The Ashes 2010-11

Cook the best of England's terrific team

England's Ashes campaign was meticulously planned and superbly executed. They won a series in Australia for the first time in 24 years, and in so doing, inflicted three innings defeats on their oldest opponents. ESPNcricinfo assesses the men who took part

Andrew Miller

January 8, 2011

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook continued his good form to end the first day unbeaten on 80, Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, December 26, 2010
Alastair Cook began batting Australia out of the Ashes at the Gabba © Getty Images

Alastair Cook
Titanic. In the build-up to the series, Australia obsessed about Cook's technical weaknesses, but completely neglected his mental strength. The upshot was a series that might have been torn from the sepia annals of the 1920s or 30s, as Cook booked himself in time and time again, refused to flinch when the ball passed his off stump, and ground out his runs with scarcely a false stroke in 36 hours and 11 minutes at the crease. His hundreds in Adelaide and Sydney were crucial to the cause, but it was his phenomenal performance at the Gabba that made everything else possible. His first-innings 67 was an early reassurance that things were going to be okay, his second-innings 235 not out made possible the iconic scoreline of 1 for 517, and was the prelude to a series of unfeasibly prolific run-making.

James AndersonThey said he'd never front up in Australia, they reminded him endlessly of his five wickets at 82.60 on the whitewash tour, and they scoffed at his match-winning feats with the Duke ball back in England. The Kookaburra, cloudless skies and flat Aussie pitches would neuter him, they said. They've all changed their tune now. Anderson was magnificent, right from the moment he bowled without a modicum of luck on the third day at the Gabba. At different stages of the series, and on a variety of different surfaces, he found conventional swing, conventional seam and reverse swing, and allied all of those skills to a relentless attacking line and length. Dale Steyn may be quicker and his outswinger may be the world's most wondrous fast-bowling sight. But Anderson has got the full arsenal now …

Jonathan Trott
Bloodlessly brilliant from the Gabba through to Melbourne, a modern-day Chris Tavare with more runs, more shots, and just as many infuriating mannerisms that ensured he crawled right under the Australians' skins, and refused to budge. Briefly took his average in Ashes Tests to 100.83 before a duck in Sydney, but his work by then had been done, particularly in Melbourne when Australia's tea-time dismissal on the first day gave him permission to set his own tempo and crush them for an unbeaten 168 that spanned more than eight hours. His fielding was a revelation as well, and that direct-hit from midwicket to run out Simon Katich without facing in Adelaide was one of England's moments of the tour.

Chris Tremlett
Yet another England quick who confounded all expectations. Tremlett's reputation preceded him for years, with Shane Warne, his former captain at Hampshire, questioning his desire while at the same time remarking that he had all the attributes to be the best fast bowler in the world. Warne's fellow Victorian, David Saker, however, took no notice of the doubters and instead backed a man with the physique of a rugby lock-forward to make a big splash on the big stage. Eight wickets on a Perth flyer was just the start of his contributions. His twin lifters to Watson and Ponting in Melbourne were superb, and it was he who had the honour of claiming the final wicket of the series to cue the mother of all celebrations.

Ian Bell
His maiden Ashes hundred was tainted by a UDRS controversy, but there could be no quibbling with the fact that he had earned his landmark. The Shermanator of four years ago became the Terminator of 2010-11 - Shane Warne's words, not mine - a player who, pound for pound, looked the most fluent and classy batsman operating on either side. England persistently batted him too low in the order, so that on the two occasions when he really looked the part, at the Gabba and in Perth, he ran out of partners before he could make his form count. But in his fourth Ashes campaign, he transformed his reputation, and by 2013, he'll be ready to be the big noise.

Matt Prior
Started the series with a wafty drive to set up Peter Siddle's hat-trick, but finished with a brutal century to hoist England to their highest ever total in Ashes campaigns in Australia. In between whiles he did what he had to do with scarcely a foot out of place. His six catches in the Melbourne rout equalled the Ashes record, and his final tally of 23 was a testament both to his improved standards with the gloves, and to the number of opportunities that England's relentless attack created.

Andrew Strauss
The first captain to defend the Ashes in Australia since Mike Brearley in 1978-79, Strauss has earned his place in the English sporting pantheon, but he had to do it the hard way. His flapped cut to gully from the third ball of the series was a staggering moment of theatre that threatened to topple the equilibrium of his team, but Strauss to his immense credit blocked out the bad juju and responded with the first of England's nine centuries in the series. Thereafter he was the rapier to Cook's bludgeon, dealing in momentum-seizing cameos, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney (once he'd worked out the right length to leave on these pitches). On-field leadership was rarely spectacular, but it rarely needed to be either.

Out of the shadows: James Anderson is now an outstanding quick bowler, Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, December 3, 2010
They said James Anderson couldn't bowl in Australia. They were so wrong © Getty Images

Kevin Pietersen
Aside from one formidable double-hundred in Adelaide, it was a series of missed opportunities for Pietersen, whose fury at his shortcomings was never more obvious than during the Perth defeat. Nevertheless, he served his purpose superbly in the series, not least because the Australians spent so long in the build-up obsessing about the threat he posed, they completely neglected to take any attention of the rest of the top-order, least of all the key man Cook. He struggled to be the ultimate team player, with Lamborghini escapades, Twitter rants and attention-seeking press comments all causing a fuss at various moments of the trip, but he was never anything less than professional in his preparations - as has always been the case.

Tim Bresnan
Extraordinarily effective when he was given his chance in Melbourne, Bresnan was not only England's fastest seamer in the final two Tests, he was also the most consistent reverse-swinger, and relentlessly hostile from a full, stump-threatening length with a hint of jag off the deck. The lessons learned on the pudding decks of Bangladesh in March held him in good stead for the biggest moment of his career, in front of 85,000 expectant punters on Boxing Day, and he brought the house down in both innings - not least with his 3 for 2 in 18 balls in the second dig. He made a cameo with the bat in Sydney to remind everyone of his allround potential, which might come in handy on the slow decks of Sri Lanka next winter.

Graeme Swann Less of a match-winner than might have been anticipated, but on the one occasion he was really obliged to front up, he duly did so, with five second-innings wickets in the innings win at Adelaide. Michael Hussey kept him under the pump in the early exchanges, taking a shine to him in Brisbane before beating him clean out of the attack in Perth, but the festive Tests provided the stage for the showman to return. His spell of 22 overs for 23 runs in Melbourne was one of the finest spells of attacking yet containing spin bowling since Warne was in his pomp. On a separate note, Swanny's video diary gets 10 out of 10 for providing the most candid dressing-room insights imaginable.

Stuart Broad
Two wickets at 80.50 and a first-ball duck were hardly the returns that Broad would have envisaged when he set about emulating the Ashes-winnings feats of his father Chris in 1986-87. Nevertheless, his influence on the squad was massive in those opening two games, and only properly appreciated in hindsight, when England regrouped after the Perth defeat and returned to their original game plan of bowling for maidens and suffocating their opponents into mistakes. Broad's economy rate of 2.30 was never bettered in the course of the series, but as things turned out, the reserve seamers were well enough drilled to cover for his absence.

Steven Finn
At the age of 21, his time will surely come again, and when it does, he will have the memory of six first-innings wickets at the Gabbatoir to remind him that his temperament is rock-solid. Fronted up brilliantly in Adelaide as well, sharing the new ball when Broad went lame and making sure that England's perfect performance did not peter out in disappointment. By Perth he was looking jaded, and his inability to hit the right length for the conditions was a key reason why Australia wriggled off the hook and were able to transform the contest. But he'll know better for next time. And for the time after that ...

Paul Collingwood
An extra mark for sentimentality? Or for recognition that team spirit is a fundamental requirement on a tour as arduous as an Ashes campaign, and this is a man who possesses it in spades? Collingwood's batting form was woeful throughout the series, and had he not chosen to retire from Test cricket in Sydney, his tally of 83 runs in six innings would probably have done the deed for him by next summer. But his tidy offcutters claimed the invaluable scalp of Hussey in Sydney, while his catching was invaluable. Of his nine takes, the most by any outfielder on either team, none was more symbolic than the salmon leap at Perth to scythe down Ponting. Keeping Australia's captain under lock and key was an integral factor in England's success.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

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Posted by Something_Witty on (January 11, 2011, 3:48 GMT)

5wombats, I think you missed my point. Unless you were asking Marcio WHY he was called Marcio? In which case, I'd guess it's either because that's his name or simply what he prefers to be called. Just to clear it up, "Wherefore: An intent or purpose; Why, for what reason, because of what; Therefore; Because of which". Moving on, in my opinion, any of the top 5 teams can be great on their day, and in spite of what the rankings say, there is very little between them all. England may well reach number one, but you can bet they won't be there for long before someone else displaces them.

Posted by H_Z_O on (January 11, 2011, 1:26 GMT)

@Simon Lewis England's strategy for winning the Ashes was strangling the runs, which Broad did pretty well. There's no way we'd have been able to carry Finn's erratic bowling without Broad's economy (hence the real reason Bresnan was selected ahead of Finn later in the series). @James Adams-Pace Broad out-bowled Finn all series, despite the way the stats look. As for bowling consistently short, Broad was far less guilty of that than Finn, who bowled short at the wrong batsmen (Hussey in particular, who loves it short) far too regularly, and then overcompensated. It was as if Finn had no real plan for what he was doing and just ran up and bowled. I'd agree that Tremlett and Bresnan bowled well enough to make Broad's return to the side far from guaranteed, but he's a country mile ahead of Finn who has all the talent but lacks a cricketing brain. Broad was unlucky not to pick up a hat-full at Brisbane and I was certain a 5-for would have come his way later in the series had he stayed fit.

Posted by H_Z_O on (January 11, 2011, 1:05 GMT)

@Something_Witty I figure that bit about "So to say that "Oh if England player X gets a this, then Australian player X must surely get an X-1, because he was even worse." Just seems a tad confrontational." was aimed at my comment? I was merely responding to the bit where you said "Peter English obviously grades people more harshly than Andrew Miller." and pointed out how, if your standard for some of the English players were adopted by Andrew, Peter's ratings were even more generous. So I stand by those remarks. I will, however, acknowledge that calling you deluded was harsh. You've clearly shown I was wrong, in both your statement that England were brilliant in this series, and that it doesn't mean that England are the new Australia. They're not, and while I disagree about their talent (I remember commenting after Cook's debut that he'd be a genuine star, and I stand by that, and feel similarly about Bell and Jimmy), there's plenty of sense in England realising what got us this far.

Posted by On_me_head_son on (January 10, 2011, 20:45 GMT)

Well done England. A TEAM FULL OF TALENTED GUYS + SELF BELIEF = SUCCESS Just remember this formula Andrew Strauss & I am certain you will do well....very well. As a Pakistani supporter who supports you as well as the place of my birth it was good to see the positivity in which you played your cricket. All I can say is if you carry on with the same positivity the rest of the world of cricket needs to watch out...GOOD LUCK in your future Endeavours. And just a quick note to Alistair Cook - Have you ever thought about auditioning for the Bond role when you retire?

Posted by 5wombats on (January 10, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

@Something_Witty; wrong again -Juliet: O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love And I'll no longer be a Capulet. So - I guess this is love over the oceans! Anyway - no one, certainly not me, would claim that England are the "new australia". Far from it - there is plenty of work to be done. Perth showed that - "Great" teams just don't get whipped in that fashion, beaten by just a few good performances by the other side; Harris, Johnson and Hussey pretty much beat England on their own in that Test - and this is what needs to be eliminated from Englands game in order for them to improve.

Posted by Domzo on (January 10, 2011, 9:44 GMT)

"Anderson should be a bit lower on a 7 or so, he still doesn't take wickets if the ball doesn't swing."

I think there's a kernel of truth iin that, though what Anderson is getting better and better at is getting swing when conditions aren't necessarily conducive to it, and also getting reverse swing with the older ball. He's also developed an accuracy based game for when it isn't swinging which dries up the scoring rate and helps the bowler at the other end - I think you could attribute several of Finn's wickets to Anderson's economical bowling at the other end for example. Finn was more like the 2006/7 Anderson, but with more support from the rest of the unit keeping it tight at the other end. That's why I think the mark is fair enough. That's been one of the things the series has really shown, this England unit works very well as a team.

Posted by Something_Witty on (January 10, 2011, 7:19 GMT)

Firstly, 5wombats, you should know your Shakespeare better, being English and all. Wherefore means "why", not "where". Secondly, the key to England's success in recent times has not been through a star-studded team producing brilliant performances, it has been through a bunch of skilled and disciplined players playing to their strengths and knowing their limits. Without any genuine stars, it will be hard for them to stay this strong for extended periods, so predictions of them being "the new Australia" are merely hyperbolic and very premature. They're looking good at the moment, and with the brainless cricket we are currently playing, I'm expecting them to sweep the limited overs series as well. (Sadly).

Posted by landl47 on (January 10, 2011, 2:59 GMT)

@Something_Witty: fair enough. I don't think you and I are far apart in our evaluations. I thought Tremlett bowled very well, but I wouldn't rate him quite as highly as that. I thought he had a couple of uninspired spells in the first innings at Sydney and at times bowled too short. Nice of you to compare him with McGrath, but he's got a long way to go before being mentioned in the same breath as Pigeon. I'd also give a 10 for a quadruple century, or if a bowler had taken 19 wickets in a test. Since both feats have only been achieved once in the history of test cricket, I think any debutant who did it would have the right to the maximum!

Posted by 5wombats on (January 9, 2011, 21:16 GMT)

The Thoughts of Chairman Wombat. Cook=10 Superb - has to be 10. Strauss=7.5. Trott=9 unflappable. KP=7.5 would have wanted to do more . Colly=(and I'm ashamed to say)- 5. Bell=8. Prior=7. Broad=6. Bresnan=7 a revelation. Tremlett=8.5 really a fantastic performance considering he was not an England regular before this series. Anderson=9 Superb. Swann=7.5. Finn=6 but sure to improve. For me, the "line" is 6. Anything 6 and over is OK. The one player who didn't rate 6 was Collingwood (sadly) and he knew what to do. Australia had most of their team under 6. Ponting in particular, was very very poor. He needs to be as big as Collingwood - and recognise that the time has come. Trouble is - ponting is not big, just stubborn. As for Clarke - frankly, he was hopeless - but if he can move out of the little mans shadow he might be OK.

Posted by voma on (January 9, 2011, 20:41 GMT)

Blimey i never realised how completly deluded some Aussie fans are , something witty and jones2 . You were completly outclassed ! . And the only thing that is hard to understand is how bad ponting and clarke were .

Posted by   on (January 9, 2011, 20:18 GMT)

7 for Swann? 6 for Broad? 5 for Collingwood?

Come off it!

Posted by Rakim on (January 9, 2011, 20:07 GMT)

Cook is best batsman in the world right now, Sachin is the greatest ofc. But I like Cook

Posted by 5wombats on (January 9, 2011, 17:50 GMT)

@Something_Witty; nice climb down. Better late than never. Now just 3 remain; @popcorn, @jonesy2 and @Marcio. Marcio, Marcio - wherefore art thou Marcio? I won my bet on England to win at Syndney (11/8) and with my winnings sent him a Stunned Mullet and a large slice of Humble Pie. Perhaps he had an allegic reaction. These 3 guys still think Australia were the better team in the 2010/11 Ashes even though Australia got beat by an Innings 3 times in the series. Some people never learn.

Posted by Something_Witty on (January 9, 2011, 10:53 GMT)

landl, I'll say it right now, England were brilliant this series. I'm not so proud and stubborn that I'm not going to admit that. They outplayed Australia in every department this summer, only a fool would not concede that fact. I gave Tremlett a 10 because he has not bowled a poor spell since he came in, and was unlucky to not pick up more wickets every time he bowled. His line and length was immaculate, he got movement off the seam both ways, swung it both ways and got disconcerting bounce off a good length. It was (dare I say it), a Mcgrath-esque bowling performance from him, *that* is why I rated him as a 10. My feeling is that you can only give marks on the tests they played in. So what if he only played 3 tests? He was still England's best bowler by some distance. If Khawaja had come out in Sydney and made an unbeaten quadruple-century, I'd have given him a 10 as well even though he would only have played in one test.

Posted by tjsimonsen on (January 9, 2011, 5:48 GMT)

@Jonesy2: You may have point there, albeit not in the way I think you mean. Given that it apparently is current Australian selection policy to completely ignore form, ability, consistency (at least positive consistency), and class, I guess that none of the England players would have made it into the Australian team. England won the Ashes more than Australia lost them simply because England has a much better team. We'll only know how good they actually are when they face SA and IND over the next few years.

Posted by Something_Witty on (January 9, 2011, 3:23 GMT)

It's funny how the pommy supporters criticise me for thinking that some people deserve lower marks than they achieved, and yet conveniently fail to mention the people on the English team who I actually think deserved higher marks than they were given. Also, not once in my post did I mention any of the Australian players. So to say that "Oh if England player X gets a this, then Australian player X must surely get an X-1, because he was even worse." Just seems a tad confrontational. I never mentioned any of the Aussie players, but for what it's worth, no I wouldn't rate Johnson any higher than I rated Finn, and I wouldn't rate Hilfy any higher than a 2. Both were hugely disappointing all series long. Same with most of the Aussie top order.

Posted by landl47 on (January 9, 2011, 2:30 GMT)

LOL at jonesy2- you really haven't worked it out yet, have you? Here's a clue for you: sit down and have a look at the stats for each side. @Something_Witty:- I'm disappointed that you don't have the grace to admit you were wrong about the English side. I was more than happy to come in here and admit that Johnson bowled superbly in Perth- I didn't say that it was all down to how badly England batted. Anderson proved you dead wrong throughout the series. Nobody on the England side deserved 2s and 3s. You also overrate some players; Tremlett wasn't a 10 and I'm happy with 7 for Bresnan because he only played 2 tests. I agree, as I said in my first post, that Broad didn't deserve a 6- I'd put him at 4. Pietersen only really failed at Perth; apart from his double hundred, innings of 51, 43 and 36 were at least steady, he took some good catches and his one wicket, Clarke off the last ball of the 4th day at Adelaide, proved pivotal. Man up and agree- England played pretty darned well.

Posted by   on (January 8, 2011, 23:26 GMT)

What does a batsman need to do to get the perfect 10? Even after scoring a mountain of runs, cook gets 9.5? Where did he miss? You are unhappy with his muted celebrations on reaching milestones or his bat doesn't come down straight enough for your liking?

Posted by   on (January 8, 2011, 21:17 GMT)

Absolutely no idea how Broad and Finn got the same mark. Finn took 14 wickets, Broad took 2. Yeah, Broad had a nice, steady economy rate, but he pitched the ball constantly short, and didn't take many wickets. Finn may have been expensive, but at least he bowled the Aussies out. Seems strange we should be applauding Broad when, in reality, there is very little reason for him to walk back into this team, given that he was out-bowled by four other seamers.

Posted by   on (January 8, 2011, 21:03 GMT)

How on earth does Broad - who took 2 wickets at 80 runs a pop, and scored 0 runs - get a higher rating than Ryan Harris did for Australia? Unbelievable. Even when he was fit he did nothing to look like a player who would win us the Ashes. A 6 is ridiculously generous.

Posted by bumsonseats on (January 8, 2011, 14:45 GMT)

jonesy2 guys like you. make me wonder what cloud are u living under. the only guy from the aussie team might be hussey in place of collingwood. then i thought of his fielding and the other things he brings to the england and decided as hussey went off the boil after the third test i decided to stick with collingwood. so in the end i just could not pick an australian. the bus driver of the england team bus wanted a replacement so im sure i could select 1 from your 11. dpk

Posted by Chapelau on (January 8, 2011, 14:43 GMT)

@jonesy - time to give up the sour grapes and realise that only Hussey would get into the England team, and even then, only until Hildreth is established

Posted by pr3m on (January 8, 2011, 14:27 GMT)

What does Cook have to do to get a perfect 10? Seriously. How much more do you want a person to score, before you give him perfect grades? Dude was consistent throughout the series, he was like a run making machine out there.

Posted by Something_Witty on (January 8, 2011, 14:26 GMT)

I also find it amusing that even Andrew Miller still calls it "The Gabbatoir". Old habits die hard eh??

Posted by Herbet on (January 8, 2011, 14:09 GMT)

Something_Witty, its Anderson who makes the ball swing

Posted by ashes61 on (January 8, 2011, 13:52 GMT)

jonesy2: - You continue to entertain us all. Keep it up! You know full well the exact reverse is true. Only Hussey would have made the England team in the first three Tests. In the 4th & 5th, he would have been behind Morgan, who would have slipped in effortlessly ahead of Hussey - whom I nevertheless admire immensely.

If you and your ilk had only bothered to have kept abreast of England's development since the 2009 Ashes, and looked at their record during 2009/10 & 2010, all those predictions of a home win - whether large or narrow, 2-1, 3-1 or whatever - would never have been made. Any neutral would have plumped for an emphatic win for England, round about the 3-1 score we got. I'm not neutral, but a dispassionate look at the teams beforehand led me to wonder where Australia were going to get a single victory. So, as I was not impartial, I went for 3-0 to England, perhaps with ONE innings win. Don't know where I went wrong, nor quite how I shall get over it. Isn't it fun?

Posted by ashes61 on (January 8, 2011, 13:41 GMT)

Yes, I'm very surprised too at the 7 for Strauss. In fact I'm incredulous. As landl47 says - a ton & three 50s in only 7 innings, plus some superb captaincy. Ignore the occasional criticism of defensive tactics when England were on top in the field. Firstly, there weren't many of these, secondly it is very easy for the pundits, and thirdly he was sticking to his plan, which always worked. He had the last laugh on these points in each case. But, most of all, as a leader he was superb & has been for 2 years. Look how far England have come in that time. Much of the important work goes on far from the cameras and mikes. That's where he has made his mark. We have a terrific skipper & team director - we are very lucky. I think a nine at least, perhaps a nine & a half for Strauss. After all, where did he go wrong? Only in not reaching 50 or so in three innings. In an Ashes series in Australia! Yes. nine & a half.

Posted by jackiethepen on (January 8, 2011, 13:29 GMT)

How did aus lose the series? How about how England won it? They blew away Aus top order so that Hussey had to save them three times. Our batsmen were too good for the Aus bowling attack. If Bell had been higher up the order the contrast would have been even starker. He also top scored for England on the most difficult wickets, first innings at Brisbane and Perth and ran out of partners.

Posted by CzechMike on (January 8, 2011, 13:25 GMT)

It will be interesting to see how selection goes in the future. I like Broad, but he seems to have developed a bit of an attitude in past couple of years. Dont think an automatic selection now. Would have loved to see Shahzad, but god, did Tim Bresnan shocked me and well done to him (fastest of all England seamers???). Tremlett, great on you. Finn what a future. Fantastic competition for places, I hope we will not start criticising them when results are not as dominant. And finally Paul Collingwood you were fantastic player for England, your contributions will not be forgotten, well done mate and good luck in ODI.

Posted by H_Z_O on (January 8, 2011, 11:56 GMT)

And while Something_Witty deems Swann only worthy of a 5, despite picking up 7 for 161 on "the flattest pitch in the world" at Adelaide (can't use the flatness of the pitch as a reason to bash KP and then ignore the fact Swann got 7 wickets at 23 on it), I'd say Andrew Miller's been a bit harsh on him to rate him only 7. It was clear that after Adelaide, the wickets were all prepared to negate Swann's influence. Sydney is always a place where spinners do well, yet this year even the 4th and 5th days offered little for the spinner. Not that there's anything wrong with that; the very reason we deem away success to be more challenging than home success is that the home side can always prepare pitches that suit them. However if KP deserves credit for "distracting" the Aussies from the rest of the top order, Swann deserves it for "distracting" them from the threat of England's seamers and pushing them into preparing green wickets that played into the seamers hands. Some crucial catches too.

Posted by   on (January 8, 2011, 11:56 GMT)

jonesy2 - living in 1990s dreamland.

something witty - the point is Anderson not only swung the ball in non-swinging conditions but also got wickets through seam movement. how you can give someone 7 who got 24 wickets in a series and was arguably unlucky not to have several more is beyond me.

Posted by Pingissimus on (January 8, 2011, 11:42 GMT)

Going against the grain I'm not convinced by Prior. He is of course the ultimate team man and much improved as a keeper but chances were missed. What bothers me most is the batting in the post Collingwood era. He seems to specialise in big scores when the going is good and I don't recall too many fighting rearguard actions. That's a particular worry given the flaky nature of the top order and its propensity for a collapse - we won't always play against bowling as pathetic as the Australians served up. Genuinely interested in how Davies goes in the World Cup. Oh and - Something Witty - if Broad gets a 2 and Finn a 3, what does the Australian attack get? 1? Erratic and overrated would be a rather kind description - this England batting line up are not world beaters and I can't remember half the records they stacked up. Surely if Hussey gets 9 on the Peter English scale while flopping in two tests, then 6 out of 7 of the English top order get 9s too. They don't, Miller has got it spot on.

Posted by H_Z_O on (January 8, 2011, 11:31 GMT)

I see Jonesy2 and Something_Witty are still deluding themselves. None of these would get a game for Australia? You'd be hard pressed to find one who wouldn't, even Collingwood might have done, despite his poor batting, because he still contributed more, all-round, than Marcus North did. Crucial catches throughout the series, while Australia were dropping some absolute sitters. Anderson doesn't rely on just swing; at Melbourne he got wickets with seam movement off the pitch and at Sydney it was reverse swing. If Something_Witty only deems Finn worthy of a 3, Johnson would rate a 2.5. Played a Test more than Finn and picked up just one more wicket, at a worse average. Likewise if Broad only rates a 2 for being economical and unlucky not to pick up more wickets, Hilfenhaus only rates a 1.5; played 2 Tests more than Broad and only picked up 3 more wickets. If KP's 227 was just "decent" how do you rate Watson, Katich, Ponting and Clarke who failed to register a single century between them?

Posted by   on (January 8, 2011, 11:30 GMT)

Excuse me Mr Miller, but on this occasion your use of the points scale is, to say the very least, baffling. Usually, when one invokes a 10-point scale, 5 signifies "pass, but only just", 6 "adequate, but no more", 7 "good", 8 "very good", 9 "excellent", 10 "perfection" and 4 > 1 is used for Australia, sorry, I mean increasing degrees of ineptitude. Now, if given the chance to redo, I'm sure you will agree that: a) awarding 9.5 for a performance the like of which hasn't been seen for 80 years is churlish, b) awarding only 7s to Prior and in particular to the captain is NOT a fair reflection of anything but their batting contributions (8 for Prior and 8½ for Strauss is definitely motivated), and c) Paul Collingwood, in spite of his batting ineptitude, deserves at the very least a 6 if his vital fielding contributions and bowling performances are included. Next time please, can we have an evaluation not as one-dimmensional?

Posted by   on (January 8, 2011, 11:01 GMT)

i believe Cook deserves 10 for his superb performance... n KP deserves 8 atleast!!

Posted by Trickstar on (January 8, 2011, 9:11 GMT)

@Something_Witty I've read some real comedy stuff from you these past few months, but this one takes the biscuit. So Jimmy only takes wickets when it's swinging, you can't have watched much of the Ashes then did you, he took wickets in all conditions, but it's funny it's only you that seems to be still trying to sell this idea. He averaged 26 at under 3 rpo and never took more than 4 wickets per innings, you don't get figures like that from being just a swing bowler. Then you try to say KP deserves a 4, the guy only batted 6 times, made that big double hundred, even though no Ozzie batsmen could get passed 93, can't have be much of a road,especially when England took 20 wickets on it, apart from that he got a half century and 36 averaging over 60.I could go on to Swann and Finn but what's the point, you obviously mark by who you like and don't like. It doesn't take a genius to work out that Cook's form will not last, you wouldn't expect him to keep averaging 120 over would you.

Posted by Chapelau on (January 8, 2011, 8:15 GMT)

@jonesy2 - move on buddy, those grapes must taste really sour. On stats alone only hussey would get into the England team and when Hildreth replaces collingwood that will change too. Aus were outplayed in every category - especially sportsmanship - as you seem to demonstrate. You should be hoping that West Indies dont beat india and soon put Australia 6th in the world rankings!

Posted by Tlotoxl on (January 8, 2011, 7:50 GMT)

@ Jonesy2: ROTFLMAO!!!! you have Watson with a huge mental frailty that can't seem to get past 60odd, Hughes has some of the worst footwork imaginable, Ponting is a shell of his previous form and will more than likely never play for Aus in tests again - what is it 2 centuries in 2 years? (and one of those was at the batting paradise of Cardiff) Clarke looked frankly useless, Smith is a mystery, not good enough to bat at 6, not good enough as a full time bowler, Johnson looked like Harmison without the accuracy and consistancy - the *only* player who would get close to the England team at the moment is Hussy in for Colly.

Posted by landl47 on (January 8, 2011, 6:03 GMT)

The ratings mostly were fairly obvious, but I have to say that Strauss in underrated at 7. Apart from the fact that he scored a century and 3 fifties in 7 innings, he captained the side exactly as he and Andy Flower had envisaged. It's not a coincidence that a lot of players seemed to be at the top of their game, it's because Strauss, unlike Ponting, was able to get his men playing to their utmost. His tactics were based on what he knew would work and it did. The only time I thought he erred was in gifting runs to Johnson in Australia's first innings in Sydney and that turned out not to be significant. A great performance. Broad is a little overrated at 6, given that he only played two tests. He was economical, but 2 wickets in 2 games doesn't merit a higher rating than Collingwood's 9 catches and a couple of useful wickets. Altogether, though, an excellent performance by everyone and the team was even better than the sum of its parts.

Posted by   on (January 8, 2011, 5:52 GMT)

wow this is awesome. add eoin morgan in place of collingwood. england is so strong now. ENGLAND vs INDIA epic.

Posted by Something_Witty on (January 8, 2011, 5:41 GMT)

Collingwood a 5? Really? Peter English obviously grades people more harshly than Andrew Miller. I think that Tremlett deserves a 10 for his fantastic bowling ever since Perth, Anderson should be a bit lower on a 7 or so, he still doesn't take wickets if the ball doesn't swing. Broad I'd rate at a 2, same with Colly. Finn would get a 3 in my book, way too erratic and overrated. Swann was just as overhyped as I imagined he'd be, he'd get a 5. Bresnan would get an 8 for his very disciplined and skillful bowling, and useful runs in Sydney. KP would get a 4. His only decent score came on the flattest pitch in the world. The remaining marks I would agree with. But I'm calling it now. Cook's form will not last more than a few series.

Posted by vatsap on (January 8, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

Hard on the skipper. I thought Strauss deserved an 8.

Posted by jonesy2 on (January 8, 2011, 4:47 GMT)

just looking at this makes me wonder more, how did australia lose this series? none of these players would get a game for aus

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Andrew MillerClose
Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
Tour Results
Australia v England at Perth - Feb 6, 2011
Australia won by 57 runs
Australia v England at Sydney - Feb 2, 2011
Australia won by 2 wickets (with 4 balls remaining)
Australia v England at Brisbane - Jan 30, 2011
Australia won by 51 runs
Australia v England at Adelaide - Jan 26, 2011
England won by 21 runs
Australia v England at Sydney - Jan 23, 2011
Australia won by 4 wickets (with 24 balls remaining)
More results »
Ashes Videos
Tremlett not blaming fatigue

Tremlett not blaming fatigue
(01:24) | Jan 28, 2011
Andrew Strauss: 'Fatigue no excuse'

Andrew Strauss: 'Fatigue no excuse'
(00:39) | Jan 23, 2011
Ashes post mortem

Ashes post mortem
(04:13) | Jan 18, 2011
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News | Features Last 3 days