd. Australia batting coach Justin Langer says he has never seen his old pal playing so well, and has compared his form to that of Brian Lara. Six consecutive scores of over 50 in Ashes matches, a cumulative total of 517 runs in the series and an average of over 100 without a single not out in there to boost his figures. Without his runs, Australia may already have lost the Ashes.

Steve Smith - 3
Having failed to hang about in the first innings, he never looked settled even when he remained at the crease in the second. Given no chance to show his leg spin, he still looks two places too high at six. Good work in the slip cordon boosts his marks.

Brad Haddin - 6
Had his worst moment of the series so far when he stood motionless on the second morning as an edge from Strauss passed straight between him and Watson at first slip, but contributed enough with the bat to mask his limitations with the gloves. A spiky, combative character, he enjoyed sending each English batsman on his way.

Mitchell Johnson - 10
Just as the 0 he received in the ratings after Brisbane seemed fair, so does the maximum here. Top-scored in his side's first innings to rescue them from the abyss and then produced one of the great spells of fast bowling in an Ashes Test to blow the England middle order apart with a spell of four wickets for nine runs. Will he be able to produce the same in Melbourne? No-one really knows, but for now he has dragged his nation right back into the contest.

Ryan Harris - 9
The best Australian bowler in the mess at Adelaide, he continued his progression with a splendid display of fast bowling - accurate, with an ideal length and consistent hostility. His 6-47 off 11 overs in the second innings were the best figures of his career; only a flare-up in his chronic knee injury can keep him out of the attack for the remainder of the series.

Peter Siddle - 4
Just one wicket in the match, and that a fortunate one as Prior played on, but swung his bat with effect in his side's first innings to help put on a precious 67 runs for the last two wickets. Relatively inexpensive, he is likely to keep his place at the MCG for his role as a cog in the four-man Aussie pace machine.

Ben Hilfenhaus - 7
May have taken only one scalp in the match, but the control he offered his skipper was priceless. Five wickets fell when he was bowling at the other end as his tight line and length squeezed the runs from England's batsmen. Unlucky to be dropped for Adelaide, he is unlikely to suffer the same fate in either of the remaining two matches.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Can't really disagree with those marks. Hopefully this will be the wake up call that England need to remind them that this is a contest.

    Really feel that England played a major part in their own downfall in this match, with the dreaded 'complacency' rearing it's ugly head.

    England have proved they are a good unit, with match winners, but as poor as the Aussies have been, they were never going to spend the entire series bent over a barrel. I know we may have reminded our Antipodean cousins how badly they have played, but deep down we all knew they weren't going down without a fight.

    Come on England, and sort it our for Melbourne.

  • Comment number 2.

    Collongwood has to be dropped. His fielding ability is no excuse not to.

    I'm an accountant and if I did my job as badly as he is batting, I wouldn't be able to save myself from the chop by saying....'hang on, I do make the best tea in the office though.....'

    If Prior wasn't batting so badly, I think they'd consider it. But as it is, I now have a VERY bad feeling about the rest of the series....

  • Comment number 3.

    In general, I think you've got the Aussies right, although I would have also given Johnson a 9 since he was level pegging with Harris and Hussey in my opinion. Then again I don't think there has been a pefect performance yet so I'd never give a 10. For England I think you have gone a mark too low all the way in the same way as you went a mark too high for the Second test.
    Interesting that both captains are starting to be questioned for their motivational abilities when situations are at their lowest ebb. Day 1 of Melbourne is going to decide the series I think, but I can still only see 3-1 or 2-1 in favour of England.

  • Comment number 4.

    The WACA is what it is, a banker for the Aussies. Let's forget it and move on. The main thing is for the players not to lose confidence at the MCG based on the WACA, it's a one-off wicket.

    Too many people go on about complacency when a loss follows a win. It's sport. That's all - and the Aussies are nowhere near as bad as the media made them out to be. This is the Ashes - everyone's up for it.

  • Comment number 5.

    Almost entirely accurate but for one minor detail...of the so-called 95000 Australians expected at the G on Boxing, I would say approx 60% will be English...but even if there WERE 95000 Australians they would hardly be baying for KP's blood loud enough to put him off his game, as 95000 Australians in a sporting crowd make approximately as much noise as 3500 at Moss Rose Macclesfield on a freezing Tuesday night in February.

    The defeat in Perth may not be the worst thing in the world as it ensures that the bone-headed narcissist Andrew Hilditch will feel sufficiently vindicated as to persist with the same team of whom exactly five are under-achieving and not worth their place in the team. Latest news is that Punter will probably play thus saving Australia from the only thing worse than his captaincy - that of Michael Choke.

    The defeat also proves that the press of each nation have acted like a collection of prats in championing up the English before they had achieved a blessed thing, and in condemning Aus and in particular Hussey before they were beaten.

    I wonder what odds on 2-2 with an English win in Sydney to retain the urn?

  • Comment number 6.

    Correct marks. One thing I would say about the Collingwood situation. For years, Jonty Rhodes was the best fielder in the world, but can anyone remember a top drawer innings of his?

    I said it'd be 2-1 to the Aussies at the start of the series, and am annoyed I didn't back Hussey when his odds were quite high to be top scorer of the series.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    I think you are harsh on Cook... It's hardly his fault if the ones following get out and neither of his dismissals were to particularly poor shots. He's not someone who gives his wicket away lightly. Strauss played worse shots in both innings yet you score him higher which can hardly be for his captaincy in this particular match so must be for getting out for 50-odd rather than 30-odd in the first innings. I would actually say that Strauss getting out in the first innings was a bigger problem than Cookie's.
    I reckon 5 for Cook and 4 for Strauss would be fairer. Other than that, not much to argue about. Gresham will play at Melbourne but expect Collingwood to get one last chance - but batting at six... Bell to four not a bad shout but suspect it will just be to five.

  • Comment number 9.

    For some reason the iPad wants to change Bresnan's name for me... The unknown Gresham would be a surprise inclusion

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Collie is known for his nuggety innings when backs are against the wall. He hasn't produced anything when the match was tailor made for him and so provides little except for his fielding. Bring in Bresnan as a failsafe. We cannot afford another injury to one of our quicks. Over using them will only increase the likelihood of this happening.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think 2 is a bit harsh for Collingwood considering he did take that miraculous catch as well as bowl a few handy overs in order to allow the seamers to take a rest, picking up a wicket it in the process.

    Here's my blog on the Ashes so far:

  • Comment number 13.

    For the next test we need to think about some changes!!! I'd stick with pietersen and finn mainly because changing too much never helps, but i would look to bring in bresnan as he cant score less than colly and is a good option with the ball......and having davies keeping who could bat further up is a good option to get some runs.

    1. Strauss
    2. Cook
    3. Trott
    4. Pietersen
    5. Bell
    6. Davies (wk)
    7. Bresnan
    8. Swann
    9. Tremlett
    10. Anderson
    11. Finn

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm certainly of the opinion we need to make changes and Bell needs to move up the order. I'd certainly advocate this line up

    1. Strauss
    2. Cook
    3. Trott
    4. Bell
    5. Pietersen
    6. Prior (wk)
    7. Bresnen
    8. Swann
    9. Tremlett
    10. Anderson
    11. Finn

    This is what I was suggesting to people before the match, although admittedly I didn't move Pietersen as he looked in fine form. However I feel coming into the MCG we've got a nice break and due to this match finishing early the bowlers should be rested enough to take 4 again. So personally I'd go for the left field choice like Trott was back in 2009 sure up our batting a little bit more and select James Hildreth out of the performance squad. After the First-class season he's just had he deserves a shot. Also at the age of 26 he'll be player who'll stick around for sometime to come, if he takes his chance well.

    1. Strauss
    2. Cook
    3. Trott
    4. Bell
    5. Pietersen
    6. Hildreth
    7. Prior (wk)
    8. Swann
    9. Tremlett
    10. Anderson
    11. Finn

  • Comment number 15.

    I think everyone is going a little bit over the top with their slatting of Colly (who was the saviour of Cardiff last year, lest we forget). I'm a huge fan, but obviously have to admit he's been less than average with the bat pretty much all year. The old adage though that class is permanent, form is temporary is so much more true with cricket than most sports. The man has more than earned the right to have the rest of the series to find some runs, and if he doesn't he'll still save at least 20 runs an innings just with more than world class fielding and catching. All those baying for his blood now are exactly the same people who wanted Cook's head in the summer! Chopping and changing was on no-ones agenda 5 days ago when they thought England would win the series with a canter.

  • Comment number 16.

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

  • Comment number 17.

    Overly harsh on a number of Aussies in my view, given that they mullered us... I didn't think this would happen, but we batted with arrogance in the first innings and fear in the second.

    What I don't get is how can we now be calling for wholesale changes just one match after beating them by an innings. The only change from that side was Tremlett and he can't exactly take the blame for such a turnaround, can he?!?

    It was a complacent performance - pure and simple, but we still only need to win one of the last two matches to retain the trophy (or draw them both).

    The problem in the last match wasn't a lack of bowlers, or even a lack of bowlers playing well. Even if we hadn't let them get the last 80 or so runs in the first innings, we would still have lost!! We lost because of two batting collapses, so unless you think Bresnan is going to halt that, then we are barking up the wrong tree. Whether he would bowl better than Finn is another question.

    The key selection issue for me is Morgan for Collingwood. I would give Collingwood one more game, probably at 6 with Bell at 5 - Colly's career is filled with fighting performances when the chips are down - and contrary to the opinion of some, I believe that fielding is one third of the game (although Morgan is not far behind in that area).

  • Comment number 18.

    @15- I agree completely with number 16. How has he earned the right. He has 20 bad innings, saves himself with a painful hundred, then settles back into 20 more failures. At least Hussey followed 20 failures with 6 big scores. Collingwould has never, and never will, be able to do that.

    If you're an Aussie, who are you more pleased to see walking to the crease at the MCG, the walking wicket Collingwood, or the exciting, unpredictable, unknown Morgan who you're not sure how to bowl to. No contest for me.

  • Comment number 19.

    Finn 5 Anderson 4 ? Jimmy may have "looked weary" in the Australian 2nd innings but he was easily England's most economical bowler and with a bit of luck would have had a few wickets , while Finn rather released pressure with the number of free boundaries he offered. Not to knock Finn as he did take early wickets and I see him as a real prospect , but I think overall these two marks don't look quite right. I'd also up Collie one for his tidy bowling but rating points are always a bit iffy in cricket so I can't really complain.
    Aussie marks pretty fair though I'd have Hussey on a level with Johnson - in a low scoring match his batting really stood out. Probably 9.5 each as I think you keep 10s for Lara/Laker/Gooch/Massie etc performances - I'm sure you can pick the matches concerned.

  • Comment number 20.

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

  • Comment number 21.

    @3 - you wouldn't consider what Johnson did with both bat and ball a perfect game? His wickets not only game cheaply but against batters who had been on fire. Unplayable balls he also outscored any English batter.
    As for changes, Prior should stay, it is more important to have a reliable wicketkeeper than a wk-batter, especially when he has the potential to hit big runs, others above him should perform better and he was very unlucky to play on the way he did. Bell up to five is good, any higher and we may see the jitters that plagued his early career, he has found a good spot and I wouldn't want to move him too far from it.
    As for Colly, Tom Fordyce made the very good point that he is big in the dressing room as well as on the pitch. He isn't a top batter or bowling, average at both, but just having him on the pitch is a big boost to players and bowlers knowing that an edge to him is likely to be taken.
    Bresnan for Finn is a tough one though, Bresnan should score more runs, but will he take the wickets? I think Bresnan for Finn, batting at 8 with Bell at 5 and Colly at 6 might be all the changes made. But if the MCG pitch is like the one at the WACA then Finn might be better suited.

  • Comment number 22.

    I agree with the marking.
    Colly won't be dropped but Bell has got to move higher up the order.
    Finn has done great in the series so far but he looks desperate for a rest. Play Shahzad at the MCG for his agressiveness & his ability to get reverse swing, plus he can bat a bit.

  • Comment number 23.

    England would certainly benefit from a decent all rounder to enable them to play with 5 bowlers, and they have one. Unfortunately he is with the development squad - Chris Woakes. Still, he is in Oz so the selectors should admit their mistake and call him up with no delay. Please do not tell me that Bresnan is an all rounder. He is as likely to score runs as the Pope.

  • Comment number 24.

    Papa shango - I agree, has Colly ever won a game for England? Can't recall it if he has. He's living on past glories when his batting looks worse than Ponting's or Clarke's. However, I don't think Morgan is the best replacement. That'd be either Hildreth, McGrath or Taylor at 6 with Bell at 5. For now, swap Belly & Colly around and wash our hands of the brigadier for next summer's tests.

  • Comment number 25.

    Ponting surely deserves a bit more credit for keeping his team interested after their awful start to the game. Given that none of them got a score to speak of in the match, the difference between Trott, KP and Collingwood in this match seems to come down to Collie's catch which was a key part of putting England into a position from which they really should have won the match. I'd give him the last bad of the 3 scores for that reason. Not sure what Finn did to out-score Anderson in this game.

    I'd be wary of big change for the next test. In principle I would love to see England play 5 bowlers, but that would obviously mean dropping Collingwood, which I'm not ready to do. England's fielding has contributed to keeping Ponting and Clarke out of the series so far and Collingwood has been a big part of that. If Finn is shot, I'd consider Shahzad for some reverse swing - try to give Hussey and Haddin a new challenge with the old ball.

  • Comment number 26.

    I hope Colly and FInn get one more go. If you want to forget about England's pasting and wallow in the only chance you'll get this week to see someone tormenting Australia at the WACA, I've found a clip of Tendulkar hitting 114 there in 1992, along with some other vids and stats of the great man to celebrate his 50th ton:

  • Comment number 27.

    Agree with those marks I think. Looks like Finn might be rested for the next Test as well. Although he'd the leading wicket taker for us I think it's probably a good idea. Only playing with 3 quicks is tiring them out which is another reason why Bresnan coming in for Collingwood would be a good idea. He's a better bowler and the way Collingwood's batting at the moment he can't be worse in that department either. Prior should stay though. Although his batting's not been great so far his keeping's going well (except for one drop) and Davies didn't do anything in the warm up match to really put the pressure on.

  • Comment number 28.

    Good marks,
    Cook is a bit hard done by!

  • Comment number 29.

    Not one mention of how poor Swann has been with the bat, and for a long time too. I can't believe he was above Broad at one point.

    He's been great with the ball, obviously, but he hasn't helped our tail wag when its really counted in a long time. Obviously there's no question about him being dropped but he needs to get this side of his game up to scratch because it isn't as though he hasn't got the ability.

  • Comment number 30.

    as i have said in previous threads. i can see 2 changes being made Morgan and Bresnan for Finn and Colly. Although the Morgan/Colly change will probably happen in Sydney once we have retained the ashes in Melbourne

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.


    I have finally come round to agreeing with you regarding Collie, it's time to let him go and bring in Morgan. Bresnan would lead to more possibilities but the left hand aspect of things is never one to be looked awayt from.

  • Comment number 33.

    In the end it's only worth making changes if you're reasonably confident that they'll make the side stronger. Presumably one has to assume that Morgan is in the touring party as the back-up batsman first in line for a call if needed. He's hardly had a sniff so far and did precious little in his one outing on tour to suggest he's full of runs and confidence. While Collingwood hasn't done much with the bat thus far, I'm not sure that replacing him with a one day specialist whose ability to hack it in the five day game remains very open to question and who can't even be called on for a few overs if required is necessarily a positive move. Pulling someone out of the Development Squad would be even more of a gamble (and an admission of serious disaray in the ranks)- though on the plus side they are likely to have had a bit more time in the middle than the fringe members of the "first team" squad.

    On the bowling front we're getting heavy hints that Finn may be "rested". This could be kidology, of course, but I'm not sure England really require two 6 foot 7ish beanpoles for a Melbourne pitch which, however hard the Aussie backroom staff my try, is most unlikely to have the pack and bounce of Perth. My suspicion was that Tremlett's selection there was a classic English "horses for courses" pick which didn't imply that he would be chosen for the remaining tests; however having emerged from the WACA fiasco as the only England player to enhance his reputation it would be pretty rank injustice to discard him. Finn is promising, takes wickets but can get a lot of tap as well; in a close game the runs he leaks could be vital. Shahzad would probably be the more "attacking" replacment for Finn, Bresnan a conservative one driven as much by worries about the batting as by hope that he'd take lots of wickets. On the basis that, if numbers 1-7 can't get enough runs it's asking a bit much for number 8 to bail them out, I'd go for Shahzad- but whoever you pick, it's a very inexperienced attack.

  • Comment number 34.


    Sadly my mistake from earlier turns out Hildreth and I assume the rest of performance squad are back in England. So the only choice really is Morgan and I don't think he'll fair well great one-day player not really a Test player in my eyes.

  • Comment number 35.

    Is it me or is the only way to get Collingwood to perform to threaten him with being dropped? If our #5 is to get any runs this series we need to raise the volume for his axing over the next few days so that he knows he's in last chance saloon!
    Prior is just as big a batting problem and 6 is a touch generous. The days of wicket keepers only being required to perform behind the stumps are over. Without Broad to bat at 8 we are back to the "6-out-all-out" days so Prior has to contribute with the bat.

  • Comment number 36.

    It's looking like a no brainer - Bresnan for Colly and no other changes except batting order advancing Bell and demoting Pietersen.

  • Comment number 37.

    What is with the slating of COllingwood. He may not be test class so much now days but he certainly used to be. England fans have short memories.

    I recall that 3 or 4 years back collingwood and pieterson had the most formiddable partnership in the world where pieterson would clatter the ball everywhere and colly just would not give away his wicket. Back in the days where the average patnership for them 2 together was well over 100.

    So please stop slating collingwood as a pile of ****. I may also add that some players are worthy of their place just for their fielding and without the amazing catch of ponting we may have been looking at another world class batsman reclaiming form which would be ominous for the nxt test.

    And he provides a useful 20 overs a match with the ball and is suprisingly economical. So i do believe he deserves a chance to rediscover some form.

    The big question mark is over KP who without the double century last match would be a certainty to be under fire. At least colly gets out trying to play the right shot wheras KP has yet again gone out swinging from the hip.

    Now we need Bell up the order, preferrably at 3 with trott at for and KP (as he wont be dropped) at 5. This gives KP a chance to swing it with the tail a little bit while giving our form batsman bell a chance to go on.

    Alas sadly Finn looked nackered which is a shame as he had up till Perth been real class. I wish we had taken PLunkett abroad with us as he has been brilliant over last 2 years, but as he isn't there it has to be shazhad.

    Finally if we are to drop colly it will have to be for either bresnan (bat and bowl) or Hildreth(in the form aussies would be scared of) and not Morgan who has not yet proven himself at the longer forms of the game. Even his 1st class average isnt great.

  • Comment number 38.

    37. At 12:24pm on 20 Dec 2010, jamesxfm wrote:
    What is with the slating of COllingwood. He may not be test class so much now days but he certainly used to be. England fans have short memories.


    You don't make any sense whatsoever. Graham Gooch used to test class, shall we draft him in? Think Boycott is in Australia too.........

  • Comment number 39.

    Theres not a lot wrong with the England team and I would'nt mess about with it to much, Colly is a good all rounder and best fielder in world! But he bats in wrong place, my team would be.
    We only have Swann who is a world class bowler, but we do have world class batters.

  • Comment number 40.

    No I agree that maybe its time for him to be dropped, however people are saying that he never was test class and that is just rubbish. His career average is not that bad so saying that he has always been useless is wrong.

    I dont mind people slating him for his performances now but not slating his entire career, especially when he was the only bit of backbone in the squad a couple of years ago.

  • Comment number 41.

    The KP Nut worries me. If he concentrated as much on his batting as he does on his his bat and the obvious obligation to his bat sponsor he would show more consistency. At Perth just when he appeared to be settling in a bit he remembered to give prime time TV exposure to his sponsor by requesting a bat change. Out came three or four new bats emblazoned with the makers logos for all the world to see under the zoomed in TV camera lens. A quick glance at the screen to admire his work and back to the crease to waft at the first ball with the new bat to give his wicket away. Then the long walk back to the shed with further exposure for his bat sponsor.

  • Comment number 42.

    Re ManUtdsince87
    As an old fashioned marker I believe we give 10s away too easily and I practice what I preach at uni! A 9 is the highest I would give for this game as no one entirely on their own changed the course of the game. Johnson's burst would have counted for nothing without Hussey's century and vice versa.
    I have seen probably 4 or 5 10s since I have been watching cricket and would agree with Alfie on Lara/Gooch/Botham/Tendulkar and possibly Gilchrist last Ashes in Australia. Look at A levels/ Degrees etc and how they've been devalued. Leave the 10s for miracles!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Can someone please ask Bob Willis to keep his mouth firmly shut and reserve judgement until the end of the series. For someone who has played the game at its highest level his naivety, arrogance and disrespect - after the first two tests - for this Australian team was palpably misplaced. To write off any Australian team is an error of judgement - we all know that in any aspect of life, things can very quickly change and confidence and belief can be restored within minutes as witnessed after Mitchell Johnson's three quick wickets in the first innings. We all, and Bob Willis in particular, write off the Aussies at our peril!!!

  • Comment number 44.

    Replacing Colly with Bresnan on the ground Bresser can bat a bit is ridiculous. It would be nearly as stupid as the Aussi's selection of Smith at 6. If Prior was hitting runs for fun you could go with 5 batsmen and Prior at 6 but the truth is you need 6 out and out batsmen in test cricket these days unless you are blessed with a World Class wk/bat (Only McCullum and Sangarkara come to mind as top 6 bats) with Dhoni, Boucher Haddin and Prior decent number 7s.

    If its true that Hildreth and the rest are at home then bring Morgan in, at least he'll get out playing a reverse paddle off a 95mph Johnson ball than tickling one behind off a ball he shouldn't have played! (though actually I have seen him get out that way a lot in his short test career!)

  • Comment number 45.

    Fair marks again Tom. Maybe I'd have given Anderson an extra mark though...

    I've got 2 XIs for Melbourne, purely on whether the pitch will suit spin or not.

    Spin Friendly:

    Strauss (c), Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Collingwood, Prior (w), Bresnan, Swann, Tremlett, Anderson.


    Strauss (c), Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior (w), Bresnan, Swann, Shazad, Tremlett, Anderson.

    Notice I've replaced Finn in both as I think he needs a rest. If Swann is unable to have the assistance to hold down an end I would play the extra bowler, to share the bowling duties around.

    It would be a big call to drop Colly from the Test team and it would probably bring an end to his Test career, however he has not produced a significant knock for some time. He did hit an important 91 at Durban last winter in a match we won (Cook & Bell got tons) but other than that I am struggling to name an innings that won us a game. I don't think Morgan is up to it (yet) so I'd only drop him in a tactical move.

    A few months ago I would have said "Bresnan is not a Test cricketer", and I still need some convincing, but he did bowl well against Aus A. He may even average more than Colly at present!

  • Comment number 46.

    I think Collingwood must have knocked Papa Shango back romantically or some such - cannot for the life of me think of any other reason for such childish and myopic remarks about his playing career. Certainly not based on "facts" anyway...

    That said, I do think Collingwood is in a run of bad form at the minute, and can't help agreeing that excellent fielding alone shouldn't be enough to keep you in the team. I reckon they should give Bell a proper chance and stick him in at 4, then drop Pietersen to 5 and Collingwood to 6 and see how that goes. We know Collie can hang around and frustrate bowlers, and perhaps going down a place would ease a bit of the pressure (especially if Bell does indeed come good and make plenty runs ahead of hime).

  • Comment number 47.


    AJM1982 what a stupid comment to make!!! Comparing your tea making skills which have nothing to do with your job to Collingwood's fielding ability which is an attribute just as integral to a good cricketing side as the batting and bowling!!!

    Where would a team be after scoring 512 in an innings if your fielders couldn't take catches from excellent bowling!!! Or prevent boundaries from poor bowling!! Or stop the opposition scoring if your batters hadnt set a decent total!!

    Now I am not saying that Collingwood has played well, because he simply has not! Yes his fielding has been of the usual high standard but his batting has been poor! What should be done is swap Bell and Collingwood around in the batting order for now!! Remember Collingwood when under pressure seems to pull excellent batting displays out of the bag!!

    Oh yes and a question for everyone out there!! Who was our World T20 winning captain????

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    I think dropping Collingwood wood be a big mistake. Don't underestimate the effect it will have on the player replacing him. Suppose AU bat first and he drops a difficult chance that Colly probably wood have taken. One such moment could be decisive. Just look at what the weight of expectation and unfamiliarity with his team mates did with Doherty. I fully agree with Aggers, 3 fast bowlers with 5 tests to play is a big gamble on their fitness, especially since Swann is far less effective on some of the australian pitches. I can see one of Anderson and Finn breaking down during the next test, leaving Strauss nowhere to go.

  • Comment number 50.

    #48 Collingwood easily in the top 5 fielders in world cricket. Morgan, good, but i remember him dropping at least 2 easy catches last summer. Morgan, deserves a chance, but lets not just lie!

  • Comment number 51.

    #47 Funtime - spot on.

  • Comment number 52.

    Seriously papa shango always right has collingwood ran over your pet dog?? has he politely turned down your offer of a wild night on the town?? has he slighted you in some dreadful way??

    i think there are quite a few people here over-reacting to a result that really should have been predicted. England do not play well in Perth, our expectations were simply too high!!

    England did not play as well as we have been, our middle order did not follow the example of Hussey or Langers advice on how to play at Perth (which was printed on this very website days before the game!) and our bowlers did not seem to be able to find the right length. And Australia did not with the exception of 4 players play well either!!

    It is not all doom and gloom and there is no need for drastic change. Bell deserves a higher place in the batting order (at the expense of Collingwood) and Finn needs to be given a rest. We are still easily capable of winning this ashes series, so instead of knee-jerk reactions lest just enjoy the games, because lets face it they have been exciting games so far, and be more sensible and pragmatic about our chances.

  • Comment number 53.

    #48... Mr "always right" hasn't shango moaned at you for stealing his name. I thought so.

    And i cant believe you just suggested Morgan is a better fielder than colly either. Are you blind. The entire England team see Colly as their best fielder and at 1 stage when we had Geraint Jones as our WK there was talk of sticking colly behind the sticks. Why is he always placed where catches are expected to go.

    Also i agree that morgan could be another Tresco, but is it wise picking him (when he was average against weaker teams) against an Australia team with confidence flowing through them away from home.

    Finally i do agree pieterson did well with the 200+ score in the previous test, however that was an easy batting track as was proven by every other england batsman getting in comfortably.I mean it was a match winning knock but could anyone ever expect him to dig in deep when England go through a mini collapse (which we do happen to do alot). I think we need a player similar to Collingwood for his ability to stick around, and i agree colly hasnt done it for a while so maybe we need someone less aggresive than morgan for when we do collapse.

  • Comment number 54.

    #21 - do you know the meaning of the word 'perfect'? If you score 60-odd with the bat as a lower order bat you have done brilliantly but it is not perfect or he wouldn't have stopped at 60 would he?

    Look, Colly won't be remebered as a world class batsman, even his biggest fans wouldn't dispute this. But, don't underestimate how unsettling for the team dumping him now would be. He's been in the side since '05, is very well respected and getting rid now, even relegating him to 6 could actually cause more havoc than his lacks runs is currently.

  • Comment number 55.

    Surely harsh on Ponting, given Strauss' comments below from 2nd test?

    Andrew Strauss - 7
    Under normal accountancy rules an opener who made only one run in the match could expect a lower rating. Strauss, though, deserves his numbers for the way he led his side to the most impressive performance from an England team overseas many could remember. Along with coach Andy Flower he has forged a unified, focused and successful team, his leadership both on and off the field a lesson in performance under pressure and attention to detail.

  • Comment number 56.

    Firstly, the marks look fairly accurate give or take a point or two here & there. Remember it is marks for this match alone, not the whole series to date. So a 2 for Collingwood should not reflect that he has been poor in the other matches, and a 9 for Hussey should not reflect that he has been good in every match.

    Then the issue of possible changes. For me there are some possibles:

    Collingwood is not in form
    Finn has been expensive lately and perhaps needs a rest

    I don't think anyone else's place is really under threat. And remember that we have already had one enforced change with Broad so can't go too crazy. The only other consideration is whether we need an extra bowler?

    Some options then:

    Bring Morgan in for Collingwood, and Bresnan or Shazhad in for Finn. Improves the batting, and (if we pick Bresnan) potentially tightens the bowling or (if we pick Shahzad) gives us a different bowling option of more pace and potential reverse swing. But Morgan is still a little unproven in Tests. If he could perform like Trott did, it would be great but I'm not sure

    Bring Bresnan in for Collingwood? As people have said, he can barely do worse than PC with the bat and is obviously much more of a bowler. And he can bat - did he not make 91 in one test? OK vs Bangladesh but he still did it.

    Bring Bresnan and Shazhad in for Collingwood and Finn? Adds depth to the bowling and arguably doesn't weaken the batting based on Collingwoods efforts so far. But against that, both are inexperienced at test level.

    The only other factor is whether either of the two forthcoming pitches are likely to be spin friendly. I suspect the Aussies will do their level best to avoid this. But if so, then perhaps Panesar comes into contention?

    Had we won or drawn this test, or had Collingwood made some runs, then I wouldn't change it. But now, with this result (and without panicking) I would make a change or two.

    Remember, it's only 1-1. We don't even need to win another test (although it would be nice). And if we do win just one more then we've retained the urn.

    It's a tough one, and I'm not sure what the best answer is. On balance, I think maybe either:

    - bring in Shahzad and Bresnan for Collingwood and Finn.
    - bring in Morgan and Bresnan for Collingwood and Finn.

    And I would move Bell up one or two places regardless

  • Comment number 57.

    Send home the WAGS- it's all their fault!

    Seriously though, this wasn't just a defeat but an alarming capitulation. No-one is surprised by a defeat at the WACA but to go out 2nd innings with a white flag tied to your bat and gently waft it outside off stump is not acceptable and wouldn't have happened if the team was Australian regardless of the circumstances.

    Colly for Morgan (or anyone who can hold a bat), Bresnan/Shadzat for a tired-looking Finn.

  • Comment number 58.

    Having read the latest BBC story, it seems that we are likely to stick with 4 bowlers but rest Finn. In which case I would:

    Move Bell up to 5 or even 4
    Bring in Shazhad (as he might be more of a surprise package for them) or Bresnan (who will probably be steadier / more economial).

    Moving Collingwood to 6 may be all he needs to re-discover some form. Bell may also benefit from promotion up the order.

  • Comment number 59.

    4 is a bit harsh on Siddle. He's job as 4th bowler is control to give the main 2 a rest and agression to dislodge set batsmen. He did all that in the first innings, roughing up Prior (17 balls - 1 run Siddle v Prior) at a time when England were still ahead in the match and the Prior/Bell partnership had got beyond the tricky opening 30 minutes phase and was settled. You could say Prior was unlucky, but his poor positioning was a culmination of Siddle's earlier agressive bowling.
    Add to that the 43 runs for once out, he certainly did everything asked of him and I'd say he did at least as much as Haddin and Watson who you scored 6 and 7.

  • Comment number 60.

    A few points I'd make.

    KP will always be a show pony..a legend one minute and terrible the next. If we are to play him, we just have to embrace that. You need to build solidity and consistency around him. Hence Id have him a bit lower down the order. Get Bell a bit higher up, hopefully build a decent platform and then KP is a wildcard.

    Collingwood is tricky - he needs to be part of the batting consistency/solidity I mentioned above. He has to focus on defending that wicket not worry about runs. His objective should be to stay in for as long as possible, let the Aussie frustration build. It's been mentioned he's great for morale, that's especially true if he's partnering up someone for an extended period at the crease..

  • Comment number 61.

    • Collie is known for his nuggety innings when backs are against the wall. He hasn't produced anything when the match was tailor made for him and so provides little except for his fielding. Bring in Bresnan as a failsafe. We cannot afford another injury to one of our quick’s. Over using them will only increase the likelihood of this happening.
    • Prior and Collinwood should be replace. Main problem for England batsmen lack of concentration and goes for bad shots. They hand more than two days of bating left but why they rushing for quick runs rather than stay longer score slowly. Peterson never understands the situation and act accordingly.
    1. Strauss
    2. Cook
    3. Trott
    4. Pietersen
    5. Bell
    6. Davies (wk)
    7. Bresnan
    8. Swann
    9. Tremlett
    10. Anderson
    11. Finn

  • Comment number 62.

    The only change Englang will make is, Finn out Bresnan or Shazad in, and put Bell up the order. Collingwood needs to bat lower down, but not kicking out of the team!

  • Comment number 63.

    Guys Guys, nobodys died, just a mediocre performence. We always have mediocre performences, so its not to bad. We're still going to stuff the Aussies! C'mon England :)

  • Comment number 64.

    Too many for Trott and KP. Time to axe the pair and only pick English players. Tired of watching KP show-boating around and thinking the other 21 players are there just to enhance his ego.

    Get in some good English boys like that young Robert Smith from Hampshire and good old Alex Lamb from Southamptonshire.

  • Comment number 65.

    I'm in basic agreement with your assessments.

    To me the game turned on England's failure to put Australia away in their first innings; at 5 down for not very many they were ready to be plucked and stuffed. Instead some strange captaincy on Strauss' part gifted them a respite and crucial runs.

    We could and should have shot the Aussies out for a little over a hundred - Hussey notwithstanding - and there would've been no way back for them from that.

    Two key takeaways on England's bowling - we really miss Broad's accuracy and parsimony and the pressure and wickets it creates - and Finn is clearly out of his depth currently at this level. As someone else observed, doubtful if he'd be on the tour if he didn't play under Strauss at Middlesex. So - like you, I expect Bresnan to come in for Finn.

    I don't expect England to discard Collingwood - he's too much the inspiration in the field, and still takes the odd key wicket D'Oliveira-style with his dobblers. Besides, Morgan is not exactly a run-machine right now. Critically we lack a grafter/nurdler in the Thorpe style, and I personally am not a fan of Pieterson's feast or famine approach to batting, and would move him down the order. swapping with Bell.

    Regarding the Aussies, I think you're overrating Johnson, who bowled excellently in patches, but also had very mundane spells. If you give that a 10, what do you reserve for a metronome like McGrath?

    I think we agree that on balance England remain the better side, with fewer problems going into the last two tests

  • Comment number 66.

    Reference the 10 out of 10 performances in Test Cricket, can we please add VVS Laxman to the list !

  • Comment number 67.

    I think 1 for Pietersen is generous. He was useless in that last test back to his bad-tempered worst. Collingwood is no good either. Bell is the mainstay of the batting and could bat at 3 and risk Bopara or Morgan. Finn is out of his depth now and needs a rest. Maybe Bresnan should start in Melbourne if the wicket is going to be green.
    HOwever, momentum is everything and Aussies have it going into back to back matches. They will win won for sure and that could be enough.
    Finally Strauss leaves a lot to be desired as skipper. Time for Swann to step up as he is the natural leader.

  • Comment number 68.

    "62. At 2:55pm on 20 Dec 2010, Miller wrote:
    The only change Englang will make is, Finn out Bresnan or Shazad in, and put Bell up the order. Collingwood needs to bat lower down, but not kicking out of the team!"
    I would agree with this, in as much as I think it's what the selector's will do. With Broad already out they will be very reluctant to make 2 more changes. Since 2005 ish I think we have seen that the policy of minimising changes works overall. I'm almost sure they will do exactly what Miller says here.

    To be honest I think it's probably the right call. The only other option I would consider is to drop Finn and bring in 2 more bowlers. The problem is that there's no-one with much experience. If we had someone with 30 odd matches behind them then maybe. But our options (even if we brought in Morgan for Collingwood, whch I doubt will happen) is that we are ditching an experienced player (albeit an out of form one) for an inexperienced one. I don't think they will take the risk.

    Prior may not have excelled but there's no chance of him being dropped for the same reason.

  • Comment number 69.

    I would rate KP as 0. His performance was poor, but a KP failure seems to drag everyone else down. It is a long time since he has held an innings together when all about him are collapsing. Once perhaps twice in a series he has produced a wonderful innings, but these are often when the opposition bowling has seemed a little fragile already. If we are to win a series we need batsmen who canbattle out a reasonable score when everything seems to be going wrong.

  • Comment number 70.

    Those calling for Prior to be dropped are havign a laugh surely?
    He WK has been almost faultless all tour (and that is what he is there for afterall). Just look at how few byes England have conceeded.
    Sure he is not batting as well as he can, but he is not alone there.

    I am a massive fan of Foster, who I think is the best w/k in the land by a mile, but all credit to Prior who has improved beyond belief in the last 18 months and completely deserves his place in the team.

  • Comment number 71.

    A tad generous for Finn, to be honest. He's picked up wickets while bowling pretty poorly - rarely starts or finishes an over without a cheap boundary.

  • Comment number 72.

    bear this in mind - it's a good job the Aussies had the stupidity to drop Johnson for the 2nd test otherwise they could well be 1-0 up in the series. I hope to god I'm wrong but this looks like an almighty and not untypical bottling by England. To lose so badly when you are allegedly such a superior side shows serious mental weakness. Strauss, Colly and Trott don't look like getting runs. This was a total and utter capitulation. And it was at the first inkling of Aussie pressure. It's only the Aussies previous ineptness and lack of confidence that gave us the illusion we were better than them. Expect normal service to be resumed with another hammering next test. They just don't have the minerals

  • Comment number 73.

    Bit extreme on some - Harris was he really a 9 or did he benefit from England throwing in the towel at the end?

    Colly is a good player and has been a loyal servany for England - I don't think his test career is over yet but should be given a break - he usually responds well when left out.

    Going forward we should aim to have 5 bowlers - and in England when Broad is fit should do that with Prior at 6 Bresnan at 7 Broad at 8 and Swann 9 gives us depth in both batting and bowling. Having 6 batsmen this time didn't stop a collapse and they weren't needed at Adelaide. It also means the top 5 have to make the bulk of the runs, so the added responsibility would be good.

    I like the idea of moving Bell to 4 and KP to 5 - with the intention that the top 4 get to 200 then Kp and the rest can come in and accelerate.

    Bowler burnout is a constant problem in a 4 man attack - 5 helps to reduce that.

  • Comment number 74.

    Good ratings for both sides
    Agree with all of them

    Now if the MCG pitch is similar to the pitch at the WACA pitch, Australia should win. But if its a flat pitch, England should win.
    The type of pitch prepared by the groundsmen in the next two test match will be very important for both sides

    I think Bell will go up the order for England and Finn will probably be replaced by Bresnan. If its a similar pitch to the WACA, I expect no changes for Australia. If it's a flat pitch, I hope Hauritz gets to play in that test match. He's the current best spinner for Australia and its being very surprising that he has not playing in the test matches so far

  • Comment number 75.

    In the past England selectors have been guilty of not giving players a chance, Mark Ramprakash and Chris Read should have been playing for England for years. The new England are a better set up, they give players a better chance, and we are getting better as a team all the time. The team need to just do what they are better than the Aussies at, playing cricket! Stop the silly sledging, leave that to Australia because thats all they are good at!

  • Comment number 76.

    Spot on with the marks.

    Collingwood's time has come - hardly any runs all year to my knowledge; 'grittiness' and good fielding cannot disguise a hideously out of form batsman.


  • Comment number 77.

    Cook should not have been played mid test when other ( who did not perform) were rested. He must have been tired after all his time in the middle the first and second test. I would give him 4 at least he was out to a good ball. Struass 3 his management in sticking with Collingwood ( who should not be selected for the last 2 tests) and not resting cook plus playing a spinner on a Perth Wicket that never spins. He should have played 4 seam bowlers with Anderson tired and Finn so young. Not impressed with Struass at all regards this test.
    Other than that ok in my view good to see some low scores for that performace by England and not 5s and 6s everywhere.

  • Comment number 78.

    Finn's bowling was wayward especially when he tried to bowl short and faster. Was he bowling to order? If not, where was Strauss? I only watched some of the match but I never once saw Strauss go up to his 21 year old bowler and talk to him. A complete contrast to Ricky Ponting who is up and down the pitch and helping his bowlers.

  • Comment number 79.

    My team for the next 2 tests Proir has to bat at six and get runs or davis at 3 for the 5 test Prior out.

    7)Swann/Bresnan (Depending on wicket)

  • Comment number 80.

    England's batting line up has failed in three of the five innings they have so far had in the three test matches. In the first test, they were bowled out in the first innings for a below par score of 260. In this test they were bowled out twice for under 200. Australia on the other hand have outscored England's three failures in all but two innings - one where they scored only 245 in the first innings in test 2 and the 107-1 in the "dead" second innings of the first test. England, far from being favourites to win the series, need to get more consistency in their batting line up so that even when they are not scoring massive 500+, they are more regularly putting scores of 300 on the board.

  • Comment number 81.

    In perth Austrailia run riot with the bat if you look at the wicket atleast 100 runs too many first inns. 4 bowlers are not enough Collingwood is so useless we may as well play 5 bowlers Prior is supposed to be a batsman wicket keeper he should bat at six do the job he is paid for. At the moment he is just cover for the rubbish batsman Collingwood.

  • Comment number 82.

    75. At 5:12pm on 20 Dec 2010, Miller wrote:
    In the past England selectors have been guilty of not giving players a chance, Mark Ramprakash and Chris Read should have been playing for England for years.


    Ramprakash did play for us for years - in fact, he played over 50 Tests. He was given chance after chance, but managed a pitiful 2 centuries and an average of 27.

    Although harshly treated during the last Ashes down-under, Read never looked like getting runs for England.

  • Comment number 83.

    Sadly for the Poms, another familiar story in an Ashes series. Too much pre-match and pre-series hype about how good England are and how well they will perform. But when the chips are down, it's the Aussies who show the mental resolve to succeed at this level of intensity. To have Australia by the throat at the end of the first day at Perth then to lose so convincingly reveals how shallow is the English confidence.
    Beer was never more than a distraction that the Poms fell for.
    Changing the team is little more than rearranging the deck chairs at this stage in the series. All the English tourists have the ability and talent to justify selection, or they would not be on the tour. What is required is much more mental resolve. The going has just got tough.... now English players must get going, get on with the job they are paid so highly for. The pressure England exerted on day one of the WACA game gave way to over-confident complacency, and for the next 3 days they paid the price. Once they took their foot off Australia's throat the outcome was inevitable. You never give Australia a second chance if you want to win. Test matches are seldom won by one day's performance, winning requires concerted pressure. This is what the England team must work on. After taking 5 cheap wickets in the first innings, they thought they'd won the game. Australia should never have been allowed to reach 150.

  • Comment number 84.

    81. At 7:40pm on 20 Dec 2010, Rulechangecrazy wrote:
    "Prior is supposed to be a batsman wicket keeper he should bat at six do the job he is paid for."

    But many of his fellow batsman-wicketkeepers bat at 7, such as Haddin, Boucher and Dhoni. Why does he have to bat at 6 to justify his salary?

  • Comment number 85.

    As a Pakistan fan myself, I just feel England haven't gotten used to the ball swinging and bouncing as it did in the 1st innings. I believe they struggled against West Indies (I think in Sabina Park) where they got bowled out for under 100, and also a few times in South Africa where Morkel and Steyn were causing them problems and Sir Beefy mentioned that the grounds here in England should be prepared similar to that in Perth in order that the English batsmen can become more accustomed to these pitches.

    I also think this isnt the time for knee-jerk reactive changes as it will unsettle the team and make the incoming player's role more tougher. Collingwood has been mentioned and while he hasn't scored alot of runs, he can frustrate the bowlers by occupying the crease for long periods. But his fielding and catching is top notch, and I'll tell you his 2 catches to dismiss Ponting, in 2nd innings Adelaide and 1st innings Perth were crucial, as you never give the captain 2 bites at the cherry. Earlier this year, at Hobart, Pak played Aus in the 3rd test, Ponting was on 0 when he hooked Asif to I think deep backward square leg where Aamer was, and dropped an absolute sitter. Guess what...he made 200, and in the earlier test at the SCG where Hussey got a century mostly by batting with the tail, Kamran 'Butterfingers' Akmal dropped him THREE times. Look, it may have been fixed amidst the recent allegations but the point is catches, especially amazing ones, to dismiss big players means alot and in Ponting's case, I think only him, Hussey and maybe Clarke and Haddin can make huge 100s, and with 2 of them out of nick, it means the Aussies are over reliant on Hussey and if Ponting misses the next test, its helps England big time.

    Collingwood should keep his place but bat No.6, Prior's keeping is excellent and he should stay at 7. I would prefer Shahzad as he offers something different but Bresnan has a touch more experience but I feel we did well to restrict them to low-ish scores with only 1 bowler (Tremlett) bowling well. I just feel short pitched bowling is just the wrong way to go and it should be used as a surprise ball, so take the fielder out of deep backward square or fine leg and bring him to gully position (especially to Watson). Swann needs to be assisted whereby that fielders need to come up closer to prevent the single run and get the batsman to hit over the top but he cannot afford to bowl short either. He doesnt need to bowl magic balls all the time but keep it straight, flight it nicely on a good length and vary the pace then he can control one end. The fast bowlers just have to be more consistent and be patient.

    The batsmen have played against the swinging ball alot of times before so its just a case of not changing the technique but choosing when to play and when not to, because once the ball gets old and they lose their early spark, I still see England being able to do well but just need to apply themselves better.

    Dont worry too much if Hauritz comes in the side, as he has only done well against us (Pakistan) when we gifted our wickets to him, and no need for knee jerk changes (apart from replacing Finn), all I say is just play better.

    Like to finish with a big well done to the legend that is Tendulkar on his 50th ton. Wonderful player.

  • Comment number 86.

    If Prior is batting at 7 then we may as well have taken James Foster the best wicket keeper. Prior got his wicket keeping job ahead of others because of his batting. Now his batting has so fallen away it is either bat at 6 and get runs so we can have more options like 5 bowlers or we bring in someone with more expertise with wicket keeping.

  • Comment number 87.

    We have the bowlers, the batsmen the fielders, but not the know how to press home the advantage we held going into this test match.
    Result..1 match each!!

  • Comment number 88.

    Let's get one thing straight, Collingwood is NOT good enough and never has been. He's only staying in the side because he is mates with Strauss. He's a decent fielder but his batting has always been workmanlike and he has never contributed has much as he should have done.

    Think back tothe Australia of old; they didn't get to be the best team in the world by carrying passengers. Remember that Australia dropped Michael Slater before the 2005 Ashes because he wasn't producing. Collingwood isn't even close to being as good a batsman as Slater was. We dropped Panesar because he was second rate and the same should be done with Collingwood.

  • Comment number 89.

    Yes. Lets all applaud the Little Master for his 50th Test Ton.
    Surely will never be beaten.

  • Comment number 90.

    Sorry guys just joined. enjoying the comments as usual. For my tw'penny worth, I don't think they'll draft in any performance squad players - they just won't so let's look at what is available. I'd bring in Morgan for Colly - I'd back him to score some runs, think he has a special temperament for playing the situation. Bell to move up to 5 at least. Don't drop Prior he's keeping well just needs to click with the bat. I'd replace Finn with Shazad - more aggressive and a better bat and Finn's tired. I'd take a look at the pitch then before deciding between Bresnan and Swann. If it's not going to help Swan at all I'd make a straight swap between the two.

    This is not a situation for sentimentality or looking back to past performances, but about winning now and, therefore, putting out the team with the best chance of doing so, regardless of egos or reputations.

    Thinking about it, I'd probably promote Bell to 4 and drop Petersen to 5 - that would really p**s him off, probably to our benefit!


  • Comment number 91.

    Stop blaming Collingwood, none of our batsmen did anything in last test, his place in the team is not in any danger, he will bat lower down order though, only change is Finn for Bresnan or Shazad. And we have to bowl better, stop sending half trackers down to make Hussey look good, full and straight is the way to go. Collingwood will play so lets get behind the team.

  • Comment number 92.

  • Comment number 93.

    Bottom line is winning this Ashes series, future planning (in terms of changes for the long term) can wait until next summer. If Melbourne was a must must win i might gamble and drop Colly but it's not so i wouldn't. Bell definitely bats at 5 though, but no higher unless Pietersen abdicates responsibility again. Bresnan for Finn sounds sensible. Let's hope Perth was a bad day at the office for a good team. I have not read most of the posts but has anybody called Monty yet as part of a series winning spin duo at the SCG?

  • Comment number 94.


  • Comment number 95.

    I think the comments about the Perth track are spot on. The WACA Ground is a favourite with Aussies and we can see why. The MCG is a very different place to bowl and bat, and I reckon the English top order will come good again. With them scoring a first innings of 450, whether we bat first or second, we'll be in good shape.

    We have got to find a way to stop Hussey. It is getting ridiculous. Sadly I don't have any other better plans than pitching the ball up nice and full early on - new batsmen around the world struggle with yorkers early on and if there is some swing he's going to find it harder to judge when he's new in rather than after an hour when he's seeing it like a bloody beach ball!

    Colly. Oh Colly. Sadly I think it's time for him to go. His bowling is not good enough and his batting has been poor too. The Aussies have Shane Watson as their all rounder - opening bat who has been looking pretty good all series and scoring runs, and his bowling aint too bad either. We have Colly. No real impact with the ball and not much better with the bat. Yes he can catch a ball very well, but the last test showed quite clearly that we need someone at 6 and 7 who is going to get 30 to 40 runs most innings. Bell is doing his part. Get Morgan in and give him a go.

    I'm not blaming Colly for the loss. I am blaming Colly for not making an impact in the series yet and doing what he is meant to do - bat better than he is and provide a tight alternative on the bowling side of things. He isn't doing either. Yes he can field like a beast and as we know, catches win matches. Sadly poor batting loses matches and Colly has not shown any sign of batting well in my opinion.

    England to be 2 - 1 come 30th December and time to start getting the Ashes Urn into the overhead compartment on the 747 home!

  • Comment number 96.

    From an Aussie's point of view, A lot of the Poms I speak to in Australia are questioning weather Johnson can back up. I think first you need to look at his record at the MCG and that's pretty good, second Johnson has always had a problem with his action since the Ashes 09, but I blame our so call coaching staff for allowing it to drift like it did and the third but last Johnsons action looks like it did when he destroyed South Africa and that was his down fall he started to try to bowl fast in stead of getting his rhythm wright. On Smith I think he should have received a higher score than 3, I think he is in the Steve Waugh mode. not pretty but affective and he like to have a scrap.

    I hoped you guy's panic and make changes.

  • Comment number 97.

    our bowling unit needs more support/ firepower...

    I reckon Colly probably will pull a good score out the kit bag as he does usually under pressure but that won't make up for the extra bowler Australia currently have. We need to use our bowlers more effectively and that means giving them a proper rest and using them in short spells during a game.

    We should back our bats, MCG won't be another WACA.

    Bresnan for Colly (Bell bats at 5).

    Shahzad should come in for Finn if he's tired.

    Longterm we have such strength and depth now in bowling we should consider rotation as policy to give maximize fitness and extend their careers - Broad, Finn, Anderson, Shahzad, Bresnan, Tremlett, Onions and S.Jones if he finally gets fit again.

  • Comment number 98.

    Tom, I think you have got it pretty much spot on with your ratings. Perhaps Ponting deserves a 5 since he does seem to hold the team more or less together. My biggest concern is Swann. I would actually have given him a 0 despite taking Hussey's wicket. A great bowler would have demanded to be given the ball regardless of the conditions and given it his best for a few overs at least. Swann appeared to be content just wandering around in the field and didn't even seem to be very interested in anything.
    I think this #2 in the world has a negative effect on him and he'd rather not have his figures damaged on a tough pitch.
    When the conditions are right he's superb but when they're not he is apparently in moral fibre...

  • Comment number 99.

    sorry ... lacking in moral fibre...

  • Comment number 100.

    I think that Anderson's round the world trip didn't help, and even though he had decent figures, we all know if he was on form like he was the first two tests, he would have had more success and we might have been in the game.

    Swann hasn't done well but on a pitch that isn't turning against batsmen who are targeting you can really be suprised nor blame him. Collingwood got wickets in the warm up game against victoria, give him the ball, at least he can be more useful.

    Harris from australia has really impressed me. He always troubles the english batsman, and i think that he is more likely to do it again than johnson will.

    One last thing, someone is going to have to tell the england bowlers, "Dont bowl short to hussey, he loves it."


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