Posted by: tootingtrumpet | September 7, 2012

England vs South Africa – England ODI Series Report Card

Not Chris Woakes

Alastair Cook (83 runs at 21) – Events off the field would have turned anyone’s head, so England’s ODI and now Test captain did well to concentrate on the matter at hand. Just the one fifty with the bat and a little bemused in the field when Amla and de Villiers cruised away at Trent Bridge, but he was short of first choice bowlers. His team emerged from a traumatic period with a 2-2 result and Number One ODI ranking – Cook might have taken that when watching it rain in Cardiff and getting a personal letter from Andrew Strauss. 

Ian Bell (181 runs at 45) – Batted beautifully at Lord’s in less than ideal conditions, but even that had his detractors wondering why he can’t do it more often (still just two tons in ODIs). Looks better opening with Cook than trying to push on in the middle order, though England still (as always) look a bit short of power at 1, 2, 3. With Alex Hales likely to biff a few in the next fortnight’s five T20Is, Bell’s lack of six-appeal may be raised again. But with KP being, well, KP, there’ll be a place for England’s most experienced bat somewhere in the order.

Jonathan Trott (142 runs at 47) – Toughed it out with an injured hand at Lord’s and then left too big a hole to fill at Trent Bridge. He doesn’t score quickly, has (at most) two gears and always improves the bar-takings, but he’s tremendously important to England – look what happens without him.

Ravi Bopara (22 runs at 5; 3 wickets at 30, economy 3.4) – Bowled with canny intelligence and no little skill, moving it a little in the air and a little off the seam and was never quite there to hit. Did exactly what his captain wanted. As for his batting, reverse everything I wrote about his bowling. Whither Ravi? Alas, I feel, wither Ravi may be more apposite.

Jonny Bairstow (29 runs at 29) – Only got one go and wasted a start. He is beginning to have the look of an international cricketer – the lean frame, the athleticism in the field, the power from the bat. Surely has an eye on Ravi’s place, but who’s going to fiddle through five overs? A question more important than it sounds.

Eoin Morgan (136 runs at 35) – Back to his inventive, bubbly best at Lord’s with shots all round the wicket from a whiplash bat. Has managed to keep the unorthodoxy, while losing the ticks and will be looking forward to the T20Is with relish. Fancies his old slot at 6 in the Test XI and might get it in India, a place where experience, on and off the field, really counts.

Craig Kieswetter (88 runs at 29; 6 catches, 3 stumpings) – Keeping has progressed from dismal to ordinary (interspersed with dismal and brilliant in about equal measures). Can generate even more bat-speed than Eoin Morgan though and that’s a priceless asset against a soft ball on slow, low wickets. Looks a better player down the order than up top in 50 over matches. 

Samit Patel (67 runs at 33; 0 wickets, economy 4.5) – Curiously underused by Cook who appeared to forget he had bowling option at times. If one were cruel, one might say that he’s wasting a batting slot and a bowling slot (as neither skill alone warrants a place), but he’s got a good temperament, a sound cricketing brain and might be the man to dig England out of a hole at 160-5 or put the brakes on when the opposition have slammed the seamers. We’ll see more of Samit the less there is to see of him – if you catch my drift.  

James Tredwell (7 runs at 7; 5 wickets at 23, economy 4.8) – Dropped two catches at Lord’s but showed plenty of ticker to come back and take wickets with some hard spun and nicely flighted deliveries. Destined always to be a squad player at best, Danny Briggs is breathing down his neck for the slot when Swanny is away (as he is with increasing frequency). 

Jimmy Anderson (5 runs at 3; 6 wickets at 28, economy 4.9) – Swung the new ball, but not far and not often and looked nowhere near the level of Dale Steyn. Can still deliver for his captain, but his lack of Dernbachian variations means that Cook is reluctant to go to him when the slog is on. Might just be behind Broad, Bresnan, Finn and Dernbach in the ODI queue these days.

Steven Finn (15 runs; 2 wickets at 67, economy 4.8) – He’s a big fast bowler and what captain doesn’t want one or two of those in his team? But if he’s not taking wickets, he’s not doing his job (even he says that) and he could have done with more scalps in this series. Will be part of a rotating squad of ODI pace men, but he’ll play more often than not.

Jade Dernbach (2 runs at 2; 5 wickets at 30, economy 5.9) – The most “modern” of England’s bowlers, his ever-changing carousel of deliveries worked well in this series, but his lack of a stock ball finds him out when batsmen are set. It’s a mark of how the game has changed that he sometimes delivers overs that remind me of Graham Gooch’s impersonations back in the 80s – but Jade’s deadly serious (despite the haircut).

Tim Bresnan (0 runs; 1 wicket at 61, economy 7.7) – From being at the heart of everything this time last year, the big Yorkie has slightly slid from the centre of events. Offers far too much as a package to be away for long.

Chris Woakes (33 runs; 0 wickets, economy 5.8) – Unlike Samit, there are times when Woakes looks worth a place with the bat and worth his place with the ball (and has Division One county figures to back it up). Still only 23, he reminds me a little of Shane Watson at the same age, though less muscly, less injured and less blond. Can he kick on and find a slot at 7 and second change? Given the chance, he just might. 

You can tweet me @garynaylor999


  1. Excellent review for England. Decent series for England but a draw is probably about fair. They were never spectacular and never really gained the upper hand. A solid series though for England and move positives ahead of the next world cup.

  2. A good summary of both innings you have put here in your post.It’s a good contest and a good match,no doubt about that but I personally think that English team relies too much on the likes of Jimmy Anderson and Tim Bresnan,generally on their pace attack so in my opinion the English captain should pay attention in using Greame Swann for longer periods of time in the match.I think that will be right for them.

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