West Indies in England 2012

Strauss scores highly with return to form

Marks out of ten for England after they retained the Wisden Trophy

George Dobell

June 12, 2012

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

Stuart Broad recorded his fifth five-wicket haul in Tests, England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, 1st day, May 17, 2012
Stuart Broad seems to be on the brink of great things © Getty Images
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8
Andrew Strauss
Strauss answered many of the questions about his own form with the bat with centuries at Lord's and Trent Bridge. He ended the series with an average of 65.20 and, of batsmen on either side, only Marlon Samuels scored more runs. Although Strauss was criticised for being overly defensive in the field at Edgbaston, he oversaw England's return to winning ways in typically unruffled fashion. He also took five catches - the joint highest of all England fielders, including Matt Prior.

James Anderson
Immaculate as ever. The figures may not show it - Anderson beat the bat without reward countless times - but Anderson was the leading bowler in the series and, most unusually for a fast bowler, is arguably England's best fielder in all positions. His absence - with the ball and in the field - was certainly felt at Edgbaston. You have to go back a couple of years to find the last time Anderson endured even a bad session with the red ball and, even if a little of the pace may have gone, such is Anderson's control and mastery of both seam and swing, that he is establishing a reputation as one of the finest seamers England have produced.

Graham Onions
An impressive and heart-warming return to Test cricket at Edgbaston after injury threatened his career. It seems Onions, whose championship record this season is exceptional, was always more likely to play at Edgbaston than Steven Finn and justified that decision with a performance that displayed pace, consistency, fitness and skill. Given better support in the slips and he would surely have finished with even better figures than 4 for 88. Quite how much joy he would experience on Indian pitches is open to debate but, that tour apart, he should prove a valuable member of the England squad for the foreseeable future.

Stuart Broad
No-one on either side took more wickets than Broad - 14 in just two Tests - including a career-best 7 for 72 at Lord's. Odd as it sounds, he was not at his best even in that Test, where he took 11 wickets in all, and only belatedly found his ideal length. But for someone to take seven wickets in an innings and still have more to offer, suggests they have the ability to be quite a bowler. A lack of red ball cricket ahead of the South Africa series is the only concern about Broad. In all other ways, he should be a cricketer on the brink of great things.

7.5
Ian Bell
Three half-centuries in four innings and a series batting average of 111 were a more than decent return for a man who came into the series under just a little bit of a cloud following a disappointing winter. A couple of those innings - the unbeaten 63 at Lord's and the unbeaten 76 at Edgbaston - came with England under a little bit of pressure, too, as Bell showed that, in the absence of top-quality spin, he has little to fear in international cricket. The resting of James Anderson at Edgbaston forced Bell into the slip cordon and resulted in two straightforward chances going down, but this was a reassuring return from a man of whom England will be expecting big things in against South Africa. Had the umpires not unnecessarily taken the players from the pitch for bad light on the fourth evening of the third Test, he might well have become the first Warwickshire player to score a Test century at Edgbaston.

7
Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen, too, looked in the best of form, but did not go to register the big score to demonstrate it. Some of his strokes - pulling in front of square and driving imperiously on the up off the seamers - suggested he is in peak form and he passed 50 twice in four innings. Underlying the impression that concentration might be his main enemy, he was twice dismissed by Marlon Samuels but never by Kemar Roach or Tino Best.

Tim Bresnan
Under just a little pressure to justify his position as third seamer after the Lord's Test where he took 1 for 144 and was dismissed for a duck, Bresnan responded with a man of the match winning performance at Trent Bridge. Those eight wickets and an important, unbeaten innings of 39 amply demonstrated Bresnan's all-round worth and only Broad, on either side, claimed more than his dozen wickets.

6.5
Graeme Swann
On pitches offering him precious little, Swann experienced a relatively quiet series, but still weighed in with some valuable contributions. He took three important second innings wickets - including Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul - at Lord's as West Indies threatened to bat themselves into a strong position. Swann also claimed his first Test wickets on his home ground of Trent Bridge and, in a series in which Chanderpaul was only dismissed three times, Swann claimed him twice. He also scored an important 30 at Lord's to take the game away from West Indies.

Alastair Cook
Cook only scored one half-century in the series, but that innings - a calm 79 that helped England to victory at Lord's after they had slipped to 57 for 4 chasing 191 at Lord's - was a valuable contribution. After the debacle of Abu Dhabi, such assurance under pressure was heartening indeed, and Cook looked equally nerveless in chasing down the low total at Nottingham. He endured one horrid innings at Nottingham - he was reprieved twice after edging no-balls and still fell prodding at one angled across him - and seemed to over compensate at Edgbaston - where he was trapped leg before having moved across his stumps and tried to work the ball into the leg side, but no England pair have ever added more runs together than Cook and Strauss and that stability should serve them well against South Africa.

6
Jonathan Trott
Looked in decent form throughout, but failed to capitalise on it. It is unlike Trott to miss out when set and he may reflect that he could have played straighter. And for a man who established himself in county cricket as a slip fielder of rare brilliance, it seems something of a waste that he finds himself at fine leg so often.

Matt Prior
Maybe a little below his best at Edgbaston, where he was troubled by an eye-infection, but generally Prior was as quietly efficient as ever behind the stumps. Prior only had two innings with the bat, but was bowled through the gate on both occasions and may, against South Africa's attack, need to bide his time a little more. His strike-rate in this series was 92.10: entertaining, certainly, but what is the hurry?

Steven Finn
It would be wrong to read too much into one innings of bowling on a flat pitch, but perhaps Finn was just a little disappointing at Edgbaston. He did not, by any means, bowl poorly, though he did seem to lose his line and length for a while on the fourth morning when Best's counterattack left him flustered. Perhaps, having been on the brink of the team for months, he may have suffered from trying too hard when given what he knew was sure to be a limited opportunity. Still, he had bowled with decent - though not outrageous - pace on the third day and remains a fine bowler to have in reserve. Aged 23, he still has time to pick up some of the seam and swing skills from Anderson and Broad.

3
Jonny Bairstow
Three completed innings is surely too short a sample size on which to judge a young player, but it seems fair to state that Bairstow is unlikely to be risked against South Africa's daunting pace attack. Wining an opportunity to claim the No. 6 spot for his own due to the absence of the injured Ravi Bopara, Bairstow struggled against the pace and hostility of Roach and Best and, after questions were raised against his ability to play the short ball at Trent Bridge, he was dismissed playing across a full straight ball at Lord's. He was, perhaps, unfortunate to twice be confronted by the second new ball, but the fact that Steve Davies was called-up to provide wicketkeeping cover suggests there are also doubts about Bairstow's current ability with the gloves. Aged only 22, he is highly rated by the team management, has time to come again and will remain part of England's limited-overs teams.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by JG2704 on (June 14, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

@Giovaughn Wilson on (June 13 2012, 23:42 PM GMT) Gabriel and Onions had similar figures - Gabril 4-86 over 2 inns and Onions 4-88 over 1. They should both be equal and I think we're all agreed that WI were harshly marked comp to Eng. As for Gibson - when he coached the Eng bowlers I heard of no probs between him and any of the Eng players and he left in amicable circumstances to coach his home side and I think he's doing a great job. Maybe some of these bigger players aren't/weren't happy with the discipline he tries to instill into the side. The fact is that without some of the more high profile and more talented players WI seem to be more competitive than they were when these guys were playing speaks volumes. Also re Sarwan , I looked up his last load of inns for WI and his stats were very poor. Re Gayle , I see he has now agreed to play all 3 formats , but I'll be interested to see if he still chooses tests over IPL

Posted by   on (June 13, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

Gabriel was injured & was on his debut yet he still outbowled Onions. It is about time we get rid of Gibson as full coach. He could be our pace bowling coach or our A team coach but not full coach of the Senior West Indies team. He does not have a clue about handling senior batsmen like Gayle Sarwan etc. If we could get some1 like Mcdermott or Akram or even Holding / Walsh/ Ambrose for our bowling coach our pace attack could be right up there with England's or South Africa's in a year or two. we have the talent as Rampaul, Gabriel & Roach are pretty decent & Best, Fidel & Taylor could hang around for a few years. Not to mention the youngsters like left arm pacers Cotterel & Delorn Johnson who is currently Roughing up the India A team. Simmons, Edwards, Brathwaite, Powell and Bharath need to spend some time in the A team under the guidance of a good batting coach.

Posted by 5wombats on (June 13, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

@Nag Pavan. Good. Glad we've got that straight. Anderson was pretty handy in Sri Lanka and UAE. Can't see how he wouldn't be any less handy in india. IMO Anderson, Broad, etc, will all be looking forward to india tremendously.... Meanwhile, india do not have anyone of the calibre of Rehman or Ajmal, or Herath. How are india going to take the 20 wickets they need in order to beat England? England bowlers have shown time and again that they are good on any surface - india bowlers meanwhile - have not.

Posted by   on (June 13, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

is it fair that Onions who took the same number of wickets at a worse strike rate & average than Gabriel got a rating of 8 as compared to Gabriel's 4 points? & despite Bresnan not doing much with the bat does he deserves a rating 2 points higher than Roach who took his wickets at a similar average and much better strike rate than Bresnan? Chanderpaul scores nearly twice as many runs as Trott at more than twice the average & yet they both get a rating of 6?

Posted by JG2704 on (June 13, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

@ Nag Pavan on (June 13 2012, 09:57 AM GMT) So why do you think Anderson will be less than ordinary and why do you even feelthe need to post such a comment when it has no relevence to the subject?

Posted by phendel on (June 13, 2012, 12:25 GMT)

narine 3....shillingford 1....all spinners this series had a tough time but Swann gets a 6.5.....thts a clear bias.....dnt even want to see the marks out of ten when WI beat england 3-0 in the ODI series.....england might get fives for at least showing up

Posted by   on (June 13, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

@Keran Karsan Kerai .....i specifically said India not the subcontinent as a whole. We dont need to tell how badly he performed in 2011 WC (most ofl england matches were in india) @Trickstar let's wait and see..... @5wombats plz plz read properly wat i told.....i meant anderson can never be lethal in india. That doesn't mean India played well in England last yr...infact it has no relation and i too agree india played less than ordinary in england...

Posted by Ross_Co on (June 13, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

Agree with just about everybody here re: Onions - 2 pts per wicket, jeepers! Bresnan pulled victory from the jaws of defeat for God's sake. What did Onions do - restrict the Windies to under 600? Wow. The other three 8's are arguably justified but everyone else could probably drop a point. Finn could drop 2 points. Bairstow could go into negative figures.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 13, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

@jackiethepen on (June 12 2012, 22:57 PM GMT) For once I think you are correct in that Bell should have been marked higher than Onions. He did come in at a critical stage in the 1st test and saw the team home. But then if you look at the WI marks out of 10 you'll notice Eng players were marked very generously comp to WI players. I mean Onions figures in his 1 test were 4-88 and he got 8 and Gabriel got match figures of 4-86 and he got 4. Prior got a 6 when he didn't score more than 19 in any inns and his opposite Ramdin got 5 when he scored 100 in the last test which might have saved the game or even helped win the game had it gone the distance. Unless Prior was that much better at keeping wicket then it seems absurd. Maybe Viv was helping marking the players and because the performances were in losing tests they were deemed meaningless?

Posted by Meety on (June 13, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

Reasonable scoring, however, I definately would not of had Onions acoring 8 for one test no matter how heart warming a comeback it was. Finn got 6 (also too high IMO), for a par one test performance, so IMO a man of the match performance would not get more than 6, as these articles mostly rate the whole series. For a good one match bowling performance in a Test series, the most I'd of given Onions is 5 & Finn 4. In the end though - this all conjecture & doesn't really rate as something to be too bothered about!

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