England & Australia – marks out of 10 for The Oval
Here’s the Ashes 5th Test Player Ratings, Marks Out of 10
. . .
Andrew Strauss – 9
Did everything right from winning the toss to giving both England innings some backbone at the top of the order, and for making the brave decision to bowl Stuart Broad after lunch on Friday. On a personal level, he will be slightly disappointed with getting out to bad shots in each innings especially given his excellent conversion rate of fifties into tons. However, as an Ashes winning skipper, he probably won’t dwell on this for long.
Alistair Cook – 4
Failures in both innings concluded a disappointing series for the Essex man. He possibly needs some time out of the team to re-organise his game and missing the South Africa series may benefit him in the long term. It worked for Strauss, so maybe it could work for Cook.
Ian Bell – 7
Was under extreme pressure coming into the match with many observers feeling he was lucky to survive after Headingley. It is to Bell’s credit therefore that after a torrid start against Mitchell Johnson, he made the top score (72) in England’s first innings. Alas he failed to get his first Test century at number three (now 32 innings) and then failed in the second innings. Whether Bell is the long term solution at number three is still to be seen – a more dominant character such as Kevin Pietersen may be a better option.
Paul Collingwood – 5
The hero of Cardiff got out to a shocking shot in the first innings when England were on top, and was then caught at short leg off a Mitchell Johnson no ball in his second knock. Collingwood has not had a good last three Tests but the critics underestimate him and the selectors if they think this is the end of the road for the Durham man.
Jonathan Trott – 10
The brave decision by the selectors to select Trott paid off more then they ever could have imagined. Four years ago it was his fellow South African Kevin Pietersen who was the hero of the hour at The Oval. This time it was centurion Trott who took to Test cricket like a duck to water. He clearly has the technique and the temperament to have a long England career.
Matt Prior – 6
It was a disappointing match with the bat for the Sussex keeper being fooled by a Mitchell Johnson slower ball in the first innings and run out cheaply in the second. However, on a nightmare pitch for keepers he acquitted himself well with the gloves as shown with his smart stumping of North in the second innings.
Andrew Flintoff – 6
It was the perfect farewell to Test cricket for Freddie, although he didn’t make a significant contribution with bat or ball in the match. His brilliant run out of Ponting at a time when English nerves were beginning to get frayed is a fitting epitaph for a man with a knack of making things happen out of nothing. England will sorely miss Flintoff the bowler, the attacking batsman and the brilliant slip fielder.
Stuart Broad – 10
Bowled the spell of the series to effectively win the Ashes for England with his 5 for 37 on the second day. Broad also made useful contributions with the bat in both innings and seems to have become Flintoff’s anointed successor. If his bowling on Friday is anything to go by he could yet become England’s version of Glenn McGrath.
Graham Swann – 9
On a pitch that provided a lot of assistance to spinners, Swann bowled well in both innings taking eight wickets in the match. He also made an ebullient 63 in England’s second innings and with Flintoff retiring, won’t look out of place at number eight.
James Anderson – 5
Bowled tidily in both innings without reward but still struggling to shake off criticisms that he is ineffective when the ball isn’t swinging. On a positive note however, his body language was much improved from Headingley.
Stephen Harmison – 6
The Durham man only bowled four overs in the Australian first innings, but came to the party in the second innings taking take three wickets including Siddle and Clark in consecutive balls. He bowled with a good rhythm and real menace, and if he can be persuaded to tour could make a telling contribution in South Africa.
Shane Watson – 6
The makeshift opener got starts in both innings but was out leg before each time. Presumably Phillip Hughes will come back to open in the Australian summer, but Watson does look a decent batsman and should be able to find a position in the middle order where he perhaps would be better suited.
Simon Katich – 7
Batted well in both innings, but again failed to push on and make a big score. His fielding at short leg was exceptional with the brilliant run out of Trott in the first innings and exceptional reflex catch to dismiss Bell in the second particular highlights.
Ricky Ponting – 7
It cannot have taken long for Ponting to rue the decision to not pick a frontline spinner as he had to juggle an attack not suited for the pitch. Failed in the first innings but showed his class in the second until he was run out in a moment of madness. Without that run out, with both him and Hussey in control, who knows?
Mike Hussey – 8
Mr Cricket was drinking in the last chance saloon when he walked out to bat in the second innings. So the fact that he was able to deal with this, a dodgy pitch and the prospect of losing the Ashes and still make a fighting century was a credit to him.
Michael Clarke – 3
The best batsman in the series, along with Strauss, failed in both innings. His dismissal in the first innings driving against a wide ball from Broad was poor, although his run out dismissal in the second was both bizarre and unlucky. He stands a good chance of being captain for the next tour to England in 2013.
Marcus North – 6
Unlucky to be given out leg before in the first innings off an inside edge, but stumped attempting a sweep in the second. Bowled well in the England second innings, particularly for a part-timer, taking four wickets.
Brad Haddin – 4
Completely bamboozled by Stuart Broad in the first innings, he batted better in the second innings before a rush of blood led to him being caught at cow corner off of Swann. Kept tidily enough.
Mitchell Johnson – 6
Bowled with hostility in both innings on a pitch that didn’t suit him, particularly at the start of England’s second innings when he had Bell and Collingwood both caught at short leg. If he had started the series how he finished it at Headingley and the Oval, then it is probable that the Ashes would be going back Down Under.
Peter Siddle – 6
Bowled excellently in England’s first innings and is clearly one with a big future in Test cricket. Eventually the pitch got the better of him in England’s second innings.
Stuart Clark – 4
It was a mistake to pick Clark, one of the architects of the Headingley win, for this Test. Brett Lee and especially Nathan Hauritz would both have been better options on that surface. Tried his best and bowled a good spell at Strauss in the second innings.
Ben Hilfenhaus – 5
The bowler of the series had a disappointing game although he did pick up enough wickets to deservedly become the leading wicket taker of the series. This pitch was never likely to suit Hilfenhaus.
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