Monday, 18 May 2009

England player ratings vs. West indies

Ravi Bopara 9
He will bat at number three at Cardiff for the Ashes curtain-raiser and will not be short on confidence after taking advantage of some friendly bowling, flat pitches and poor fielding.

James Anderson 8.5
If swing bowlers can make the ball talk, Anderson had it chatting away loudly on the fifth day at Durham. A master in early-season conditions, he needs to show that he really is leader of the attack. He is a key man for Ashes test cricket.

Graeme Swann 8.5
Swann will miss having Devon Smith to bowl to, but he was much more than one player’s nemesis. Delivered on his batting and fielding reputations and the fact England are considering a spin-orientated plan of attack says everything about his progress. Bet on Graeme Swann to do serious damage during the Ashes.

Graham Onions 8
The performance on his home ground was in a way just as laudable as his efforts at Lord’s. Aggressive, slippery and able to hit the seam, Onions has plenty in his favour, although he might leak runs against the Aussies. Deservedly near the top of the bowling pecking order.

Alastair Cook 8
His lack of century-monkey is firmly off his back and he showed he can make big tons by recording his highest Test score at Durham. Technique will be examined more closely by Australia, but Cook has the mental attributes to cope.

Stuart Broad 7.5
Broad is becoming Strauss’ partnership breaker and is the sort of player born to do Ashes battle. Feisty and combative, this summer will bring the best out of him, which now includes genuine swing and seam bowling and ever-improving batting.

Matt Prior 7
His keeping blemishes and finger injury at Chester-le-Street took the shine off another impressive series for Prior. He is in great batting nick and deserves to bat at number six on merit at Cardiff.

Paul Collingwood 6.5
He scored a routine unbeaten half century on home territory but was befuddled by Fidel Edwards at Lord’s.

Andrew Strauss 6
His players and opponents made captaincy easy, so his Durham declaration was not questioned. Strauss instilled an aggression and urgency into England which will be crucial against Australia. He missed out with the bat but his form is in no way a worry.

Kevin Pietersen 6
Pietersen was back to his ‘fluent but silly dismissal’ best at Durham after his Lord’s golden duck and he is another who does not need to answer questions about his form for the Ashes.

Tim Bresnan 6
Bresnan must have feared a ‘thanks for coming’ award after seven fruitless Test days, but he got in on the act with three wickets on the final day of the series. He has perhaps done enough to be Andrew Flintoff’s number seven understudy, but that is about all.


Richard Lake said...

Can't disgagree with any of the marks.

The Bresnan situation is interesting. When he took his catch at Lords, having had little else to do all game, he was mobbed. Strauss didn't need to bowl him today - the obvious bowling partnership was Anderson and Broad - but he got an extended spell and bowled well.

Finally when he finally got his first wicket, there were huge celebrations. He is clearly liked within the team and may well be the player who keeps England's balance when Flintoff breaks down next.

Rob said...

I thought your Collingwood comment missed out his keeping. He was as competent as Prior and for a fill-in did a fantastic job. He may have looked untidy at times but that is to be expected.

Anonymous said...

I do not see why Strauss's declaration would be questioned at all. The Windies would have been delighted with the 500 suggested by some of the TV and radio pundits. 301 would have effectively saves the match after losing a day.

My one slight criticism is using Anderson as nightwatchman. Often he would be the right choice and he always gives 100% in the role but as the wicket was good and our position was dominant, I would have liked to have seen Bresnan or Swann.

Both are capable of keeping the momentum going on the resumption, whereas with Anderson the innings seemed to be in a holding pattern until he was out.

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