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England player ratings

by Pranav Soneji (U5268639) 20 December 2009
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Just when you think England are over the hill and dry, along comes a dramatic final session on the fifth day to set up another traumatic finish to evoke the spirit of Cardiff in June as England cling on for a draw.

Make no mistake - England are incredibly fortunate not to go 1-0 down in this series.

But which of England's players impressed and who has to significantly up their game ahead of the second Test in Durban? Here's my thoughts about England's XI at Centurion. Naturally I want to know your thoughts, opinions and ratings.

Let the dissection begin.

Andrew Strauss - 7
On the receiving end of two brutal - and contrasting - deliveries which put an end to both innings. Looked assured and confident in the first innings before he was castled by a Makhaya Ntini pea-roller while edging a brute from Morne Morkel. Will need to refine his approach to referrals, though, after both appeals in the first and second innings in the field were unsuccessful.

Alastair Cook - 3
Like an distant relative hanging around too long at Christmas, Alastair Cook still can't rid himself of his issues playing around and outside off stump. Ruthlessly exposed by Friedel de Wet in a crucial juncture in the first innings, the Essex opener again folded when needed most in the first hour of the final day. Will need to step up considerably in Durban to get the doubters off his back.

Jonathan Trott - 8
Trott looks as if he is born to play Test cricket. Aside from a rush of blood to the head against Harris, which led to his demise in the first innings, Trott batted with assurance and composure not seen by an England number three for a long time and only a vicious delivery from Friedel de Wet ended his second-innings stay.

Kevin Pietersen - 8
For a man supposedly out of form, Pietersen batted with plenty of fluency and attacking intent, unravelling a series of expansive drives during his entertaining second-innings vigil, a knock which guided England to safety from a precarious 27-3. However, his suicidal quick single call after the tea break will remain long in the memory.

Paul Collingwood - 7
Collingwood's obdurate style consistently frustrates opposition bowlers. It was no surprise to see him walking off at the end of the match with his wicket still in tact. Unflappable in the field - his four catches equalled England's record of the highest number taken by an non-wicketkeeping outfielder in an innings.

Ian Bell - 2
Has a history of shouldering arms to straight balls from spinners, but his error against Paul Harris so early on in his first innings was inexcusable. Was beaten by an excellent De Wet delivery in the second, but the critics will not remember that. Seven runs in two innings is just not good enough. Took an excellent catch to end AB de Villiers' second-innings stay, but that's about it.

Matt Prior - 5
His keeping continues to go unnoticed - a sign of just how much his glovework has improved in the past year - and now has the confidence to stand up to the pace of James Anderson. His batting, though, is not quite as waterproof. An injudicious sweep picked out the only man in the deep in his first innings while a De Wet snorter took care of him in the second.

Stuart Broad - 5
Once again his bowling was annoyingly inconsistent, pitching too short when a fuller length was needed. Still has the habit of picking up wickets just when England need them, accounting for Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers in the second innings.

Graeme Swann - 9
With the heart the size of Belgium, Graeme Swann continues to confound expectations. A five-wicket first-innings haul saw him reach the 50 Test wickets landmark in 13 Tests, one fewer than Aussie great Shane Warne. Bowled with guile, intelligence and endeavour and batted as if possessed by the spirit of Virender Sehwag. Lusty drives, eye-popping switch-hits and bludgeoning sweeps ensured his 81-ball stay was the highlight of the match.

James Anderson - 7
Not one of his best bowling performances in an England shirt, yet still picked up five wickets - including the grubber of the century to dismiss centurion Hashim Amla. Bowled 58 overs, dispelling any doubts about the after effects of a knee injury. His ever-improving batting skills continue to impress - his 106-run ninth-wicket partnership with Graeme Swann was the highlight of the match.

Graham Onions - 7
England's most effective seamer who squeezed the most life out of the Centurion Park strip in the first innings. Bowled with pace, aggression and and troubled all of South Africa's top-order batsmen, but was less effective in the second innings. Didn't do himself any favours in the field, but all will be forgiven for his batting heroics right at the death.

Latest 10 comments

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posted Dec 23, 2009

i think the points awarded are about right.

sadly i too don't think bell has the big match temprament - much like hick or ramp. but all huge talents. such a waste.

chuck in rashid or wright - at least they won't pad-up.

send for key or even bopara pdq!

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posted Dec 23, 2009

Swann a 9! you do realise there was a second innings in which he did absolutely nothing, a 10 for first innings a 4 for the second and that is being kind

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posted Dec 23, 2009

I agree with the ratings!
On the other hand, why do england always play so negative! If Pietesen was given the chance along with Trott, they could have had a right go at winning the first test! Maybe it takens someone within the whole team, needs too have a bit of faith and go for it once! Its going to work against you sometimes at first but when you have been there it will all get better and easier to understand! Look at the great teams in cricket, India and Austrialia they go about things posstively and most times they have great success as a result!

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posted Dec 23, 2009

I agree with the ratings and most of the comments. To win England have to score sufficient runs and bowl SA out twice. To do this they need 5 bowlers, particularly in Durban. To accommodate 5 bowlers we need to strengthen the batting, so Bell and Cook should go to be replaced by Key. The extra bowler should be Sidebotton provided he is fit for 5 day cricket.

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posted Dec 23, 2009

Strauss' 7 is too high, he wasn't bas good as Onions who took wickets, lloked consistent and batted well to hold out for the draw.
Swann deserves a 10- how often does a spinner get a 5-wicket haul and a 1st innings score of 80 something at number 9? Answer: Never
The team for Durban should be:
1. Strauss
2. Trott
3. Key
4. Pieterson
5. Collingwood
6. Prior
7. Swann
8. Broad
9. Anderson
10. Sidebottom
11. Onions

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comment by rod47 (U14270924)

posted Dec 23, 2009

I don't understand why people keep banging on about Key.
Surely if he wanted to play for England he would show the selectors by getting fit!

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comment by JeffFew (U9446749)

posted Dec 23, 2009

Key has been tried tried and tried again, and has failed failed and failed again, for both the Test team and the Lions team.

He has only ever had one score in his career, and that was against basically declaration bowling.

The rest of his career he averages 21, a lot worse than Cook (41) and Bell (38), even worse than Ramprakash (25ish)

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posted Dec 23, 2009

I'd rather David Gower play in the boxing day test than Rob Key.

This preference is based on expected number of runs scored and fielding ability.

Gower would score 12 and 4. No doubt exceeding Key's score considerably.

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posted Dec 29, 2009

Well done Bell. I've been saying all along this lad would come good.

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