The Investec Ashes 2013

Not their best, but good enough from England

ESPNcricinfo assesses the performances of the England players who appeared in the Ashes series

George Dobell

August 26, 2013

Comments: 58 | Text size: A | A

Ian Bell acknowledges the applause as the players walk off, England v Australia, 4th Ashes Test, 3rd day, Chester-le-Street, August 11, 2013
Head and shoulders above: Ian Bell was the stand-out batsman of the series © AFP


Ian Bell

Magnificent. Bell was perhaps the only batsman on either side to enjoy a series of unmitigated excellence. Three times, with his side in trouble, Bell produced match-defining centuries and was the obvious selection for Man of the Series. It was not just that he produced an array of well-timed strokes - he has been doing that for years - but that he allied them to sound defence and mature shot selection that took account of the match situation and pitch conditions. He also fielded as well as anyone in the side; indeed, it is hard to think of a better short-leg fielder in world cricket. Now at the peak of his game, with the confidence to add to his inherent talent, he could go on to play a pivotal role in the series in Australia.


Graeme Swann

A key difference between the teams. Swann claimed 26 wickets in the series - 11 more than all four of the spinners utilised by Australia managed between them - and finished as the leading wicket-taker on either side. While rarely at his absolute best, Swann had the combination of experience and ability to prey about the weaknesses of an Australian side who generally appeared uncomfortable against spin. The pitches in Australia will no doubt offer him less encouragement and Swann may have to be content to play more of a holding role. He remains one of the key men in this side in all conditions.


Stuart Broad

The figures suggest that Broad enjoyed only one good game - at Chester-le-Street - but sometimes the figures mis-lead. Broad bowled well throughout the series. He seemed to target Michael Clarke, Australia's best batsmen, in particular and troubled him with the bouncer throughout. He produced some inspired bowling in Durham, where he took 11 wickets in the match, to turn a game that seemed to be slipping away back in England's favour. Importantly, too, his batting showed signs of maturing with important contributions throughout the series.


Kevin Pietersen

Another batsman who, on the face of it, endured a relatively modest series if judged by previous success. Pietersen scored one century and three half-centuries but, on slow wickets, was often obliged to take an uncharacteristically cautious approach. That he took that role on so willingly underlined his commitment to the team cause and, while he rarely produced the start performance, he played a valuable supporting role in several important partnerships. He also reserved his best for the run-chase at The Oval where his half-century was the quickest by an England player in Ashes history. Recent injuries have reduced his pace in the field, though he remains a safe pair of hands in the outfield, but there is no reason to suspect he will not enjoy what will almost certainly prove to be his final Ashes tour of Australia.

James Anderson roars after dismissing Michael Clarke, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 1st day, August 21, 2013
James Anderson faded somewhat after his heroics at Trent Bridge © Getty Images

James Anderson

Anderson played a huge role in the victory at Trent Bridge, where he claimed five-wicket hauls in both innings, and bowled decently without reward at Lord's. Those efforts appeared to take a lot out of him, however, and he was some way below his best in Manchester and Durham. His performance in Nottingham was pivotal, however, and included a 14-over spell on the final day when he looked head and shoulders more threatening that any other bowler on display. Now with the skill to prosper on both green and dry wickets, he should enjoy the pace and bounce of Australian wickets.


Tim Bresnan

Recalled to the side for the Lord's Test, Bresnan performed the unglamorous holding role with selfless skill in the next three Tests. His performance in Durham, where important runs were followed by important wickets, was one of the best in his Test career but he was then diagnosed with a stress fracture that ruled him out of the rest of the season. His value was most apparent in his absence at The Oval, where Woakes was unable to replicate his control. While the England camp remain confident that Bresnan will be fit for the return series, it is far from certain he will have recovered the potency that make his return in this series a success.

Alastair Cook

By Cook's own lofty standards, this was a disappointing series as a batsman. He passed 50 three times, but never went beyond 62 and he averaged only 27.70. Unusually for Cook, he was drawn into playing at balls well outside that he could have left and at times appeared as if he was struggling with his technique. His captaincy was criticised - largely unfairly - for negativity, but he won every Test in which rain did not intervene and, less than a year into the job, he has won the Ashes, a series in India and has a team that is unbeaten in 13 Tests. While some have suggested that the burden of captaincy has eroded his success as a batsman, it is not so long ago that he scored three centuries in succession in India. His career has contained several peaks and troughs and he may prefer the extra pace in the pitches in Australia.


Joe Root

There were times when it appeared Root struggled with the demands of opening the batting against some impressive bowling. Only twice in the series did he score more than 31 and even his excellent innings at Lord's contained an early edge that might, another day, have been taken. That Lord's century did highlight his outstanding talent, though, and while he remains a player under development - he is only 22, after all - he still appears to have the temperament to flourish at this level. As well as scoring England's highest total of the series, he finished second in their batting averages and claimed three wickets with the ball. Perhaps more importantly, he gained experience that should serve him well in Ashes series of the future. There may be times when he struggles with the bounce of Australian pitches - particularly against the new ball - but Root is certain to open the batting in the return series.

Matt Prior top-edged a pull to be caught by David Warner, England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 4th day, August 4, 2013
Matt Prior had his leanest series since being recalled in 2008 © Getty Images


Jonathan Trott

A disappointing series by Trott's standards. He started in fine form only to surrender his wicket with uncharacteristically loose shots and ended it struggling with balance and confidence. He scored 40 or more five times, but passed 50 only twice, had a highest of 59 and averaged 29.30. While Australia's mode of attack to him - exploiting his desire to hit the ball through midwicket - was successful, he remains a key part of the top three and may prefer the extra pace of the pitches. Still, there is some technical work to be done if Trott is to recover former glories.

Chris Woakes

Required to bowl on a slow, low pitch offering him little encouragement, Woakes struggled for penetration at The Oval. But he was not the only bowler to do so and he showed some pleasing ability with the bat and, in that final run-chase, an impressively cool temperament. It is hard to see quite what his role would be in Australia, though, and he faces a nervous wait to see if he makes the Test squad.


Matt Prior

His worst series as a player since he was recalled to the side at the end of 2008. He failed to make a 50 with the bat and averaged just 19 while, with the gloves, he missed chances he would have expected to have taken. It says much for his excellence over the previous few years - and the changed nature of England selection - that there have been no serious questions about his place in the side. Like Trott, he has earned the right to a sustained period of loyalty and is certain to remain first choice for the series in Australia.


Jonny Bairstow

Dropped after four Tests had produced only one half-century, Bairstow might still consider himself unfortunate. He was presented with the opportunity to play in this series despite not having had a single first-class innings between the end of the New Zealand series in May and the start of the Ashes in July. As a result, he was understandably low on form and confidence and appeared to lack the temperament to battle through periods of tight, disciplined bowling. He produced one pleasing innings -67 at Lord's, although he was bowled off a no-ball - and added energy and commitment in the field but, aged 23, this opportunity may have come a year or two early. His best chance of making the tour to Australia is if the selectors decide he can be the reserve keeper as well as the utility batsman.


Steven Finn

Dropped after the first Test, Finn appeared to be struggling for rhythm and confidence. Confused by conflicting advice from club and country, Finn has not developed as anticipated and, at various stages in the series, found himself behind Tremlett, Bresnan, Onions and Woakes in the battle for selection. While he bowled a couple of impressive spells in that Trent Bridge Test, his tendency to leak runs - he conceded 4.68 runs an over - rendered him hard to accommodate in an England team that prioritises control. He remains likely to make the squad to Australia, however, and may well enjoy the quicker pace of the pitches.


Simon Kerrigan

There is no getting in the way of the fact that Kerrigan endured a chastening debut. Paralysed by nerves, he failed to do his substantial ability justice and was trusted with only eight expensive overs in the first innings. Aged 24, he has the talent and temperament to come back, but this was a painfully rough start and it is hard to see him winning a place in the series in Australia.

This feature is in association with Tourism Australia.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 28, 2013, 18:31 GMT)

That said, I do think some of these ratings are generous, and not just compared to Daniel's for Australia (can't really compare those as it's two different authors). Not sure either Root or Cook were anything more than "average" (so 5, or at best, 5.5), while Prior had a worse series, in my book, than Bairstow. Can't just give him extra points because of his past track record; in this series Jonny's out-batted him quite comfortably.

Bresnan, like Rogers in Daniel's ratings, and much like both players, has once again been underrated. Forget the runs at Durham; the wicket of Warner was crucial. He did as much to swing that match as Broad, and even Broad said so. He dried up the runs at one end while Broad did the damage. And he did that all series, and that's why he's preferred to Finn (it's nothing to do with his batting, that's just a bonus).

And on what planet was Woakes 2 points better than Finn? A point, maybe, for his batting and the fact he was on debut, but no more than that.

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 28, 2013, 18:05 GMT)

@Notasgoodastheythink the same selective stats we've seen a lot; anyone would think the Aussie media are trying to spin the series. No mention of England taking twice as many five-fers?

"Aus led on the 1st innings in 4 tests out of 5"

No mention of the fact that they lost on on two of those occasions? As you pointed out, England had the lead on 1st innings just once. And they won that Test inside 4 days and by 347 runs. In other words, when England have been on top, they've won, when Australia have been on top, England have still won as many as not.

"Eng never scored 400, Aus scored around 500 twice."

True, England never got past 400, Australia got past 400 twice. But they also failed to score 300 on 6 occasions (not including declarations, as that would be unfair) to England's 2 (won both times).

"Even in this series, with the whole English press singing their praises, they both averaged around 30 again."

Both averaged under 30. Siddle averaged over, at a worse strike rate.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 28, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

@Doughnuts on (August 28, 2013, 0:39 GMT) Maybe average in the 70s/80s rather than low 60s. Brilliant series though.

Posted by Doughnuts on (August 28, 2013, 0:39 GMT)

Ian Bell a 9? Really? What does a bloke have to do to get a 10? Both sides bowled pretty well and both had brittle batting all series. Bell was by far the biggest difference between the teams, doing what needed to be done every time he batted.

Hopefully later this year Australia can work out an effective plan for him and drop the annoying tendency to win every session of a series except the most critical ones.

Posted by liz1558 on (August 27, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy - Ozcricketwriter should consider a career in merely thinking about the game.

It has looked closer than it is because England have been playing at 80%. What's the point in busting a gut to win this series 5-0, if you pick up a bunch of injuries to key players and lose the away series 1-0 (and the Ashes with it) because of those injuries?

There were a couple of key moments at OT and the Oval when England were on the verge of breaking through in Australia's first innings - 190/3 and 150/3 - a stone dead lbw not given and a dropped catch off Watson. After each occasion, England gave up the ghost. If they were really playing at full tilt (as they will down under), there would've been much more effort in those games. Against India in 2011 and Aus in 2010/11 those were the times when the effort increased.

England didn't quite go through the motions in this seriesi, but it looks like they wanted to and got a few nasty surprises because Aus wouldn't lie down and die.

Posted by browners76 on (August 27, 2013, 13:33 GMT)

Notasgoodastheythinktheyare: I don't remember Adelaide 2010 swinging and seaming all over the place, or the UAE a couple of winters ago where Broad and Anderson were superb, and let's look at India last winter where Anderson was excellent, "the difference between the two sides" according to Dhoni. Then let's look at Australia's miserable performance in India and compare. Off the top of my head I can remember Darren Gough smashing 50 odd at Sydney in 94/95, a side featuring McDermott and Warne and then in the following test at Adelaide Phillip DeFreitas tonked 88 in an England victory. Both guys were tail enders. Have some more sour grapes followed by some humble pie buddy.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 27, 2013, 12:38 GMT)

@ Ozcricketwriter on (August 27, 2013, 10:52 GMT) How do you work out that Australia dominated England in 4/5 tests but still lost 2 of them? You can dominate a test and end up drawing it , but with no declarations you can't dominate tests you go on to lose The truth is England won 2 close tests , thrashed Aus in another , Australia dominated the 3rd test and were on top in the 5th before the last day PS re "but the reality is that in all but the 2nd test England were the worst team" - How do you define the word reality?

Posted by drinks.break on (August 27, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

Agree with ToneMalone. What's the point of having a pair of parallel articles which are impossible to compare?

But more than that is the inconsistency in this article. Why was Trott rated 2 points behind Cook, yet he batted at least as well as (and statistically better than) his captain?

I'd give them both a 4.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (August 27, 2013, 12:16 GMT)

I can't decide whether the Australian boosters who have turned up to trash the English players are simply delusional, genuinely daft, or trolls. Perhaps all three.

Australia were well beaten in this series, by better players.

Posted by zxaar on (August 27, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

6.5 for Cook is too generous given that he only averaged 27.7 during this series. Why it is too generous is that Tendulkar who is struggling and supposed to retire averages 32 against Aus lat series. Isn't Cook supposed to overtake Tendulkar's record etc. If so then won't we expect him to do better than Tendulkar who is about to retire and 40 years plus. I think cook deserve 3.5 for batting.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (August 27, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

My ratings: 9.5: Ian Bell, 6.5: Joe Root, 6.5: Stuart Broad, 6.5: Graeme Swann, 6: Kevin Pietersen, 5: James Anderson, 5: Tim Bresnan, 4: Jonathan Trott, 3.5: Alistair Cook, 2.5: Matt Prior, 2.5: Chris Woakes, 2: Steve Finn, 0: Simon Kerrigan. You were very generous for England perhaps because of the 3-0 scoreline but the reality is that in all but the 2nd test England were the worst team.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 27, 2013, 11:33 GMT)

@ozcricketwriter Dry your eyes out. So "aus dominated 4 of the tests"? haha dont you ever wonder how you can keep being "unlucky" game after game after game? figure it out.

Posted by Gibbo64 on (August 27, 2013, 11:26 GMT)

Notasgoodastheythink is spot on apart from the fact that Anderson and Broad took more wickets than Siddle, Patterson, Hilfenhaus, Starc, Cummins, Faulkner etc, etc, etc. Good job they are poor cause if they were good it would have been 5-0. Anderson won the ashes for England in Australia 2010/11. Long may they continue to pick a mediocre bowler. It keeps Australia in the contest. Me thinks a bit of SOUR grapes in his comments. Australia certainly have a good bowling attack and Harris has been sensational. Siddle always performs. The batting is well below test level at the moment and if England can win 3-0 with a poor series for Cook, Trott, Prior and Pieterson then Australia better hope they don't hit form in the return down under.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (August 27, 2013, 10:52 GMT)

OMG what a joke! Cook gets 7 for averaging 27 while Shane Watson, who averaged over 40, gets a 5 for Australia. How on earth did Chris Woakes get 5 for scoring 41 and getting 1 wicket when Australia's James Faulkner, who scored 45 and took 6 wickets at an average of 16 only got a 4????? Be sensible, George Dobell! I know that two different people wrote these, but neither were very sensible in doing it. A complete joke. Australia dominated England in 4/5 tests, just that England scrambled their way over the line. England, bar Ian Bell, were horrible.

Posted by Notasgoodastheythink on (August 27, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

hey trav29: yes it's embarrassing to lose to such a mediocre outfit, but perhaps less so when you're in a rebuilding stage after 20 years of dominance. This was the worst batting line-up Aus has assembled in decades - yet the number XI score 98 on debut, there was a 160-plus partnership for the last wicket, and several other embarrassing lower order p'ships besides. Eng lack the killer instinct, even when they claim to be close to no.1 in the world. For Aus it must be great consolation to know that, even at rock bottom, they competed in all bar one test. They won't be rock bottom for long, but Eng can't get much better - by the looks of it, they're already on the wane (how long were they number 1, a month?). It's disappointing that Eng doesn't maximise it's potential when it can - in a year or two, it'll slip again and no one will remember the boring cricket they played against another mediocre side.

Posted by Dr.Qwert on (August 27, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

What? Cook had his poorest series in memory. He was saved twice by rain in terms of his captaincy and could have lost two of the three England won to a far, far inferior Australian team. Swann was good, not an 8.5... 7 maybe. 26 wickets @29 in games where bowling generally had the edge on batting. Anderson similar figures but more of the top order batsmen. Anderson clearly next best to Bell in the series in my books. Pieterson 1 real good knock. Root had a superficially similar series.

Posted by   on (August 27, 2013, 9:37 GMT)

@Notasgoodastheythink - Between them, Broad and Anderson dismissed Clarke seven times at a cost of 38.85 (Statsguru) , so which Australian XI would Clarke "waltz into" eh? When assessing the merits of your comment, the word eGit comes to mind.

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (August 27, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

Cook 7? He had a terrible series! Averaged less than all the other batsmen, including Bairstow. If Johnny got a 4, Cook should get 3.5 max - probably less due to his awful catching.

Posted by trav29 on (August 27, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

@notasgoodastheythink what must be really humiliating is having lost three consecutive ashes series to such a mediocre team with a 4th series defeat to come in a few months time ;-)

Posted by brusselslion on (August 27, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

Other than Cook (overrated based on this series), I'd say that the markings are pretty much spot-on.

So who goes to Oz? I'd have 9/10 from the final Test (Kerrigan out). Assuming that we take 16, then I'd add Tremlett, Finn, Bres, Taylor, Carbery & Davies (as reverse WK). If we take a 2nd spinner then Monty otherwise Woakes. Davies has been one of the few bright spots in Surrey's C'ship season (average: 50). He's a better keeper than Bairstow, who hasn't convinced with the bat either. Mind you, no chance that this will happen.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 27, 2013, 9:01 GMT)

I'd like to see the same author mark both sides. However I'd like to know why Cook is so high? He was below Trott and Root in both runs and averages and yet finished above both in the marks. He was also below Bairstow in the averages and scored just 74 more runs in 2 less innings. Also Matt Prior scoring 4.5 is fine but how is he above Bairstow? Prior has had a poor series with bat and behind the stumps and with the bat Bairstow has averaged 10 more than Prior and scored 70 more runs in one less innings. Surely Jonny deserves more than Matt whatever happens. IMO he deserves more than Cook. Jonny was part of a partnership which transformed one of the tests.

Posted by Charlie101 on (August 27, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

I agree more or less with George's figures except I feel Jimmy is marked 0.50 too low . I do feel Root is not nailed on to open down under and Compton may yet play in an Ashes series. The extra bounce in Australia may not suit Root .

Posted by tjsimonsen on (August 27, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

@Notasgoodastheythink: I wouldn't call UAE (where Broad took 13 wickets @ 20.45 in three tests) or India (where Anderson recently according to Dhoni was the difference between the two sides) "swinging, seaming conditions". Nor would I call Australia in 2010/11 where Anderson was the leading bowler, or England this most unusually dry summer particularly swining and seaming. Your are clutching at straws, quite simply Australia's much hyped pace attack failed to show up with the notable exceptions of Siddle and Harris.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 27, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

@Daniel Sijmons on (August 27, 2013, 2:17 GMT), I think an important point that you and many others miss with these post-series scores is the fact that they are always done by two different people. You can't compare the two directly. If the same person did both then you could because you'd know that the same criteria had been used for both teams.

Posted by Notasgoodastheythink on (August 27, 2013, 7:32 GMT)

browners76 - Broad and Anderson wouldn't waltz into an Australian third XI, they are only good in swinging, seaming conditions - otherwise they get walloped. Their 30-plus bowling averages are a fair reflection of their 'greatness'. Perhaps a second XI, if they're lucky, but certainly below Harris, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Cummins, Hilfenhaus, Johnson, Faulkner. The fact that Australia lost against a team that's led by a couple of medium-fast bowlers averaging 30 plus just shows how awful Australia is, but doesn't paper over how mediocre England's bowlers are. A number 11 scored 98 against them! Just weeks after another number XI scored 92 against them, how humiliating.

Posted by   on (August 27, 2013, 6:13 GMT)

No George, you are very unfair on Bairstow and have gotten Root and Trott wrong. In fact, you have succumbed to the Rooooooooooot Mania to some extent! No doubt he is a brilliant prospect, but he's not IT yet - take away his 180 (where he was very lucky not to be dismissed for yet another low score) and it is easy see how often Root contributed nothing to England's cause and that both Trott and Bairstow had far better series with the bat. In addition, Bairstow was England's best fielder, slightly edging Bell. Root and Trott 6, Bairstow 6½ and you've been fair to the three men concerned.

Posted by Thegimp on (August 27, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

What? No MBEs or OBes given out??? I think Bell finally deserved his after getting one in 2005 for scoring 40 odd runs for the series!

Posted by browners76 on (August 27, 2013, 4:29 GMT)

Notasgoodastheythink: you're clearly lacking in any knowledge of cricket. You honestly think great bowlers of the past never got spanked by a tail ender! England won 3-0 playing at about 60% of their ability. We have world class batsmen who average over 45 and the fact Broad and Anderson average over 30 is simply due to a slow start in their careers. They are actually as good as anyone else in the world over the past couple of years and would waltz into this below average Aussie outfit. Grow up and just accept you lost to the better team.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (August 27, 2013, 4:23 GMT)

How does Cook get a 7? I know he's captain, but batting-wise, he did nothing. He even dropped a few costly catches

Posted by   on (August 27, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

7 for Cook?? Got to be joking

Posted by   on (August 27, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

Cook was a rating of 4 or 5 at best. An average of 27 does not deserve a 7 rating

Posted by neil99 on (August 27, 2013, 2:51 GMT)

Notasgoodastheythink - what tripe. Your "name" belies your prejudice. Blatantly biased and unbalanced to the last word.

England won the series 3-0, your "ifs, buts and maybes" mean absolutely nothing. What if the England batsmen had clicked? What if the umpires had stayed on at the Oval, etc, etc - we can all play that game.

"Note that Anderson took 12 wickets in the last 4 tests in ideal conditions" Yeah, because the other world class bowlers Swann and Broad demolised did the job.

There is a clear gulf of class between the teams. Australia are impotent, as you point out, they couldn't even beat a poor England, who are full of mediocre players.

Posted by   on (August 27, 2013, 2:17 GMT)

As an australia supporter so I might be biased; but comparing Cooks rating of 7 to clarkes 5.5 and woakes rating of 5 to faulkners of 4 they are obviously held to far different standards... Cooks batting was very poor and his captaincy was defensive when he has the superior team at his back... I'm also pretty sure woakes made less runs and took far less wickets than faulkner in the same role.....

Posted by Jimmers on (August 27, 2013, 0:26 GMT)

Comments on these things are always priceless. Especially amused by how apparently unlucky Aus were not to win the series 3-1 - "if they'd scored these runs here, taken those chances there.." etc. The whole point is that they didn't because they couldn't. Doesn't matter who scored at what rate or which captain put fielders where, Australia weren't able to win a single game. We've all seen England players underperform against weaker opposition - especially KP who saves his best for the big occasion, sadly this series just didn't get them interested enough because it wasn't enough of a fight. If Australia are able to hold it together and perform a bit in the home series, I think it will bring the best out in England's out of form players

Posted by smudgeon on (August 27, 2013, 0:09 GMT)

Cook's is a bit generous, don't you think? Not sure his captaincy was inspiring or innovative enough to warrant an extra point or two. It reminds me a little of Ponting's tenure as captain - he's inherited a team that has the skill and experience to do the job required without much active captaining.I'm more interested to see how he goes when Pietersen, Prior & Swann go...

Posted by Brownly on (August 26, 2013, 22:57 GMT)

Pretty generous marks for the openers there. Cook a 7? Most of the arguments to justify that mark are about what he did in India. I doubt he'd be happy with his personal contributions to this series.

Posted by brittop on (August 26, 2013, 22:54 GMT)

@Notasgoodastheythink (on August 26, 2013, 19:02 GMT): You're really obsessed by stats, aren't you. You have the stats, I'll take winning test matches.

Posted by brittop on (August 26, 2013, 22:52 GMT)

@Aseem Sharma on (August 26, 2013, 16:48 GMT): Clarke may be a better captain on the field (although I personally think that 's debatable), but Cook's far better all round. He can't decide his batting order, and he can't get his team to step up under pressure.

Posted by landl47 on (August 26, 2013, 21:49 GMT)

Marks are always subjective, so what I look for is relative rating of the players. Based on that, these rankings are fair enough, though perhaps a little generous to Matt Prior. He's a great guy, but this was a horrendous series for him except for the very last day of it.

I don't agree, however, with the comments about Jonny Bairstow. They seem to be based on a preconception rather than what actually happened. Bairstow tightened his technique, worked on his weaknesses and finished the series a better player than when he started. To bat through a tough 65 minutes without scoring was an achievement he could not have accomplished a year ago. To drop him for Kerrigan wasn't good selection policy; carrying 2 spinners in England is rarely justified and only had a chance of being successful if England won the toss and there was no rain, neither of which happened. Bairstow was showing signs of being ready for a big score and dropping him was an act of folly.

Posted by 158notout on (August 26, 2013, 21:11 GMT)

notasgoodastheythink - give me some of whatever you are having squire! Jimmy and Broad not "world-class bowlers" but Harris is? Pull the other one. Sadly you sound like yet another Aussie in denial. Consider it the other way - Agar given out stumped on 6, Australia present over 100 run 1st innings deficit in 1st Test. Not quite so close then. You say it was closer than 3-0 but in actual fact if anything the most likely other result would have been 4-0.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 21:06 GMT)

All of England's bowlers bar Finn, Woakes, and Kerrigan had good averages this series. Broad, Anderson, Swann, and Bresnan averaged between 27.45 and 29.60. If they can manage those figures Down Under they'll do well.

With regards to the ratings, Alastair Cook should have got a six, not seven. Grinding out three crucial half-centuries when out of form is good stuff, but an overall average of 27 isn't 7/10 standard.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 21:00 GMT)

Cook and Root are not the opening partnership England need. They've put on one 50 together. Cook and Compton made 6 partnerships of 50 or over, including 3 of 100+ and one of 200+. Compton's treatment by the selectors has been a disgrace. Compton has made 2 hundreds and a 50 in 9 tests. It took Steve Waugh 24 tests to get a century.

Posted by sifter132 on (August 26, 2013, 20:23 GMT)

Cook and Root don't deserve anything above 6. Root played 2 innings of note in 10, Cook was below his best as well. As a partnership they didn't put on 50 together until the last Test.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 26, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

Looking at the marks, I think they are all fairly just with Bell at the top. I missed a fourth Oval ton. That is just me being hopeful. England have 4 great batsmen in their top 6. That is the plain and simple truth. Of the bowlers 3 are are great. Add in a keeper and one can understand the victory. Hopefully we can make progress. Whilst some of the series was fairly elevated in tone, some of it has been pretty gutty and attritional. But so long as we change gears for the last bit and ramp it all up, as at Durham and the Oval, and, I guess after lunch at TB, then that's okay. As regards the debutants, Kerrigan needs to know of Warne's stats, and Woakes has a future, not too much at first maybe, but after a while. he could be a real star of the future.

Posted by Notasgoodastheythink on (August 26, 2013, 19:02 GMT)

As for Broad and Anderson being 'world-class bowlers', what tripe. They both average above 30 in tests for their bowling: as far as I can tell, this puts them in the rather 'mediocre' category looking back over cricket's recent decades. Even in this series, with the whole English press singing their praises, they both averaged around 30 again. I'd hate to see a 'poor' series… They're around Danny Morrison / Michael Kasprowicz class, great when the conditions are perfect for them, awful otherwise. Not a shadow of the leading bowlers like Steyn, Harris and Morkel. Note that Anderson took 12 wickets in the last 4 tests in ideal conditions. World class bowlers don't allow 160 run last wicket partnerships, 50-odd runs in the next innings again, and several others embarrassing lower order partnerships.

Posted by Notasgoodastheythink on (August 26, 2013, 18:57 GMT)

Congrats to Eng. However, they're so underwhelming - for all the hype Eng should have demolished Aus. The problem for Eng is if they can't even dominate when Aus is at rock bottom, the only way for Aus is up from here. Aus could easily have won this 3-1, if Haddin had batted another 10 minutes in the 1st test, it hadn't rained in the 3rd, they hadn't lost their heads in the chase in the 4th etc. Eng won the key moments, that's about the difference between the teams. Eng is 5% better than Aus, and that's what counts - but not for long. Consider this: Aus led on the 1st innings in 4 tests out of 5, Aus had 3 of the 6 leading wicket-takers, and 4 of the 6 leading run-scorers, Aus declared 4 times to Eng's 1, scored at a much higher run rate across the series (3.37 to 2.99). Eng never scored 400, Aus scored around 500 twice. Eng averaged just 12 runs more per completed innings, and took only 4 more wickets. Hardly dominance, though it should have been - they won't get a better chance.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (August 26, 2013, 18:10 GMT)

I'm just not sure whether Bresnan will take wickets down under. He did what was asked this series, bowled steadily with a good line against both right and left handers, but seems 5 mph down from 2010/11.

Pietersen batted ugly for his runs and got them when it mattered. Cook and Trott looked equally out of sorts with the bat, in my book.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 26, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

Only Swann's and Finn-knee's test bowling averages are the right side of 30 again now. Anderson's crept to below 30 after the first game, but I see it's slid back over again. Just an observation.

Posted by cric_J on (August 26, 2013, 17:06 GMT)

I must say that I agree with George that Swanny (along with Bel)l was the difference between the 2 sides. Barring his uncharacteristically loose show at Trent bridge, he really exploited the conditions effectively. IMO he responded really well to the responsibility of getting as many wicket as possible given the dry and turning nature of the pitches. He was expected and needed to deliver for the team and he sure did.

Also,he has a knack of getting the breakthrough wickets and he did that consistently this time as well. For a spinner to be the highest wicket-taker of a series in England (eventhough the pitches were dry) sure does tell us about the man's talent. It was just icing on the cake that he had some fun with bat too.

(Please publish)

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (August 26, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

I agree with most of the ratings apart from Cook, Trott and Prior's. Cook would receive 5 at most, Trott 4 and Prior 3. I'm expecting all three to come back strongly down under where the pitches will suit their style of play much more than the slow pitches this summer.

Posted by   on (August 26, 2013, 16:48 GMT)

Apart from Cook, everyone's ratings are fairly reasonable. Cook should have a 5 at best, a rating of 7 purely for captaincy would give people the idea that he's Brearley in disguise when the truth is far from it. Clarke was easily the better captain, and a better batsman, so the fact that Cook gets a 7 while Clarke a 5.5 is laughable.

Posted by Hoggy_Bear on (August 26, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

Think Woakes MIGHT be in the selectors thoughts as possibly batting at 6 (or 7 if Prior moves up the order). Certainly he'd probably offer as much to the team as Bairstow. However, the selectors will probably prefer to pick an out-and-out batsman at 6. Maybe Taylor or Ballance?

Posted by applethief on (August 26, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

Why so high? 7 for Cook, justified with descriptions of past successes? Why 8 for Broad, talking of his batting without mentioning that his only important score was after refusing to walk? Why is Trott so high, he was abominable. And 4.5 for Prior is also far too generous. Again all the justifications are given as past successes - aren't these meat to be series scores?

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (August 26, 2013, 16:40 GMT)

These marks are a little high, especially those for Bresnan and Pietersen who had pretty mediocre series. Presumably Kerrigan gets a mark for every run he made in the series; he can't be given any marks for anything else.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 26, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

Chris Woakes gets a 5? Root 6.5? Hmmmm, not too sure about that. Finn marked rather harshly me thinks; he should have been used at Lords, and Onions at Durham. Prior and Trott have "earned the right to a sustained period of loyalty and [are] certain to remain first choice for the series in Australia" - errr, I should think so! One poor series after countless brilliant ones and do you really think England would drop them for that? You never know I guess, but I certainly hope not.

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