Shane Watson – Saw off the new ball twice and timed the ball down the ground as well as anyone. His under-rated bowling (not by him of course) mixed up a still sharp bouncer with seamers, swingers and authentic off and leg cutters that will gain better reward later in the series. Like KP, if he reins in his ego, he can be a key player for his team.
Simon Katich – Becomes ever more extreme in his movement across the crease with his leg stump often exposed, but his method works for him and frustrates bowlers keen to see the off pole. Second time round inevitably fell to a tired stroke after being Cooked in the field.
Punter – After scratching about before lunch, failed to get going after the interval when his team were looking for him to set the tone. Gained some fluency in scoring an attractive, if rather meaningless fifty, in the second innings which he celebrated somewhat sheepishly. Chased the ball with his field setting, but it would be hard to criticise his captaincy with so little at his disposal. Will not have endeared himself to the umpires with his reaction to his half-hearted appeal for a catch being turned down by the TV umpire – “piss weak umpiring” may well describe the option to go to a referral, but, as non-walkers say, let the umpires do the umpiring.
Michael Clarke – There are many cricketers who play through niggles and once Pup declared himself fit, that excuse disappeared. Managed the considerable achievement of fielding worse than he batted. His technique has not broken down, so one can only surmise that his mind is not entirely focused. Will stay in the side due to the failings of others, but batsmen equally vaunted in the past, have been discarded brutally for a lot less.
Michael Hussey – Under personal and scoreboard pressure, had a bit of luck, but used it to play as good an innings as one might see. He used the crease wonderfully well to go right back for his favourite horizontal bat strokes and fully forward for the drive. His targeting of Swanny was a perfect example of balancing risk and reward through clear decision-making and single-minded execution. Cemented his place for the series.
Marcus North – Lived down to expectations scoring just one before being dismissed by one of the very few balls that spun and bounced. Bowled with a pleasing loop to get flight and spin and looked much more of a threat than the full-time spinner. Does he really offer more than the two Steves, Smith and O’Keefe? If The Ashes go, surely so will he.
Brad Haddin – Judged the match position perfectly and negotiated the most challenging batting conditions of the match to set up his bowlers with an opportunity they failed to take. Only once allowed the dasher to trump the batter with a lovely six to raise his century. Had through no fault of his own, a torrid time behind the stumps with wayward bowling and returns to clean up hour after hour. Finished the match displaying something close to contempt, diving around in an effort to get a glove on Mitchell Johnson’s farcically uncontrolled bowling – not good for the team ethic, but who can blame him?
Mitchell Johnson – Incredibly his match figures of 42-7-170-0 and a duck flattered him. Less generous umpires would have called wide more frequently and had some of the half-volleys been reached, they would have gone to the fence. His captain has lost faith in him, as has his public. Towards the end of a match that tortured his mind and technique, he looked like he subconsciously wanted to fail to escape goldfish bowl of international sport. Any respite will cost Australia little with ball, but raises the spectre of a very English looking tail of two Number Tens and two Number Elevens.
Xavier Doherty – England’s batsmen have spent years in Australia looking up to see the diamond ear-ring glinting and the ball ripping off the pitch or shooting under the bat. And if it wasn’t SK Warne, it was SCG MacGill with even more extravagant turn, if more opportunities to score. Come 2010-11, they look up to find a man bowling left arm darts with only an even faster ball as a variation. If all those years on the county circuit had not prepared them for the latest spinner under the Baggy Green, they must have been asleep.
Peter Siddle – All bustling heart and snarling aggression, he showed plenty of brains to deliver three almost perfect deliveries for his hat-trick and do a fine job for his captain when he most needed it. Not yet as good as Craig McDermott, he shares his appetite for work, but was shielded a little by Punter on the fifth day for the work ahead in Adelaide.
Ben Hilfenhaus – Got off to a perfect start snaring Strauss with a wide long hop in his first over, but seemed strangely subdued after that, putting the ball on to the pitch rather than banging it in or kissing the turf. Did not get as much swing as Jimmy Anderson and lacked a Plan B. Match figures of 1-142 will exercise selectors’ minds, but surely dropping two pacemen would be a step too far?
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.