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England v Australia Fourth Test player ratings

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BBC Sport blog editor | 13:39 UK time, Sunday, 9 August 2009

So then. Woe for England, delight for Australia. Here's my ratings for the two sets of players after the fourth Test - dive in with your own when the fury/joy has subsided a touch.

A word of explanation, too: we've all got our own systems, and under mine, you'd only get a 0 if you bagged a pair/went 0-150 and then dropped at least two catches, and only get a 10 if you scored a chanceless double-ton or took at least 10 wickets in an unplayable spell.


Andrew Strauss - 4
A horrible few days for the England skipper. When he won the toss on Friday, he can have had little inkling of what would unfold in the next few hours. Failed to replicate his form of earlier in the series with the bat and struggled to gain any control in the field, although his bowlers let him down badly.

Alastair Cook - 5
Hung around for a while in both innings without ever looking settled - but then which England batsman did? Fell twice to pokes outside off stump, and has an aggregate of just 203 from seven innings in the series.

Ravi Bopara - 1
Poor shot in the first innings, the victim of a poor umpiring decision in the second - Bopara's Ashes lurches from bad to worse. Took a couple of decent catches and tried to look positive, but his average of 15 in the series tells its own story.

Ian Bell - 3
Since coming back into the team, the Bell of 2009 has yet to demonstrate that he's significantly better than the model of previous years. Out-thought by Mitchell Johnson in the first innings, his capitulation in the collapse on Saturday evening was depressingly predictable.

Paul Collingwood - 3
A duck on Friday morning, just four on Saturday - Collingwood was unable to halt the slide on either day. His nemesis Stuart Clark is likely to keep his place for The Oval, which doesn't bode well.

Matt Prior - 7
Continues to impress behind the timbers, even after being incapacitated on the first morning by that back spasm. Some fine takes with the gloves and top-scored in England's first innings, although that's not saying all that much.

Stuart Broad - 8
Came back well from his thumpings at Edgbaston to take six wickets. Old pros complained that he bowled too wide of off in an attempt to stem the flow of runs, but compared to what was served up by his fellow pace bowlers at least it was accurate, and he once again claimed the prize scalp of Ricky Ponting. Another attacking flourish with the bat on Sunday to finally give the home supporters something to cheer about.

Graeme Swann - 5
Not given a bowl until 60 overs of Australia's reply, and then went 16 overs without taking a wicket. Although he found a little turn, he was smashed out of the ground by Stuart Clark and failed to trouble left-hander Marcus North. Attacked entertainingly with Broad on the final morning to lift the Headingley mood and bag his first Ashes half-century.

Steve Harmison - 3
Plus ca change. While Australia's comeback kid Stuart Clark took a fine 3-18, Harmison failed to rise to the occasion. Took the early wicket of Simon Katich but then bowled too short again and again and again. Only in the team because of Andrew Flintoff's injury, his days at international level are surely numbered.

James Anderson - 3
Injured himself while once again avoiding a duck when batting, and struggled with the ball from then on. Wicketless in the Aussie innings and went for almost five an over, failing to find any swing and struggling badly with his control.

Graham Onions - 5
Struggled less than his Durham team-mate Harmison and saw off Watson and Clarke with good in-swing, but dropped short and wide too often as Australia ran away with the match on Friday afternoon.


Shane Watson - 7
An experiment that has worked. Three innings, three fifties. Took the fight to England from the word play, smashing Anderson for consecutive fours from the first two balls of the Aussie innings. His side never looked back.

Simon Katich - 4
Snagged by Harmison's short one - the tactic was still a surprise, rather than a stock ball, at that stage - but took two sharp catches under the lid at short leg. Still averaging over 40 in the series.

Ricky Ponting - 8
Lost the toss and then spent the next two days celebrating the fact. Made the right calls on team selection before the match and carried an upbeat, positive air about him from the moment he arrived in Leeds. Tore into the England bowling on Friday afternoon to take the game even further away from the opposition.

Mike Hussey - 5
Failed to build on the improved showing at Edgbaston and had a quiet time of it in the field. Averaging only 25 in the series and will want a big finish at The Oval.

Michael Clarke - 8
The batsman of the series so far, he continued to play with elegance and style. The only surprise was that he fell seven runs short of his century. Now has 445 runs from six innings at an average of almost 90. What England would give for a middle-order batsman of his class.

Marcus North - 9
Perceived as a weak link before the series began, but has now outscored every batsman in the England team and all but one in his own. Batted with immense concentration as he compiled his second century of the summer and took an outrageous catch in the first hour to see off Strauss and start the England slide.

Brad Haddin - 8
Defied accepted medical wisdom by coming back into the side just eight days after breaking his finger and kept wicket faultlessly. His one-handed catch at full length to see off Matt Prior on Sunday was a beauty.

Mitchell Johnson - 9
Without question, Johnson is back. There was pace, late swing and slingy bounce. His spell on Saturday evening, seeing off Bell, Collingwood and Cook in quick succession, destroyed any hopes England had of a repeat of 1981's Headingley heroics, and his five wickets in the second sealed the win.

Peter Siddle - 8
Tore the heart out of England with five wickets on the first day, including a devastating spell of four wickets in 14 hostile deliveries after lunch. Lost his line and length a little in the second innings as Broad and Swann tucked in, but by then the damage had been done.

Stuart Clark - 7
His control on the first day led many to wonder why it had taken Australia so long to get him back into the team. Bowled beautifully to see off Cook, Collingwood and Broad, fully deserving his haul of 3-18 off 10 testing overs. Enjoyed himself with the bat too, although then took some stick from the England tail at the death.

Ben Hilfenhaus - 9
It seems strange now that his place in the Aussie attack was in serious doubt before the summer began. Has Bopara whenever he wants him, and is the leading wicket-taker in the series. Commendable accuracy, allied with enough bite off the pitch to trouble the best England have to offer.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Tom,

    Pretty spot on with those ratings I think. Only ones I'd take issue with are:

    (a) Giving Broad an 8, equal with Ponting and Clarke. Yes, his figures in both batting and bowling look like MotM material, but apart from Ponting his bowling wasn't that impressive, especially when it was needed. Picked up late wickets with Australia trying to hit everything over the fence. Similarly, a whiz-bang innings, but at 200 behind and a few wickets left it was really a "nothing to lose situation". He swung, and most connected, though he was dropped twice as well from difficult changes. Ponting and Clarke, on the other hand, came in with big pressure on a first day pitch that had yielded more than 11 wickets already, and took control of the match.

    (b) Haddin kept well, but wasn't worth 8. Did nothing with the bat - certainly, Prior kept as well IMO, and batted positively.

    (c) I'd probably pull Hilfenhaus and Johnson back to 8s. They did great, but I think it was more an all-round bowling performance that did the job for Australia. Having watched his "good form" matches, I'd still put Johnson at around 85 to 90% of being at his best. When there's blood on the pitch, you'll know that he's firing on all cylinders. Happily for the blood-thirsty among us, he seems to be continually improving this series.

  • Comment number 2.

    You gave Bell 3-what for, his fancy sunglasses? He was as abysmal as Bopara and has clearly become Johnson's rabbit.

  • Comment number 3.

    More or less spot on Tom! Rauf's faux pas with Bopara's second innings wicket yesterday does, however, make it easier for the selectors to drop him. Rob Key needs to come in at the Oval.

  • Comment number 4.

    Bopara, Bell, Collingwood, should all be awarded 0.

    That's more or less what they scored.

  • Comment number 5.

    spot on with the ratings Tom. Bopara has to go and needs to learn to bat again!!! Harminson once again proved he cannot bowl at test level and too has to go!! big changes needed in attitude and personel for final test!!

  • Comment number 6.

    #5 andrewwolves: No, big changes in personnel are not what we need. Key and Flintoff in for Bopara and Harmison but nothing more. A big kneejerk witch-hunt on the back of one defeat is exactly what the Aussies want from us.

  • Comment number 7.

    Did you give Bell a three because his first name has three letters? He was woeful.

  • Comment number 8.

    Ali C should be higher, he chipped in well both times. Collingwood should possibly be a 2, he was out quickly twice and hastened the collapse both times. Well done to Broad, he is looking a fantastic prospect for several years.

  • Comment number 9.

    Give the Aussies a half chance and they're off. They've their tails up now so only a different surface/style of match can unsettle them.

    This Test is a tale of poor calls by England : Harmsion is a bad pick, he's said he's not touring so why bother? The man may be a bowling bully at county level but he's not Test quality, can't think on the bigger stage and his pick sends the wrong message to the squad. Similar for Bell, flatters to deceive and again found out by the Aussies.
    Bopara isn't Tendulkar, the pads don't make the man, another pretender to go back to his county, needs to learn to bat like Ravi Bopara.

    Thats 3 non selections for next time, I'd question the Geoff Miller era in a way too, as a player he was intense and limited, bit like our 3 above, then I read that he'd had a rethink and was going to relax more on and off the pitch to let his talent out.

    Finally, the oval, all to play for, grand stage for a great game. No early morning fire alarms please, unless genuine (how often before Tests does this happen !?). Seems a schoolyard game and I can't believe it was allowed to intrude this time.

  • Comment number 10.

    Can't recall Geoff Miller as a great talent either.

  • Comment number 11.

    Just lets have a look at how many wickets they got!!
    Anderson = 0
    Harmison = 2

    And runs
    Harmison: 19
    Aanderson: 7 (and screwed up as a night watchman).

    So yeah, Tom, explain to me who Anderson gets the same marks as Harmsion, are are you just jumping on the lets bash Harmy bandwagon?
    If the ball doesn't swing Anderson is shocking, Harmison at least has the ability to bowl wicket taking balls in flat conditions.
    It was the same in WI, when the bowling attack strugles and Harmison isn't the standout bowler he gets slated. Anderson deserves a 1 for this match, did nothing with the ball and as a night watchman tried to scamper a single to preserve his duck record instead of protecting Cook.

    Seriously, you need to reevaluate Andersons contribution, his feeling wasn't that excellent or you'd have mentioned it yourself. Being fair is part of your job, how you'd rate Anderson as equal to Harmison is beyond me.
    Bopara and Anderson were shocking these last three days, it might have been better if neither were there, play with 9 men.

  • Comment number 12.

    What a shambles. I was bitterly disappointed to lose a game in which I had hoped that English bowlers exploiting English conditions would see us to victory.I think we are kidding ourselves about winning the ashes.
    Short of Peterson & Flintoff and we fall apart. England are a bad team and a long way short of what is only a competent aussie side who have nevertheless coped well with the retirement of Hayden, Langer, Gilchrist, Warne & McGrath.
    Strauss is a fine bat but a rather unimaginative captain. Bopara is not a test class batsman and there are question marks against Bell yet again!.
    Including Harmison was a bad decision when the swing bowling of Sidebottom was available and he spent his early years at Headingly. Harmy can be devastating on his day but how often is he on his day. Put him out of his misery now.
    That said we should avoid wholesale changes but prepare for defeat lads.

  • Comment number 13.

    Generous to England players I feel. The difference in this match I think was Aussie bowlers finally fired as a unit and cleaned up English top and middle order. The balance between Aussie batting and English attack has been much the same throughout the series - each have had sessions on top and not too many changes needed for england bowling.

    Batsmen - terrible - only Strauss averages above 40 for England and then Prior and Colly over 30. Swann good batting average in the 30s improved by today but Swanny's bowling average in the series is over 60!

    Broad was best England player but match scenario allowed him to throw the bat a few times.

    At least the series is still 1-1. The stats don't make happy reading - centuries Aus 7, Strauss and England 1, and 5 Australian batsmen average over 50 compared to 0 England players. 3 leading wicket takers in series are all australian, England spinners have worse figures in the series than Hauritz who won't get a game, and Oval pitch will probably produce a draw when England need a win.

    Changes for the Oval

    Aus - none
    Eng - Bopara out, Trott at 4 and Bell on last chance at 3. Nonsense about Ramps - he had the same issues as a Test batsman that Bopara and Bell are being slated for. Test average something like 29. Key - has not produced either. Flintoff back in for Harmison or Onions depending on pitch. Only Swann as spinner - Monty won't add anything and having both in the team - Aus would probably get 600+.

  • Comment number 14.

    An 8 for Broad is extremely generous. Took wickets when the situation was hopeless for England, made runs when the situation was hopeless for England. In cricket, you need to do the business when it matters, not when you're a zillion runs behind with nothing to play for.

    An 8 for Haddin is also generous. Are sympathy points included? He made no runs.

  • Comment number 15.

    strauss - 3, cook - 4, bopara - 0, bell - 0, colly - 0, prior - 5, broad- 7, swann - 5, anderson - 0, harmy - 4, onions - 3.
    ottis gibson - -5, selectors, flower and the 'back up staff' - 0.

    for the oval:

    we need 5 bowlers to take 20 wickets on a flattish track , so we need wicket-taking/pressure creating bowlers.

    we do not need another freddie circus - he will have to be fit enough to be part of a 3 man seam attack as we will have 2 spinners.

    cook,tresco/key/moores/denly, strauss, ramps, bopara, prior, flintoff, broad, swann, rashid, harmison. if flintoff is not fit then play sidebottom.

  • Comment number 16.

    The England players are all 1 point too high

  • Comment number 17.

    I on the other hand Dion think Andersons mark is harsh. He didnt bowl well because of an injury but he still ran in hard and tried to give his all, and still stood up to the nightwatchmen role when he probably should have been resting whatever it is he's pulled.And he didnt get Cook out, he got himself out!! This is the first match he hasnt contributed in any way, Cardiff he got more wickets than any other England bowler and saved the game with Colly/ Monty, Lords he got runs and a four fer, Birmingham he got a five fer and a wicket and a fabulous catch in the second innings, so cut him some slack!!!!!! He has been one of the more consistent performers and he cant do it every time, especially when injured!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Yeah not much to argue with though I can't really see how Hussey earns two points more than the other batting failures?

    Maybe a bit generous to the Aussie bowlers with the nines - 8s all round might have been fairer but really rankings in cricket are a load of nonsense anyway: you sort of need 'em in football because of the lack of concise statistical player information except for goals -which kind of excludes all but the strikers :-)
    But cricket really has plenty of statistics in itself, so why invent more?

    Good fun arguing about 'em though so enjoy....

  • Comment number 19.

    #11 Bit harsh on Anderson in that he was clearly injured before bowling a ball.

    Really though, it's not about who performed the worst here; it's about who has the character to bounce back at the Oval. My money wouldn't be on Bell/Bopara to come good. Strauss/Cook/Collingwood/Prior are mentally strong and won't let this defeat destroy their confidence.

    I think Harmison will make way, whether it be for Flintoff or a spinner, and I think he fits into the Bell/Bopara mental category..

    Broad.. it's really hard to make a decision on him to be honest! He's now joint-leasing wicket-taker for Eng, but seemed to pick up his 6 without ever looking really dangerous! He deserves to stay in the team after showing something here though, mentally if nothing else.

  • Comment number 20.

    Surely Bopara has been found out (at last)

    Only one I'd disagree with - should have given him 0.

  • Comment number 21.


    Well you're talking rubbish.

    And the nightwatchmans job is to protect the other batsmen, not to scamper a leg bye off the second ball thinking its a single to save your duck record.
    Bad bowling is bad bowling wether you're injured or not, if he was that badly hurt he'd have stopped, he just did what the others did but was far less threatening.

  • Comment number 22.

    Broad took 6 wickets at a rate of less than 4 per over, seems fair enough to me.Yes, batting with more freedom when the game was lost but hang on surely in some respects those batting from number 7 should generally be able to bat with a little more freedom if we had a middle order who remembered that they are supposed to be specialists in batting !!!!!!.

    You have to take 20 wickets to win a game but with our lame duck of a middle order, if KP aint there, you will rarely be in a position to even try to win games.

    Best football sides in the world ? Those with class in the midfield area, they control the game. The middle order in cricket is the same, until England can solve positions 3 and 5 on a regular basis, you always sense they are only ever 1 innings away from a collapse.

  • Comment number 23.

    Once again I disagree on Strauss, you say

    "failed to replicate his form of earlier in the series with the bat and struggled to gain any control in the field, although his bowlers let him down badly"

    Yet the 5 batsmen (Prior being WK not counted) average 3.2
    And the 5 bowlers average 4.8

    Even if you count Prior as a batter he only takes the batters up to 4.6
    You seem to believe this perfomance is all down to the bowlers being unable to knock over the Aus for less than 300, but it is actually because our batsmen in 2 innings couldn't even get 400! That is disgusting, bowling the opposition out for 400-450 is common!

    You also think that the English got themself out, which if true you should not then credit the Aus with good bowling, and the reverse is true, if the Aus bowling was amazing (as your figures would suggest) you can't hardly blame the batsmen if every delivery is a Warne V Gatting delivery!

    You do the same with the Aus batsmen, say they were great, but then castigate the bowlers for being poor, pludering runs off a poor bowler does not make you a good batter! So again, the figures should be ajusted to reflect what you think happened, you can't have it both ways! After all 430odd is not normally considered much above average as a total!

    The fact is the Aus bowling was not much better than average, they simply got their line right, that is not genius, that is what all bowlers should do, The England batting was poor, the Aus, slightly above average and the england bowling, poor in sessions, better in others (after lunch day 2 was pretty good for example)

    This game was a thrashing of a poor and apparently mentaly weak team by a average but mentally strong team.

  • Comment number 24.

    Dion, I thank you to not be so rude, my opinion is my opinion, its not rubbish. If you disagree then fine, but this forum is about debate!!!!!!!!
    I am well aware of a nightwatchmens job thanks, been watching cricket for years. But we know nothing of what was said in the middle, and for all you know Cook said to Jimmy just bat and we'll get what runs we can.A nightwatchmen in that situation, let alone one who was strugging was stupid.Cook is or should be far more capable of fending off the bowling than Jimmy, and he had edged one that had just dropped short of the slips before Anderson even came in. He didnt bowl well and was clearly hampered but he still ran in hard and tried, if it was Freddy you'd be saying he's like an injured gladiator, but no, its Anderson, NEVER MIND HE'S BEEN ONE OF THE BEST PLAYERS SO FAR, DONT CUT HIM ANY SLACK, GET HIM OUT!!

  • Comment number 25.

    No, I didn't, I said during this test he's been shocking.
    If it was Freddie like at Edgebaston, I'd have been saying he was a waste of space bowling and should have just fielded.
    I'm not going to give him a higher rating for this test because he's been average for the rest of the series.
    Of course Cook should be better, but then thats what a night watchmans for, to protect him from mistakes in the closing overs, at which he failed. No matter what Cook said, Flower clearly wanted Cook there in the morning otherwise he would never have sent him out and you listen to the coach and captain.

    He failed totally in both the roles he was asked, so he doesn't deserve higher than a 1, if Harmison gets a 3, since he at least got some wickets and scored some runs.

  • Comment number 26.


    Andrew Strauss - 5
    Alastair Cook - 6
    Ravi Bopara - 0
    Ian Bell - 1
    Paul Collingwood - 3
    Matt Prior - 6
    Stuart Broad - 7
    Graeme Swann - 4
    Steve Harmison - 4
    James Anderson - 2
    Graham Onions - 4


    Shane Watson - 7
    Simon Katich - 4
    Ricky Ponting - 8
    Mike Hussey - 5
    Michael Clarke - 8
    Marcus North - 9 (MOTM)
    Brad Haddin - 7
    Mitchell Johnson - 8
    Peter Siddle - 7
    Stuart Clark - 7
    Ben Hilfenhaus - 8

    Disappointing performance, team for the oval:

    Strauss (C)
    Flintoff (if fit)

  • Comment number 27.

    Disagree with Bopara, Collingwood and Bell- They should all get 0 and Harmison 1(he at least scored more than all 3 put together in both innings!!)
    I think there should be a real attitude change amongst the team. This is not a strong Aussie bowling attack and they were made to look better than McGrath et al. Bell has proven he cannot play at test level and Bopara needs more time to develop his batting. Collingwood has played his one significant innings of the series and still looks like an all-rounder pretending to be a batsman and is getting too comfortable.
    I think Broad should take up the flintoff all-round role and Prior has shown much improvement. They both showed it's possible to bat in these conditions. 3-5 need overhauling massively- but then who to choose???
    Pietersen is a loss, but he would have just got himself out anyway!! And the rest will only have one test to prove it. It's a testament of the English Depth and youth coming through when the only options are Robert Key, Mark Ramprakash and Jonathan Trott(a South African).
    I can see this mediocre Aussie Bowling side do it again at the Oval, because this is a less than mediocre top 5 batting line-up.

    England will start winning when they stop over-hypeing themselves to be better than they really are.

  • Comment number 28.

    Quite simply the whole England team performed badly.Poor batting, (can anyone bat for more than a session or two?), shockingly poor bowling, thoughtless feeding of short balls, mostly going to the boundary, and I have to say poor captaincy, these players just dont fight anymore. I suspect that they will receive another drubbing at the Oval.

  • Comment number 29.

    all ten english players were out caught by close field (especially behind). precious few aussies were. after suicidal batting, we comiited suicidal bowling -- think about it, after we were shot out for 102, australia's innings was higher than any england innings in the series so far. followed by another collapse to straight bowling. straus abd gibson should get zeros for strategy; the english bowling with two weather assisted exceptions has been disgraceful. harmison, as predicted, was ineffective. bopara was obviously a rabbit #3 and bell flatters to deceive.broad is a useful cricketer, just below ashes standard but is made to look like a giant by his teammates; his 6-91 needs to be seen in the context the 445 australia scored and the aussie quickies performance. his 61 was entertaining but meaningless -- just like staurt clark's cameo. the english psyche, strategy and structure was all wrong for leeds.

    bring balance back to ther side, play specialists in each position, bowl line and length with patience, don't be suckered into quick solutions (harmy will bounce them out) and get some brian close backbone into the captaincy and batting.

  • Comment number 30.

    Also on the Anderson debate. Yes he tried hard, but the only reason why he bowled badly because he got injured- doing what??? Trying to extend some stupid record of most consecutive non-ducks. I'd rather Jimmy had lost the record and bowled Oz out cheaply- which he would have done if he was fully fit!
    This reflects the England Attitude!! I cannot see any Aussie doin that- hence why they win- team before self!
    Jimmy's primary job is bowling not batting! England's bowling was lost without him!

  • Comment number 31.

    I dont agree, he still tried his best and ran in for 18 effort overs hoping whatever it is that was troubling him would still allow him to perform.He did not fail totally in the roles he was asked, he was injured and did his best.If you watched any of that innings last night all the top 5 looked like accidents waiting to happen once Strauss went.And so, even if say Anderson had taken the strike for 5 balls of the over, the OZ knew he was struggling and would not have allowed him to take a quick single, (as he is usually so athletic) to get down the other end and take the next over, so he couldnt win, whichever way you look at it.He certainly does deserve more than a 1.

  • Comment number 32.

    Dave; we have no idea whether it was a weakness already there and it happened when he went out to bat or he did it there and then.We do not have the benefit of inside knowledge and have no idea if it was a minor niggle that was there before the match or not, dont forget these were back to back matches and he has so far bowled the most overs I think in the whole series. Dont forget up to now we have been spoiled because we are used to him just being fit and running in all day. And again I dont agree, I'm sure he would give up the whole 50 odd innings without a duck thing to have bowled better and taken wickets.
    Some of you seem to think and treat his as if he's stupid, ...he is a bowler and does know his role in the team, the batting thing is just a bonus, and I am sure he would never put that before his bowling performance.

  • Comment number 33.

    Stop making excuses for him! He was pathetic! He didn't take those 5 and Cook got out to one, therefore he fails.
    His bowling was hideous and Collingwood bowling line and length would have been more effective than him.
    He did NOTHING to deserve higher than a 1, bowling with an injury is stupid unless you're going to be a threat.
    Malcolm Marshals bowling spell against England wasn't great because he had a broken arm, it was great because he took 7 wickets. Otherwise he wouldn't have played.

  • Comment number 34.

    Oval Squads:



  • Comment number 35.

    I dont know what people expect of sportsman these days, but "trying" with an injury isn't something I'd rate highly, its kind of what you expect, you know, being paid.
    Seriously... its not worth anything if you do it badly.

  • Comment number 36.

    Dion what so rude? You have an opinion, I have an opinion, that they are miles apart is fine with me, we are never going to agree on this one so best left.If he'd gone off the field on the first day injured and left us a bowler down that would have been wrong in your eyes so he cant win.
    He was not pathetic, his bowling was not hideous, it wasnt the best he's bowled but it certainly wasnt the worst and it wasnt only him!!
    Why do you lash out instead of getting behind the players and willing them to do well. Our players need boosting and confidence going into the Oval, not people like you spewing out your cr*p.
    No wonder players like Treso struggled with the mental side of the game, they probably read your posts.

  • Comment number 37.

    Just seen your last post, arent you being a bit contradictory now?
    First you say if he was injured he shouldnt have been on the field, now you say you expect sportsmen to play with an injury, its "expected"

  • Comment number 38.

    Spot on Dion, post no 11, why is it every time England, as a team, fail, Harmy gets the brunt of it?
    Lets be honest the Aussies don't like facing Harmy, he gets in amongst them and hurts them.
    This situation is caused by the batsmen,why is Cook still getting games,Strauss needs to drop down the order, Bopara just isn't test match calibre, Pieterson when he was fit thinks he's playing 20/20, Bell has had his day, Trott? surely we have better options than that, if Prior is our best keeper then we have problems.
    We could do worse than bringing Ramprakash and Keys back.
    Never thought I would say this, but we could do with a Boycott to stick around for a few sessions.
    What chance have bowlers got when the 'cream' of our batting talents can only post a score of 102 to protect, but once again the powers that be will not change the batting but the knives will be out for the bowling attack!

  • Comment number 39.

    BOSS 1208,
    No, read further down, Anderson gets it plenty!!

  • Comment number 40.

    I expect them to play with injuries if they can do there job, if they cant then they should get off the pitch.
    How did Anderson help the team by bowling 18 shoddy overs than simply settled the batsman? Even Smiths "heroics" with a broken had helped his team, even if it didn't win.
    I'm not saying Harmsion played well, but who played better, Anderson or Harmison? Who aided the England cause most this match?
    The match as lost by the batsman, I'm not blaming Anderson for that, but he bowled HORRIBLY injury or not, and screwed up as a nightwatchman. In no way did he do better than Harmison.
    Ifs and buts dont score runs or take wickets, if he wasn't injured, if he'd have blocked it, he didn't.

    "Dion what so rude?"
    "not people like you spewing out your cr*p."
    "arent you being a bit contradictory now?"

    Pot, kettle, black.

  • Comment number 41.


    Andrew Strauss - 4
    Alastair Cook - 6
    Ravi Bopara - 0
    Ian Bell - 1
    Paul Collingwood - 1
    Matt Prior - 6
    Stuart Broad - 6
    Graeme Swann - 7
    Steve Harmison - 5
    James Anderson - 2
    Graham Onions - 5


    Shane Watson - 8
    Simon Katich - 3
    Ricky Ponting - 8
    Mike Hussey - 5
    Michael Clarke - 9
    Marcus North - 9
    Brad Haddin - 5
    Mitchell Johnson - 7 (only an incidental 5-for after Clark's good work)
    Peter Siddle - 7
    Stuart Clark - 9 (most infuential on the game along with Clarke and North; he set up the win)
    Ben Hilfenhaus - 8

  • Comment number 42.

    Abysmal team selection, having the tail start at number 7 when all you need to do is prevent a loss, now we need to bowl the convicts out twice.....we should of played the extra batter in this game but in hindsight it would of made no difference...


  • Comment number 43.

    On the Jimmy Anderson debate:
    "I dont agree, he still tried his best and ran in for 18 effort overs hoping whatever it is that was troubling him would still allow him to perform.He did not fail totally in the roles he was asked, he was injured and did his best"
    But doing your best isn't good enough is it? I could go out there and do my best, injured or otherwise. But if fail to deliver with both bat & ball, I'd get a low mark. Same for Anderson.

  • Comment number 44.

    "Surely Bopara has been found out (at last)

    Only one I'd disagree with - should have given him 0."

    Think he was dubious against the Windies myself, only poor catching on their part allowed him to make any runs at all. He takes on the short ball and looks very incompetent doing so, tries to use it to signal aggressive intentions but merely comes off as looking top bunny material. For his own sake he musn't play in the crucial decider his confidence must be shot to pieces, along with im sure the majority of everyone else's confidence in him.

  • Comment number 45.

    kpnumber1 (message 15) - just how confident are you that the likes of Moore, Denly and Rashid would fare better than the current XI if they were picked for The Oval? As far as Trescothick is concerned, his Test career is over - and even if the selectors could persuade him to make a one-off appearance, why should the skipper bat out of position to accommodate him?

    josart12 (message 34) - so there's no place for Ben Hilfenhaus in your Australia XI for The Oval? The only way that will happen is if he picks up an injury.

  • Comment number 46.

    Performances are rated on results not effort, otherwise you are basing conclusions on what might have been, which has no basis in a statistical context.

    Although I think arguing over a point here or there with regards to Harmison and Anderson is irrelevant, fact is they both failed.

  • Comment number 47.

    boss1208, Harmy gets the brunt of it because of his past record and current performance. He is given a golden opportunity to prolong his Test career and all he can manage is 2 wickets for an awful lot of runs from several spells of intensely frustrating consistently bad bowling. This time round, Anderson's figures and performance were worse than Harmy's but he is a much more consistent player and deserves his place on the strength of that.
    What is also being forgotten is the fact that, important though this series is, it is not the final one ever. A matter of days after the Aussies go home, we are down in S.A. and return there over Christmas for the tests. At the moment the Saffers on their own turf are a tougher proposition than the Aussies on ours and the selectors have to be thinking about some continuity in the squad if they want to avoid a whitewash.

  • Comment number 48.

    Agree with almost all of it.

    Perhaps Broad could open the batting at the Oval? Either thrash the ball or leave it alone.
    Strauss should play with the batting order more the way Langer does at Somerset. Men for the moment, and all that.

  • Comment number 49.

    I did resort to rudeness of a sort in my last post because you were rude to me. So now you have completely turned this exchange of views around to who is better, Anderson or Harmison.
    If you bother to read my posts I havent actually mentioned or dissed Harmison in any of them, he is obviously a favourite of yours, so here you go, he got two wickets for 90 odd, Anderson didnt get any this time for 80 odd he wins. Does that make you happy?

    What I am trying to get across is that in my opinion he still runs in and tries 100%, no he didnt get it right this time but there is no need for your spitefulness.Whatever your opinion of him he has still been one of the most consistent performers this series and that counts for something, surely? Obviously not in your book, as long as Harmy "beat him" in the marks eh?
    And you are still being contradictory about the injury, and as I say, if he'd gone off, that would have been wrong.
    I'm actually really surprised you arent blaming the batting collapse on him as well, that;s very good of you.

  • Comment number 50.

    Hahahaahahaha you cant even read!!!
    My very first post was all about why Harmison and Anderson had the same marks!!!!
    If Harmison got 3 (which im not saying he didn't deserve) and you've just said Anderson was worse... then I think we both know 1 is a number less than 3.

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm not being contradictory at all, you're just not very clever.
    If he can do his job propperly (take wickets or not go at 5 an over) then he should try his very best.
    If he cant do his job propperly because of injury then he shouldn't bowl, simple as that.

  • Comment number 52.

    And read mine again.
    I never mentioned Harmy to YOU in any of my posts.
    I said in my opinion Anderson's mark taken on its own was was harsh from the player ratings Tom gave,plus reading your post as well. I didnt even look at Harmisons or compare Andersons to anybody elses, I just said they were harsh.I didnt have an opinion on HARMY'S until you brought him up.For all you know I may have thought Harmy's were harsh as well, but I didnt give an opinion.
    For all you know I may feel Anderson was a four and Harmy a five, so read my posts properly before jumping in and trying to catch me out!!
    Der yes I do know a number 1 is worse than a three, but Anderson was still worth more than that.

  • Comment number 53.

    DION, We arent going to agree and this is getting stupid now, so I will be a grown up and say lets leave it there.
    And I'm quite clever, thanks, no need to get personal!

  • Comment number 54.

    In no way did Anderson deserve more than a three... he comes close to the 0 threshold... he took 0-90 and messed up with the batting. (Look at the rating system at the top of the page) I cant remember if he droped any catches, I know he held the North one, which is the only place I can see him getting any marks for this test.
    He's been decent in the others and probably Englands best bowler bar Onions, but this test match is probably the worst performance of his career and you have to accept that.

  • Comment number 55.

    Three hints for batters from the sainted Geoffrey Boycott: hit it hard and don't fish, drop it dead, leave it alone.

    And one for bowlers. Keep it up. No swing bowler minds being driven off the front foot - the difference between a cover drive and a snick is minimal - but should hate being hooked or flailed through the covers when the batter has had time to see what the ball was doing.

    England baffles me. 50 odd all out in one game against the West Indies, 500 in the next.
    If Strauss wins the toss again, does this mean 600 before lunch on the second day at the Oval? The Aussie attack looks quite fragile - except that Aussies don't do fragile.

    PS If Blowers is at the Oval, can someone please tell him to SHUT UP. He is worse than the 'lead' French golf commentator, than which is there no greater insult.

  • Comment number 56.

    ok, its no good, I've tried to leave it with you but you just keep goading dont you.So now you know you misread my comments and got them out of context with the Harmy thing, but you still carry on.
    No one deserves a 0, this is what I said before about so called England fans not getting behind the team and supporting instead of all this criticism and nastiness. Yes they lost, yes they didnt play well, but chances are they will come back firing at the Oval.
    And no terribly sorry to disappoint you he didnt drop any catches, oh what a shame I hear you say, you could have awarded him a minus mark for that!
    And no, Dion, it wasnt the worst performance of his career, now you are being over dramatic. For god's sake he had an off day. Ive been following him for some time now, and I and other on here can tell you when he first came on the scene he had a lot worse days, and has improved(usually) dramatically from the old Jimmy!!

  • Comment number 57.

    I didn't misread your comments at all.. you came in saying Anderson deserved higher than 3, after we'd been discussing Harmison being rated the same as Anderson.
    You talk no sense at all, this is by far and away the worst performance of his career when you take into account he's supposed to be our main bowler and it was nibbling around a bit.
    I'm a big fan of Jimmy, he's been far and away our best player this series, but today he had an absolute shocker and deserved to be labasted for it.
    You rate players on the test they've just played, not the rest of the series in these articles, and he did NOTHING with bat or ball. Good player, had a stinker. If McGrath had bowled like that he'd get a 1 aswell, 500 wickets at 21 dont change the fact if you bowl horribly you get a low mark.

  • Comment number 58.

    More or less spot on with all of them. Bopara has to go. He has been lucky to stay in the side for this long but he has had a shocking series.

  • Comment number 59.

    Harmison is excellent at County level, but has not got it at Test level against the Aussies, as he has shown once again, seems any wickets he did get were probably by accident? Anderson is plainly 'out-of-sorts', for some unexplained reason, same as Flintoff last match, at least Fredie can bat if he has too at 50% fit!
    I reckon this 2 half days was about what was expected under the weather conditions, if its dry and sunny the Aussies will win! No Flintoff, the Aussies will win, Fred Flintoff carries all the rest no wonder he's worn out.

  • Comment number 60.

    Dion and Jimmyandersonfan - get a room!! LOL!

  • Comment number 61.

    Harmison same as Anderson, were you watching the cricket?

  • Comment number 62.

    Team for the oval:
    Pietersen (if fit, otherwise Bell)
    Anderson (if fit, otherwise Harmison unfortunately)

  • Comment number 63.

    Generally think your ratings are accurate and fair - my only personal change would be to lower Ian Bell's 3 to 2 or 1!

    What does he bring? He doesn't bowl. He isn't a catalytic personality that encourages others. He doesn't stiff a soft middle order with solid defense. He doesn't score big runs in tough situations (or any runs for that matter). And he's had 5 years as a Test player, letting England fans down all that time.

    I was at Headingley, and the sense of resignation and derision when Bell - England's no.4 batsman - walked to the crease was palpable. Why do we have to keep putting up with players like this? At least Bopara, terrible as his batting has been, is still in his first Ashes series, a slight excuse.

  • Comment number 64.

    difficult times for the england selectors - i'm not sure they have done that much wrong, but the batters have just been poor - 1 century in 4 tests is just not good enough

    here's my line up for number 5 - i'm assuming freddie is not fit or rather just too risky and our spnners aren't taking any wickets so i'd go with all seam and use ramps and bell for some part time spin if desparate

    i put bell and ramps - the ones who seem to be mentally weaker (although both very talented) down the order - bell has played his best innings at 5 (& 6?). pressure on strauss and cook to get us to 60-odd with no drama though. sidebottom has got to play - he's such a fiesty guy & he'll lift the team if things start to go wrong - only flintoff of the others can do that.


  • Comment number 65.

    In defence of the selectors i would say this. Picking Harmison over a batter is an attacking selection with the thought of bowling australia out and forcing a result. I welcome this, i would prefer to lose the ashes 3-2 than not to regain them 0-0. It is not the fault of the selectors that our batsmen batted like christmas puddings.

    To win the ashes we now need 20 wickets so i would go with this team;

    But to be honest i think we will not get 20 wickets and the last match will be a draw.

  • Comment number 66.

    I'd pretty much agree with those ratings and apply them for the series afterall look at the stats:

    Australia have scored 2378 runs for the loss of 51 wickets, England 2169 runs for the loss of 65 wickets! That's 46.6 runs per wicket scored by Australia against 33.3 by England...who says the teams are equal, that's a 40% better performance by the Aussies. We are kidding ourselves, even J Agnew said this am that England would have won at Birmingham...doesn't he remember Australia finished 263 ahead with 5 wkts in hand! And the test they lost they still made over 400 in the last innings. We have got some serious re-thinking to do because those stats tell a sorry tale.

  • Comment number 67.

    Oval Test - bell, bopara + harmison out - shah, trott + flintoff in.

    I would not mind ramprakash coming in instead of say shah, if u look in the history books, he's actually done pretty well in the last match of an ashes series and helped england win on no less than three of those occasions (93, 95 and 97 from memory) and i have no prob with the selectors treating this as a one off cup final for this reason.


    just watched an old odi v sa on espn classic last week where solanki and trescothick put on 200 for the 1st wicket on a featherbed at the oval then key came in at 3 and got a golden duck with a pathetic fish outside off stump off a completely slow innocuous seamer - HE IS NOT INTERNATIONAL CLASS - FULL STOP.

    Having said this - come on the eng boys for the last test - no reason we cant win it and BRING HOME THE URN!!

    (ps - sidebottom if freddie is not fit).

  • Comment number 68.

    JingleMa - Ramprakash helped England win the last match of those Ashes Tests because there was no pressure on - we'd already lost the series in each instance! That statistic proves exactly why he SHOULDN'T be picked. This Ramprakash nostalgia suddenly apparent is laughable, given that all these discussions about talented English batsmen bottling it againt Australia were focused on him not that long ago.

    Oh, and Dion - I love your sense of irony; calling a fellow poster stupid and spelling virtually every other word of your message incorrectly. Clearly you're very clevver.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think too many pundits are making Ravi Bopara a scape-goat for England's Middle order failings.

    Giving Bopara a 1 yet Collingwood a 3 is a simple example of this.

    England's 3,4&5 is simply not good enough to face any Test side. And all 3 should be dropped and make way for players like Rob Key who have proven themselves in County Cricket.

    But the sad predicament is that beyond Rob Key, there really seems to be no player the ECB want in an England Test Team

  • Comment number 70.

    I actually think that Jimmy Anderson did do his job. He was clearly injured but still bowled thus reducing the workload for his fellow bowlers. If Jimmy didnt bowl those overs then the other bowlers would run the risk of being overbowled or Colly and Bopara would of had to bowl more and they might have been carted all over the place.

    The biggest plus for me from this test was that Broad has regained his confidence and is starting to show some good form.

  • Comment number 71.

    Strauss captaincy 0 batting 2
    Cook 3
    Bopara 0 - a laughing stock at this level
    Bell 0 - see Bopara comments
    Collingwood 0 - past it at this level
    Prior 5
    Broad 5
    Swann 4
    Harmison 2
    Anderson 1 - really for turning up, a brainless idiot
    Onions 2

  • Comment number 72.

    1-OFF Team for a 1-OFF WIN:
    = 4 Pace + 2 Slow Bowlers + In-Depth Batting!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    Comment by eirebilly

    If Jimmy didnt bowl those overs then the other bowlers would run the risk of being overbowled or Colly and Bopara would of had to bowl more and they might have been carted all over the place.

    Englands bowlers got carted all over the place anyway even by the tailender Clark-did you not notice

  • Comment number 74.

    Whilst everyone talks about Key, what Strauss, Miller and Flower should do is get down to Taunton and beg Trescothick to play at the Oval.

    This will put the wind up the Aussies and gives us an in form and highly experienced test batsmen to help protect a fragile middle order without KP.

    Bell's body language is all wrong, and he's a walking wicket. Trott is the next cab off the rank, and as Flower says, 'you have to make your debut sometime'.

    Flintoff should be patched up and come in for Harmison. He will add the 'X factor' missing at Headingley.

    If we go with 2 spinners, Rashid would be a real wild card on a pitch that would suit him-Monty is lacking confidence and his figures are poor this season.

  • Comment number 75.

    Oval = One off test match.

    Can someone please have a quiet word with Marcus Trascothick. Your country needs you Marcus. No touring nothing else, just one match at the Oval. Pleeease.

    Cook down to three.

    I liked the idea of Prior as a batsman and bring in Foster with the gloves.

    Marcus, please have a little rethink.

  • Comment number 76.

    Well for me Strauss is a negative captain and I dont really rate Flower either. No doubt Strauss is a very good batsman and would be one of my first choices. However his congtribution was also sub-standard.
    Bopara was woeful as was Bell. I'd replace both in the next test. I've always admired Key and dont think he has had a fair crack of the whip with England. Consider the chances Bell has had. And I would throw in Trott for Bell - or play Flintoff as a batsman only.
    I dont think Broad played as well as his stats suggest, even tho his batting was a breath of fresh air - little pressure on him tho. Play two spinners then for me Broad has to go. And my second spinner would be the legiie not Panesar!

  • Comment number 77.

    Billpo 53

    That team looks like a lot of fun. Certainly changes the profile of the middle-order.

    It is never going to happen (and if it did Prior would surely bat above Blackwell). Personally, if Flintoff could not replace Harmison then I would think about a spinning allrounder - so Rashid or Blackwell. But I am sure the selectors will only consider Rashid.

    Bopara-Bell-Collingwood look so browbeaten and forlorn that as a combination they really are unimposing right now. None of them deserves to be safe, and I think at least one of them needs to be changed. But not sure what the best combination would be. Bell is the one who looks most like scoring runs and he is a walking wicket. This thing with Collingwood and Stuart Clark is a worry. A middle-order of Key-Ramprakash-Trott is not going to happen either, but you can understand why a lot of people would vote for it.

    My guess is they will rest Bopara, put Bell at 3 and Trott at 4. Or KP on crutches!

  • Comment number 78.

    Bopara disgusts me. I've had a massive problem with him since his arrogant and disrespectful "write my name on the Lords honours board after my default century", and his "usain bolt" antics after another ton against a substandard test team in the Caribbean. The guy has shown himself to be outrageously arrogant (not to mention foolish) and has the same flaw that blights so many other underachieving British sports people - he thinks he's all of that and a bag of chips following some moderate "entry level" success, and fails to move on and repeat that success on a bigger stage against the top performers in his profession. Its time up and coming English sportsmen learned that they need to graft to reach the top and stay there for an extended period before they consider themselves legends.

    Give him a zero, get him back to batting school and slot Key in there fer the Oval.

  • Comment number 79.

    England squad for the Oval :

    1) Strauss
    2) Cook
    3) Denly
    4) Trott
    5) Collingwood
    6) Prior
    7) Flintoff (if not fit, Patel -proper batsman, extra spinning option)
    8) Broad
    9) Swann
    10) Anderson (if not fit, Sidebottom)
    11) Onions/ Harmison (if Flintoff not fit)

  • Comment number 80.

    ftmpuss & purpleangelgeorgina: Trescothick has repeatedly said he is not available for England so bribery, coercion and begging (individually or collectively) will not bring him back; he is not going to be there so forget him. The reason he is unavailable is the fact that he has said himself that he doesn't have the mental strength for Test cricket so why would you bring him back for the bearpit of intensity that the Oval cup final will be?
    JingleMa: Ramps is very similar; he has proven on several occasions that he doesn't have the Test mentality so he won't be there.
    The Oval is going to be an absolute cauldron so it's probably the worst place to give someone a Test debut so Trott/Denley/Moore/Rashid probably shouldn't be there (I don't think any of them have played at this level before but I could be wrong), valid though their qualifications be.
    Therefore bring Key and Flintoff in for Bopara and Harmison and leave any bigger changes for the S.A. series

  • Comment number 81.

    kpnumber 1
    i presume you are joking with your team for the oval!

  • Comment number 82.

    "ftmpuss & purpleangelgeorgina: Trescothick has repeatedly said he is not available for England so bribery, coercion and begging (individually or collectively) will not bring him back; he is not going to be there so forget him. The reason he is unavailable is the fact that he has said himself that he doesn't have the mental strength for Test cricket so why would you bring him back for the bearpit of intensity that the Oval cup final will be?"

    Not only that, people should have more respect for the man himself to not continue this kind of behaviour.

  • Comment number 83.

    Your markings were a trifle generous! England were terrible.

    The following should be replaced at the Oval:

    BOPARA - he'll come again, but he should make way for a reliable No.3;
    BELL - has never inspired confidence (particularly against Australia); and
    HARMISON - a bowler of his experience should not need to be told when to pitch the ball up. Line and length (as Fiery Fred used to say).

    My Oval 12:

    Cook (only just)
    Denly (showed the Australians his class at Worcester)
    Key (taking a punt here)
    Collingwood (has got to impart his character on the rest of the team)
    Flintoff (heaven knows what we'll do after this, his final test)
    Prior (a rose amongst so many thorns)
    Broad (still learning, but worthy of a place)
    Rashid (if he's good enough, he's old enough)
    Swann (should start thinking of himself as an all-rounder)
    Sidebottom (we have missed his control)
    Onions (a 'thinker' who will only get better)

    The heavy roller comes next, followed by Anderson.

    I venture to suggest that this latest debacle would not have happened if KP were still captain of the side.

    Finally, a word about Marcus North. At Worcester he looked as though he was batting with a piece of lead pipe - his feet tied together with a piece of elastic. At Cardiff he scored a century. A certain Mr Bell must take some responsibility for that - it was Benevolent Ian who fed him some bits and pieces bowling at the end of the match, allowing Mr North to have an extended net....just in time for the first test.

    It showed our lack of awareness when it comes to playing at the highest level. The last two days at Headingly underlined that weakness. Wake up England!

  • Comment number 84.

    The initial reaction after this woeful performance is to make 3 or 4 changes, however the harder part is thinking of who to play. Bopara and Bell must be the 2 most under threat. Bopara looked a bit arrogant and cocky against the Windies but now against a much stronger side he's a different character. Bell has hever given the impression that he's comfortable in the test arena even when he has scored runs but has fared better lower down the order. Collingwood too has been shaky apart from one knock. Ideally I'd rather Prior be at 7 but Flintoff still hasn't convinced enough that he's good enough to bat 6 again.
    I'd play this side:

    Strauss (c)

  • Comment number 85.

    Surely there isn't an England player, maybe save Broad, Prior (who I personally think is begining to reach upto Pieterson and Flintoff levels of importance), and Swann, and perhaps Cook I suppose, who turned up enough at this game to deserve any kind of mark. Truly abject performances from most of the team. Am totally left cold by all of England's middle order at the moment. Bell seems to me to have been found out at test level, will probably play at the Oval I guess, but I would question his long term value to England if he doesn't produce an innings of worth at the Oval. Bopara I think has long term value, but I would question his value at the Oval. Key has been the kind of person who can come in at short notice and perform (I am thinking of his big innings a whole back against the West Indies at Lords there). Collingwood, long term is a concern for me. This series has been somewhat typical to me, a couple of good performances early, then tailing off.

    Personally I would hope that come South Africa, England will push the boat out and pick a few new names for the future going forward. Throw a few guys like Denly and maybe Ed Joyce or Trott or Carberry in to the mix. Obviously KP will be coming back at some point, but personally I think its time to totally rework the top order. My long term preference would be KP at 3, though if Denly were to work out, he might be a decent bet at 3, given KPs stated preference not to bat at 3.

  • Comment number 86.

    players like bopara irritate me so much...plays like an absolute idiot for 4 matches...part of an embarrisingly poor performance and yet still has time to write his ghosted column for the daily mail today.

    what nonsense and tripe it was just shows what means more to him...silly little vain nobody who has the ability to play decent cricket gets the glorious gift of playing for england in an ashes series then just blows it all away by playing like he couldnt care less but hey i still pick up my cheque from the daily mail and get the chance to tell everyone how i need to deal with technique blah blah blah blah blah...

    who cares ravi?

    dont worry the ipl will be starting soon so you can have another chance of getting your pot of cash.

    do players like him really care about the game...dont look like to me.

    then we have andy flower...his interview after the game was awful...typical that he couldnt just say we were awful, i take responsibility, we will make changes, players have let themselves down etc just some stupid load of pr crap that is typical of the past 10 years of sporting coaches and managers in this country.

    for andy flower re steve mcclaren.....

    i would send the whole team for a day out with the likes of boycs, willis, both etc and let them explain what it is like to play in an ashes series how you should play, what you should avoid etc etc but as usual we end up employing some silly chump who reads like a pr autocue.

    simply staggered by the ineptness of those in charge and the players who when get given the opportunity of a lifetime simply bottle it.

    justin langer was so right.

  • Comment number 87.

    Thanks Eire, good to know someone talks sense and doesnt resort to rudeness.I did wonder looking at the amount of overs he had bowled before that last test whether because of his fitness level there was a chance he could be overbowled, but there we are. It seems according to certain posters, I am a brainless idiot, and so is Jimmy!
    Dion, time to leave it, we will NEVER agree!
    As for the post about playing the heavy roller and then Anderson, you should be ashamed!!
    We are all bitterly disappointed but there is no need to resort to abuse, these guys are not idiots as some of you would have it, they were, up to the start of the last test doing pretty well against the number 1 ranked team in the world. Did any of you seriously think that OZ wouldnt win a single test?? So, two draws, one win each, its nicely set up for the finale, and instead of moaning, griping and generally being so awful( I would think if any of the England players read this they would want to hang themselves), get a grip and support them. We havent lost yet!!

  • Comment number 88.

    My team for the Oval:

    1 A Strauss
    2 TC Smith
    3 R Key
    4 J Trott
    5 M Prior or A Fintoff
    6 J Foster
    7 G Swann
    8 S Broad
    9 J Anderson
    10 S Harmison
    11 A Rashid

  • Comment number 89.

    Strauss 2 - did little with the bat and captaincy was poor
    Cook 3 - looked ok in both innings then got himself out
    Bopara 2 - got a bad one in the 2nd
    Bell 1 - got dropped for not being good enough, still isn't good enough
    Collingwood 2 - normally reliable in the middle order but not this time
    Prior 7 - batted well in 1st innings and kept well
    Broad 5 - bowling figures flattered him, batted well in the 2nd innings, when it didn't matter
    Swann 6 - not that it was difficult but pick of the bowlers. Like Broad, entertained in a lost cause today
    Anderson 4 - still no ducks but poor bowling performance
    Onions 3 - disappointed with the ball
    Harmison 1 - surely finished as a test bowler

  • Comment number 90.

    Ultimately, it falls down to the usual suspects ie:- wrong call upon winning the toss and not having the right bowlers for the match - personally, Sidebottom would have been a better bet. But fair play to the Aussies - they deserved to win because they got the balance right. As for the Oval test if Fred is fit then play him instead of Harmison and if they want to replace a batsman or two maybe they could try and persuade Trescothick to make a one off appearance - failing that, then Trott is the next best alternative - and at least England have a chance of winning the Ashes as opposed to being 2-1 down.............

  • Comment number 91.

    So Broad got more runs AND wickets (per innings, only fair way to judge) than Johnson and Hilf yet gets a lower score....if it had been Flintoff with 6 wicks and the 60 runs in Broads style he would be 9 and the media would be full of it. Even more impressive given the talk before the match of whether he deserved his place.

  • Comment number 92.

    Englands best opening batsmen are;
    Marcus Trescothick!!!

    So move Strauss to the troubled 3, he is our leader and needs to guide the team through, i was tempted to say bell then collingwood but i was scared to!

    Should be Ramps on his turf!!

    My Starting XI
    1. Thescothick (maybe one of the best openers in the world and england need him)
    2. Cook (will excell working with Thescothick)
    3. Strauss (captians innings)
    4. Ramps (best #3,4 in 1st class, oh and its his home ground)
    5. Bopara (future #3 but less pressure working from here may get in, if he bats 5 he will get 50+)
    6. Prior (best batman WK we have and gloves are getting better)
    7. Flintoff (insert here,...... the best all-rounder of my generation)
    8. Swann (no fault as far, once he finds his line)
    9. Broad (all round good cricketer, field bat and bowl not many match his all round game, his contribution working in tandom with Freddie will be needed like hoggard of old)
    10. Anderson (if sticks to line and length will keep aussies pegged)
    11. Harmison (same as, i know with 10 & 11 am being brave but if they do the 5 bowlers we have would and wil bowl out the aussies cheaply at the Oval)

  • Comment number 93.

    I agree with you PrettiestPolly. Many so-called England "fans" (I was of the impression that fans supported the team, rather than trying to grind the players into the ground every time they lose a match) seem to have been campaigning for Broad to be dropped virtually since he first played a match for England. Now, when he has a good game, taking 6-91 (incidentally, Andrew Flintoff has never taken six wickets in a Test innings. Just thought I'd throw that in.) and scoring an entertaining and defiant 61, these "fans", instead of offering some congratulations, simply dismiss his entire performance as meaningless. I suppose they're saying that because if Broad had simply rolled over like the rest of the England team then it would have been easier for them to continue to stick the knife into him.

  • Comment number 94.

  • Comment number 95.

    Dont worry I have seen how fickle some of these so called fans are, they are back to sticking the knife in Anderson as usual, its been the same for years with him, it will be him to be dropped next test.Well if he is injured they may get their way! It just goes round in a never ending circle, and it almost makes me want to stop posting actually. I like coming on here and reading balanced views, and posting my opinions, and we are ALL entitled to our own opinions, we all have our favourites and will stick up for them if pressed, but when "fans" start calling people "brainless"and "pathetic" is just disrespectful. We are all bitterly disapponted, sure, and the boys had a really bad time of it the last few days, but no need for that. I like Broad and so does my son, he has taken a lot of stick over the past week, but I enjoyed watching him bat today!!
    I fully expect England to come out fighting fit next week.

  • Comment number 96.

    I have noticed that throughout the 90 odd comments the one theme that is common is Ravi Bopara and Bell. With that much common consensus, if Blogs are anything to judge by, we should suggest a note to the selectors and I think these opinions are based on facts and stastics. I do not think we are getting personal either.

    The one comment that seems common and I disagree with is the one about Collingwood. I think he is a class all rounder. He is great in the field, he is generally a good batsman and can bowl. I think his age, experience and grit have to be given credit. I am not sure what went wrong this time.

    As for Flintoff's absence I think we better start getting used to it and find a decent all rounder as a replacement.

    As for Pietersen, I think he better stick to 20/20. He has mentally given up on Test and does not have the patience or the inkling for it. In fact this 20/20 and 50 overs games have completely changed the game of cricket. For better or worse is debatable. However one thing is undeniable, the mentality for the two games is totally different. Therefore those who play 20/20 should not play Test and vice versa or if you want a half way solution then only certain games can be played or certain number of test players can be in both. The advantage will be that this will bring in new talent as well as separate the men from the boys.


  • Comment number 97.

    Ok so I'm a huge Somerset fan and likely to be extremely biased but Tresco is an absolute genius and needs to be pleaded to for the Oval.
    If anyone disagrees with me, his last 8 championship scores are 96, 146, 22, 142, 37, 99, 108 and 107 not out. 757 runs at an average of 108. He is surely the finest opening bastman in England and it is a terrible shame that if Flower doesnt beg him to save the inept batting line up.

  • Comment number 98.


    you can't play 2 spinners at the oval and Rashid will get tonked by the aussies. He has no experience at test level. Great prospect but exposing him to this at an early age could be damaging.


    don't pick Ramps please. Alec Stewart will be at the Oval too should we pick him instead of Prior because it's his home ground?

  • Comment number 99.

    No one has yet mentioned Mike Yardy as an option to bat at number 3. He would be a much more "natural" choice in that position than Bopara (and has the record to prove it), has had some form this season (scored 67 against the Aussies earlier in the summer), has an excellent character (contrary to the current incumbents...), and offers the added benefit of some half-decent (left-arm) spin, which would give England an interesting bowling option at the Oval, without having to sacrifice a seamer. It then becomes a straight choice at number 4 between Bopara, Bell, Trott - or even KP or Ramps?!

  • Comment number 100.

    Kent fans have been saying it for ever "Robert Key England's number 3" He is a tough old stager.

    Cook needs to sort his feet out as the Aussies are suffocating him into making mistakes.

    Bell needs to go back to county and sort out his mental game. Bopara looks mentally shot.


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