Saturday, 22 December 2007

England Series Ratings

For the first time since 2001, England have suffered a second consecutive series defeat after being comprehensively outplayed by Sri Lanka. Here are the series ratings:

Alastair Cook 7
After a double failure in the first Test, there were real fears over Cook's susceptibility to Chaminda Vaas with the ball. However, he made vital contributions in three of his last four innings, including scoring England's sole century to help save the Galle Test, and has made startling progress for a man not yet 23.

Michael Vaughan 6
During his sublime 87 in the second Test, it felt as if we were watching the '02/03 version of Vaughan. Yet, thereafter, he continually fell to lapses in concentration, and his failure to push on mirrored that of his side. His captaincy was probably below par, though he was handicapped by his lack of bowling firepower.

Ian Bell 7
Two terrific innings in the first Test served to illustrate Bell's technical prowess and promise as a Test number three. But he has reached the stage when he must only be judged on current performance. Too often, he fails to score big for someone with pretensions as a number three.

Kevin Pietersen 4
A mixture of bad umpiring decision, brilliant deliveries and simply poor form saw Pietersen end a series without a 50 for the first time. There are suspicions of fatigue but expect a reinvigorated Pietersen to do much damage in New Zealand.

Paul Collingwood 6
A series of innings that can be described as 'gritty' and 'worthy' produced no score higher than 52 - ultimately, Collingwood is probably a number six rather than number five. His bowling was under-used but effective.

Ravi Bopara 2
Three consecutive ducks says it all. As predicted, Bopara was not ready - with bat or ball - for a Test debut. A baffling selection at number six as his bowling is no better than Collingwood's, Bopara will have a long wait before his next Test.

Matt Prior 6
Very hard to rate, Prior was something of a revelation with the bat, displaying a maturity in shot selection and capacity for playing Murali many thought beyond him. But his keeping has serious flaws - many feel he is worse than Geraint Jones ever was - and no amount of runs will change this fact.

Ryan Sidebottom 5
Sidebottom was unlucky with decisions and dropped catches - again - and endured a disappointing series, although he should still play in New Zealand. His batting, however, was superb - he faced more deliveries than Kevin Pietersen and worked out a method to combat Murali, indicative of a man making the most of his talent.

Steve Harmison 7
In tough conditions, Harmison displayed heart and new-found consistency and was even able to generate tremendous bounce at times. Considering the circumstances, there is no doubt he emerges with his reputation enhanced.

Matthew Hoggard 7
Excellent in the first Test, when he gave a timely reminder of his nous in all conditions, Hoggard was below par in the final game. His quality is beyond doubt; but, worryingly, he keeps breaking down.

Monty Panesar 4
An immense disappointment, Panesar is going through something of a crisis and has work to do to trouble top-class batsmen.

Stuart Broad 4
Faced one of the hardest debuts imaginable, but Broad at least displayed the ability to bowl for long spells with good consistency. Noticeably, his economy rate was 1.5 less than Anderson could manage.

James Anderson 2
Bowled horribly in the first Test, and the feeling is that he may never make it as a Test player.

The Verdict
The simple truth is England were beaten by a side superior in batting and bowling. They showed no little fight, but it is especially frustrating that England were unable to close the gap in the field, where the bowlers were continually let down. With two series wins from eight, England patently have much work to do in all areas.


Richard Lake said...

Given how little Bopara was bowled, his inclusion above Shah was a mystery. However, his bowling clearly has a lot more to it than Collingwood's and his batting deterioration at the end of the series was more to do with the mayhem going on around him. He shouldn't play against NZ, but his batting in the first two tests show that he is worth pursuing with in the long term.

Also, don't let your memory play tricks on you Tim. Despite the drops, Prior is a much better keeper than Geraint Jones ever was.

Mark said...

So Shah in for Bopara when they get to New Zealand - or do they give Strauss a call?

Bopara isn't a test player yet. England need to accept that there isn't an all-rounder worth his place in the side, so need to balance the team without one on the basis that Collingwood, KP and Skipper bowl the 'bits and pieces' overs.