Posted by: tootingtrumpet | November 29, 2010

First Ashes Test – England Report Card

Alastair Cook scores a double-century vs Australia (in 2005)

Andrew Strauss – Won the toss and decided to bat, so started his campaign in fine fettle, only to be brought back to earth by cutting uppishly and straight to a grateful Mike Hussey just three balls into the match. Kept his troops positive through the long Hussey / Haddin stand and reaped the reward with five wickets in a session to close the Australian innings. Batted very positively in the second dig to clear off most of the deficit and deflate the Australian bowlers. Ceded some of the gloss from a commendable draw by declaring in time for his opposite number to find a little form.

Alastair Cook – Was on the field for all but one hour of the Test in an immense display of concentration and will. At the crease on Day One when England were 0-1 and on Day Two when 221 runs behind, so faced scoreboard pressure as well as three new balls. Battled his technique in the first innings, but over nearly 11 1/2 hours at the crease, worked out his balance and head position to look completely at ease and astonishingly fresh on the Day Five. Started the match with whispers about making way to get the mercurial Eoin Morgan into the team – finished it as unchallenged opening batsman and captain-in-waiting.

Jonathan Trott – Like his captain, seemed nervous and overly anxious to get on with it in the first innings, but paced his second innings century perfectly to drive England to a position from which his team could not lose. After making his debut aged 28, he averages nearly 60 and scores almost 100 runs per Test in a career that has echoes of Michael Hussey’s.

KP – Looked a million dollars before the adrenaline took over and he slashed at a wide one to be caught at slip. Still in a rut of low scores, but you have to think there’s a big one due very soon.

Colly – Hit one good boundary before leaving England precariously perched at 125-4. Caught two and dropped one when it didn’t matter and fiddled through some relief overs without any threat. A quiet match for a man pleased to be right in the middle of a decent side.

Ian Bell – Will be very pleased to have shown Australians that the rumours of his rebirth as a batsman are true. Made batting look as easy as Mark Waugh used to do in compiling 76 runs before perishing seeking to farm the strike with the tail. In the form of his life and desperate to get to the crease in Adelaide.

Matt Prior – Mugged first ball by Peter Siddle’s well executed plan and kept competently without ever threatening to revive the lost art of wicket-keeping.

Stuart Broad – Bowled with hostility and no little brains to seam the ball around on a less than responsive track. May need to tighten his line even further to make batsmen play more, but will be pleased to be the quickest bowler on show. Looked less than tuned-in to the pace of the game in becoming the third of Siddle’s excellent hat-trick, but, whether Siddle intended it or not, a leg-stump yorker first ball will clean up lots of tall batsmen.

Swanny – Dropped short too often and had few answers to Hussey’s wonderful use of the crease thus making good deliveries the length Hussey wanted. Bowled well to the other batsmen and was unlucky not to continue his extraordinary run of wickets in his first over of  spell when Colly dropped a sitter from Watson in the second dig. Played an awful shot when he should have supported Belly to push England’s first innings to 300. Will be better for the hype being dampened, but will need to improve if England are to take 20 wickets in a match.

Jimmy Anderson – Like Belly, a different prospect than the callow, rather confused, player of four years ago. Will bowl worse with more luck and pick up five-fers – and might need to, come the crucial middle Tests of the series.

Steven Finn – Up and down in terms of performance and in length. Will be pleased to post Test best figures on Ashes debut with six somewhat fortunate wickets, but may be even more pleased with responding to his first two balls of the second innings being smacked to the boundary by hitting Punter on the helmet. Looks entirely at home in Test cricket, in no sense overawed by the occasion, and is set to continue to work towards McGrathesque bounce and accuracy.

 

The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.

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Responses

  1. Have to admit I didn’t watch any of the last two days. No wicket in the 15 overs at the end of the third day told me all I needed to know about day 4. The score card would have been about what was expected if the catches were held or a mistake made by the batsmen.
    Given the second test is only a few days away, it did surprise me that England declared and gave Australia’s bowlers a half day. I’d have kept them out there all day then looked to keep them out there for another two day stint in the heat of Adelaide in the first innings, with the aim of breaking them for Perth. Leave Perth 0-1 and England can start to plan the open top bus route.

    • There was an argument for the declaration, but I’d have delayed until one or other batsman was out to punish the bowlers.

  2. With neither team looking remotely like winning, England’s prospects of retaining the urn in a 0-0 series must be quite good. Disagree about Swann a bit; I thought he looked below par throughout. Australia have the more scope for improvement with the bowling, but will they be bold enough to do the needful?

    • gg – If the Aussies are not bold now, they won’t get the chance!

      • If they don’t drop Mitch, they are complete fools, toots.

        • They don’t like dropping players and it’s worked with Hussey and in the past with Taylor (probably lots more). But surely MJ’ll pick up a strain at the very least?

  3. I watched the first session of the first day and haven’t watched much since. The timing is just almost exactly wrong for my sleep patterns. So I’ve missed all the really exciting bits except for Strauss’ wicket in the first over. Still boreathon batting contests aren’t exactly a thrill a minute. I hope both attacks pick up their acts as being someone who follows both teams, the batting collapses are truly where it’s at regarding excitement.

    • The ball is so dead it’s hard to get a balance into the game without great bowlers – and there are none available.

  4. Interesting Swanny had big problems with Mike Hussey as they played together for Northants for 3 seasons. Swanny even had a long look at his batting when they put on 318 together against Gloucestershire. Guess Hussey’s made some changes since then.Looking forward to seeing what Adelaide can bring.

    • Hussey was superb. His time in county cricket was significant in making him the player he is.

  5. excellent excellent analysis, both here and the aussie report card.

    just wondering if the pitch was really this placid, or was the bowling pathetic? if the former, i am surprised to see that almost no one has commented on how such a pitch is bad for the game. however, from what i saw, the bowling efforts, save for a couple of super spells from siddle and anderson, was pretty ordinary. can we expect both attacks to improve, or will this be another heavy weight batting slugfest? really does feel like watching a mid-table premier league match in some ways…

    • Thanks Karachi – if it’s 0-0 going into Sydney, it might be a lively track.

      Sure it’s a dead pitch, but the bowling was innocuous with few exceptions.

  6. Cook was superb. Still only 25 or so? He is going to end up with alot of runs.

    • His concentration and application are superb. He has had a lot of technical issues with balance and head position, but he was unruffled and worked them through. He looks and sounds like the kind of posh boy Merv would eat for breakfast, but he’s as tough as teak.


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