Andrew Strauss – Scored just 45 runs in the match and 30 of those were courtesy of Kamran Akmal’s dismal keeping. Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger will have noted that Strauss edged fellow leftie Mohammad Amir to the keeper three times in 78 balls. Whether either of them have the control and movement of Pakistan’s prodigy remains to be seen, but Strauss has work to do in this series and beyond. As captain, he has very impressive weaponry at his disposal these days, at least in swinging conditions, so could possible attack more in the field. Understands the Umpire Decision Review System rather better than his opposite number.
Alastair Cook – Averages an impressive 47 in 2010, but this double failure will start the whispers running. The next three Tests against an impressive, but overworked, opening attack will stop those whispers or ensure that they grow into a howl by Brisbane. Michael Slater’s brutal dropping in a year in which he averaged 40, serves as a reminder that the game is a lot crueller than it looked to Cook when making a century on debut four years ago.
Jonathan Trott – Dug in to help England weather a mini-crisis in the first innings and got a shooter in the second. Looks much more of a Number Three than Ian Bell, but will never have the crowd leaping to its feet – except possibly in order to tell him to get on with it.
KP – Had not played cricket since July 3 and it showed. Batted with an anxiety that is hard to credit so soon after his World T20 performances. Will need time in the middle to get that sorted, but he plays so little county cricket that he might keep getting good ones or punished for his errors in the harsh glare of the Test arena. He’s a century away from being in good nick, but needs that century soon.
Paul Collingwood – Played a terrible shot to be out cheaply in the second innings and plenty of terrible shots to be out for a gutsy 82 in the first. But that is what Colly does – make ugly runs when needed, even if half of them should be credited to Kamran Akmal’s hideously fluffed stumping. Caught four catches in the slips, which is mighty impressive for a man of nearly 35 years of age.
Eoin Morgan – Hindsight tells of an easy, almost inevitable England win, but it didn’t look that way when Morgan walked to the crease, a small, slight figure in a team of six-foot plus giants, with the scoreboard showing 118-4. He left to a standing ovation having raised his first Test ton with a six, dominated what proved to be the only substantial partnership of a bowlers’ match and put England in a strong position. That he plays like Graham Thorpe is a big compliment, not just to his technique, but to his phlegmatic approach to the game. Last year, Ravi Bopara looked good too – but surely this lad is here to stay?
Matt Prior – Involved in comedy run outs in both innings, but turned a good position into an impregnable one with a second innings century that showed a fluency only Morgan matched until its crawl through the 90s. On a difficult pitch for keeping, he outplayed his opposite number, but was at best adequate in his glovework.
Graeme Swann – Not required as a bowler, but biffed 28 useful runs in the second dig before being hit on the back of the head and departing in the next over. Can expect plenty of short balls in the future.
Stuart Broad – The least impressive of England’s three seamers, but that’s only because the other two were so good. Bowled with real pace at times and used his height well on a track that played like a third or fourth day wicket from day one. Even showed a hint of that wonderfully balanced batting technique, but needs a lot more time in the middle to get back to his days of scoring Test fifties.
Jimmy Anderson – Eleven wickets do not flatter him at his favourite ground on which he averages 16 and is sometimes unplayable: at some other grounds, as we know, he is eminently playable. As Sophia at Testmatchsofa.com pointed out, he’s a one-trick pony, but it’s a helluva good trick when it works.
Steve Finn – Ran in very fast and bowled with an intelligence that belies his youth and inexperience. Had Jimmy not been so good, we’d all be talking about the tall man from Middlesex who, like his much shorter county colleague, looks born to play Test cricket.