Andrew Strauss – At 78-0, trailing by just 190 and one-up in the series, even as hardnosed a pragmatist as Strauss must have allowed a little devil on his shoulder to whisper into his ear telling him that this Ashes business was really rather straightforward. Well, that devil won’t be heard again. As a batsman, he got two starts, then failed to go on, dismissed by balls that demanded rather more positive footwork than Strauss offered throughout this match. As captain, he reverted to the Big Book of How to be an England Captain, which says in bold, “Never trust your spinner”. In a match in which only Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin and Shane Watson looked really in for Australia, he spent more time saving runs rather than trying to take wickets. Needs to get his feet moving at the crease and his team moving in the field.
Alastair Cook – Inevitable reaction to the Bradmanesque feats of the First and Second Tests. Got two decent starts, then fell to the kind of heavy footed play that he thought he had left behind in England. Will need to look at the DVD of his defence and attack from 100 – 200 at Adelaide and spend Christmas Day having plenty of throwdowns to get up on to his toes and coming fully forward again.
Jonathan Trott – Got a good one early on in the first dig, but looked beaten for pace in the second innings having done all the hard work. Tends to get good and bad scores in, er… trots, so will be looking to get back into the scintillating form he often showed earlier in the series.
KP – Didn’t need a double hundred in the previous Test to have all eyes on him and was the centre of attention yet again. Walked into a hot Mitchell Johnson in the first innings and was done early, failing to get his bat round the front pad. Second time round, he was as angry as his legion of detractors after wafting indeterminately outside off stump, having spent half an hour resisting temptation. Knows that he missed out at the business end of the 2009 series through injury and won’t want to be a bit part player at the sharp end this time.
Colly – Took one of the all-time great Ashes catches early in the piece, but then it all went wrong. The size of his heart has always compensated for the positions of his hands and feet, but the jury is out on whether his run of poor scores is terminal. MJ’s newly rediscovered inducker was too much in the first innings, but he looked vulnerable to any kind of delivery and Harris’ fast medium away drift was enough second time round. England don’t often drop players these days, but there’s a strong case for going with Monty at the SCG, so Colly could, once more, be in the last chance saloon come Melbourne.
Belly – Looks in the form of his life, but too often marooned with an out of form tail. Out trying to get quick runs in the first innings and joined in the lemming parade second time round. Surely has to go up to Five now.
Matt Prior – Kept athletically and confidently, but could not rebuild after collapses in the way that Adam Gilchrist made look easy. There’s just a feeling I catch that the Aussies might not think he can bat – okay, so McGrath and Warne would say that and prove it and Punter has no bowlers of their class, but Prior has a point to prove at the MCG.
Swanny – Was involved in both Mike Hussey’s dismissals, but the last laugh was a little hollow after he was somewhat hit out of the attack. Might be able to put this one down to the WACA’s unique pitch, but his sprinkler will be a little flatter this week than last. As Number 8, leads the tail effort for the last four wickets – Australia won that mini-battle by nearly 100 runs. Has scored just 201 first class runs since the South Africa tour twelve months ago and, with so little time in the middle, is now a Test 9 1/2 having started as an 8 1/2.
Chris Tremlett – Carried on where he left off in the Australia A game by bowling with real hostility and bounce from a rhythmic approach and delivery stride. Played a full part in reducing Aus to 69-5 in the first innings justifying his selection in just over one session, then took a maiden five-fer in the second innings. Will be happy to hear talk of a lively strip at the MCG.
Jimmy Anderson – Having been distracted by the very good reason of witnessing the birth of his first child last week, this week he was distracted by the very bad reason of mixing it with the verbals in the middle. Needs all his energy and concentration for the job of attack leader, so should leave it at that. Might leave the nightwatchman’s job to someone else too.
Steven Finn – Looked tired in body and mind and, at 21 playing his third huge Test in less than four weeks, has good reason. Still managed to conjure a few wickets, but lacks the discipline to bottle up proper batsmen like Hussey and Haddin and dangerous hitters like MJ and Siddle. We will learn a lot from how the young man reacts to selection (or non-selection) for the last two Tests.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.