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2009 Ashes - assessment

Category: Cricket. Published: 24 Aug 2009

Summary

A close series between two evenly matched teams. Cricket was not of a particularly high standard and Australia deserve their now fourth ranking in the world and England their fifth. Australia perhaps played better at times, but England played better when they needed to and were perhaps more consistent. Australia had six of the top seven run scorers, with eight centuries compared with two. Australia had the top three wicket takers, but only two bowlers took five wickets in an innings and none took more than six in a match -- England had four five-fors with Swann the only bowler to take more than six in a match.

For Australia:

  • Poor captaincy failed to win the first Test.
  • Bad selection lost the last.
  • Poor batting in the first innings of the second, third and fifth Tests was costly.
  • Problems with the batting line-up: need another opener and it appears that Hussey's time may be over.
  • Batting of Clarke, North, Ponting and Katich good but not brilliant or consistent enough.
  • Lack a quality spinner -- Hauritz bowled better than I thought he could, but I still don't think he will win games -- but still should have played in the last Test.
  • Form of Johnson is a worry.
  • Inexperienced bowling attack was a problem -- Siddle and Hilfenhaus look good, but combined with Johnson and Hauritz meant very little Test experience.

For England:

  • Too many batsmen not good enough at this level -- Bell and Collingwood and perhaps Cook and Bopara.
  • Struggle without Pietersen.
  • Will struggle without Flintoff.
  • Although Swann took wickets he shouldn't get good batsmen out.
  • Pace bowlers appear to require conditions that suit swing bowling.
  • Trott and Prior both impressive.
  • Broad has potential.
  • Strauss batted and captained well.

Australia

Stuart Clark

Played two Tests. Should have only played one.

Michael Clarke

Australia's leading run scorer. Batted well. Fielded well. Didn't bowl a great deal.

Brad Haddin

Keeping not brilliant. Looks more talented with the bat -- a batsman who keeps rather than a specialist keeper.

Nathan Hauritz

Bowled much better than I thought he could. I wouldn't have picked him in the first place, but bowled well and should have played in the last Test. Also batted well.

Ben Hilfenhaus

Perhaps surprisingly picked for the first Test but was the leading wicket taker. I've always said he'd bowl well in England. I was surprised when others were picked in front of him in the past -- hopefully now he'll stay in the team.

Phillip Hughes

I wouldn't have picked him for the tour of South Africa -- I think he's too young -- but once picked he shouldn't have been dropped. Looks to have technique "issues". Replaced by Watson, who also has technique "issues".

Mike Hussey

Unfortunately, I think his time has come. Too many low scores but a century in the last Test may have saved his place.

Mitchell Johnson

Bowled rubbish but took wickets. Poor control, lots of wides, very expensive. Batted well at times.

Simon Katich

Very solid batsman. Didn't bowl much. Fielded very well at short leg -- reflex catch and two run outs in the last Test in particular.

Brett Lee

Didn't play a Test. Would have played in the first if not for injury, but may struggle to get back in. 

Graham Manou

Played one Test. Looked a much better keeper than Haddin.

Marcus North

Batted well, bowled well -- useful backup bowler but not a front line spinner on a turning pitch.

Ricky Ponting

Played a few good innings. Captaincy tactically poor, particularly bowling changes and field positioning -- both too conservative and lacking imagination. Has now lost the Ashes twice. I don't have a problem with capital punishment.

Peter Siddle

Bowled very well in spells, perhaps not enough good spells, but he is young and will learn from this. At his best looked very hostile in a sort of Merv Hughes style. Needs to learn how to bowl a slower ball.

Shane Watson

Although he scored a few runs opening, he didn't convince me that he was comfortable in that position, or that he would succeed there for any length of time against quality bowling. Very prone to LBW or bowled.


England

Jimmy Anderson

Bowled well at times. At his best he swung the ball and looked a quality Test bowler, but was not at that standard for long enough. Appears too reliant on conditions.

Ian Bell

Has never and will never impress me. Looks good for 30 or 40 but will never make consistently big scores against good teams.

Ravi Bopara

Didn't look up to this standard, maybe needs to bat lower down.

Stuart Broad

Looks like a useful lower order batsman. Bowling looks ordinary but gets wickets -- England's leading wicket taker, at a respectable average and strike rate, but even the English commentators wanted him dropped after the first couple of Tests.

Paul Collingwood

See Ian Bell. Technique ordinary, poor footwork, but fights. Very important innings in the first Test.

Alastair Cook

One good innings but didn't look like it in others.

Andrew Flintoff

Not a great series but played well in patches, particularly at Lord's.

Steve Harmison

Played two Tests and didn't impress me particularly. Move on.

Graham Onions

Played three Tests. Bowled some good spells, when the conditions suited.

Monty Panesar

Only played one Test. Didn't bowl particularly well, but managed to bat long enough to ensure a very important draw in the first Test.

Kevin Pietersen

A class above the rest of the batsmen, but injured during the second Test.

Matt Prior

Very impressive with bat and gloves.

Andrew Strauss

Captained well, batted well. Reminds me of Graeme Smith (and was actually born in South Africa) -- in physique, batting style and attitude.

Graeme Swann

I agree with the SBS commentators -- can't bowl, won't get wickets. (Um, yes, I know he did). At least he's better than their so-called spinner last time Australia was over there (Ashley Giles). Batted well.

Jonathan Trott

Has impressed me more in one Test than Bell or Collingwood has in their career. Technique OK but temperament and attitude appear very good -- at this level that's more important.


Umpires

Generally poor. I don't like the use of technology in cricket, but the umpires appear to need it. Decisions didn't favour either team, there were just too many incorrect ones, shared roughly equally.

 

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