Tuesday, 11 January 2011

England's Ashes Ratings

Andrew Strauss: 7
Straus started the series with a duck and a hundred, and sort of went that way throughout. A little hit and miss with the bat, but a couple of handy fifties bumped up his average to an acceptable standard. But most of Strauss's work came as captain - with great field settings, well thought-out plans and evidently top man-management, Strauss had a series to remember.

Alastair Cook: 10
I toyed with not giving Cook a ten because he went 'a bit quiet' for the 3rd and 4th tests, but to not give someone who made the highest amount of runs in Australia since Hammond full marks would just be me being contrary. A huge contribution in three innings victories - all the better for the stick he'd been getting over the English summer when some said that he shouldn't even have gone to Australia. Arise, Sir Alastair Cook?

Jonathan Trott: 8
Made hundreds, and made big hundreds. Trott loves playing against Australia. Trott, once dug into an innings, is incredibly difficult to remove, as his stupidly high average testifies. Wore the Australians down at the start of his numerous innings, and then punished them as they tired later on.

Kevin Pietersen: 7
Made a great double ton in Adelaide, but other than that didn't do an awful lot else. A couple of handy thirties and forties were added to the mix, but England's batting was so strong that those quick contributions were just adding to Australian misery. Seems to be much more integrated into the team ethic of this current England side, which can only be good for England going forward.

Paul Collingwood: 3
It seems harsh to give a member of such a dominant side (and one I gave a glowing tribute to only the other day) such a low score, but I could easily have given him a 1 based on his strong suit (batting), where he looked like he couldn't buy a run at times. However, Collingwood does offer more than that, with some spectacular catches, and two handy wickets (as well as other all-round team contributions), so I've knocked his score up a bit. But if Colly saw this website (unlikely) and his score, he'd be happier in the knowledge that the number 3 is also the number of tests won, and the number of Ashes he's won.

Ian Bell: 8
The monkey which has been on Ian Bell's back for his entire career has been lifted - poor performances against Australia. So often ridiculed and taunted, the new Ian Bell (circa South Africa 2009/10) stood up to Aussie jibes and silenced them with runs. His maiden Ashes hundred at the SCG meant a lot, and he was one of England's (many) shining lights throughout the series.

Matt Prior: 8
His keeping was superb, and his handy, quick runs down the order (at Melbourne and Sydney especially) adds massively to the balance of the team. Good enough to bat at six, but when he bats at seven, England have so much strength down the order.

Stuart Broad: 4
Will be disappointed that his series ended so abruptly, and will also be very disappointed with how few wickets he took. However, he bowled very well without taking wickets in the first two tests, and his contribution by adding pressure (leading to wickets down the other end) in the Adelaide win shouldn't be forgotten. He'll be also disappointed that coming off a 169 and calls for his promotion up the order he couldn't muster a single run in his two innings.

Graeme Swann: 7
While he may not have tore them apart (again), he certainly built pressure, and took handy wickets when his captain most needed them. Pitches were doctored as so to nullify him (showing his threat), and the gulf between Swann and Doherty / Beer / North / Smith was incredible. A big part of the team, and wrapped it up in Adelaide as well as taking key wickets throughout. And he gave us The Sprinkler.

Jimmy Anderson: 9
Many expected him to struggle, especially if the ball wasn't swinging. But his ability to hit the right areas early on, as well as generating a hitherto unseen reverse-swinger made him a potent weapon, and deserved the wickets he took. He led England's attack superbly, and the numerous sub-par Aussie scores are testament to his discipline and genuine skill.

Steve Finn: 7
A steep learning curve, but while he was expensive, he kept taking wickets, which is always a positive. Has much to work on and learn from, but he can (and will be) a brilliant test player for England in the future.

Chris Tremlett: 8
Arguably the best bowler of the three tests he played, the big question was why it's taken him so long to get back into the international arena. Using great pace and bounce to unsettle a fragile Aussie line up, Tremlett more than paid back the show of faith from the selectors, and may have pencilled his name in for the forthcoming few series.

Tim Bresnan: 8
Nobody expected much of Bresnan when picked for Melbourne, but his performance with the ball at the MCG was a great display of swing bowling which put a further nail into the Australian coffin. Then followed that up with a disciplined and dangerous spell at the SCG, pushing himself forward for selection in the next few series. Could play as either a specialist bowler at 8, or an all-rounder at 7, and if his batting during this series has any impact, the patient innings alongside Prior at the SCG should stand him in good stead.

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