The Ashes 2010: How they rated – England
After England stole the show in Sydney, James Lachno looks back at the tourists' individual showings
Andrew Strauss 8/10
Swiftly recovered from a third ball duck on the first morning to find crucial match-saving form with the bat. Still has a tendency to lack aggression in his captaincy, but rotated bowlers (and ends) at key moments and seems to have fostered an unprecedented team spirit. Caught authoritatively at first slip too.
Alistair Cook 10/10
After a dire summer in which he was picked off by Pakistan seamers Amir and Asif, Cook came into the Ashes with his place under close scrutiny. He answered the critics with a haul of runs beyond his wildest dreams. Records tumbled as Cook racked up an incredible 766 runs in seven innings, including two fifties, two Ã¢â‚¬Ëœdaddy’ hundreds and a superlative, game-saving and unbeaten double hundred at Brisbane. England’s man of the series.
Jonathan Trott 9/10
Offered a bottomless well of focus – and no little application – at number three, steering ugly but welcome runs through midwicket with consummate ease. Finished the series with 445 runs at an average of 89, and effected the run out in the first over at Adelaide which started the rot. Plus: didn’t ask what the South African score was once in the dressing room.
Kevin Pietersen 7/10
England’s one true showman didn’t disappoint, whether plundering a breathtaking double hundred in Adelaide or invoking Ricky Ponting’s ire for admitting to snicking-off in Melbourne, despite a review decision to the contrary. Still flatters to deceive on occasion (Ã¢â‚¬ËœKP Pietersen 36 b. Ego c. Deep fine leg’ is becoming tiresome), but seems to have rebuilt his relationship with teammates after an abortive stint as captain. Erratic fielding has improved.
Paul Collingwood 4/10
Stole the headlines on the eve of England’s series win by pragmatically announcing his retirement before he could be axed; the inevitable consequence of a poor Ashes in which he failed to pass 50 once despite the plethora of flat decks. Fielded as impeccably as ever – his catch to dismiss Ponting in the first innings at Perth will live long in the memory – and was ecstatic to pick up the wicket of Michael Hussey with his final ball in test cricket.
Ian Bell 8/10
Finally came of age with an Ashes hundred at the 31st time of asking in the final test, a richly-deserved milestone to cap an impressive tour. Added steel to his enviable array of textbook shots, enabling him to pass 50 on three other occasions. Natural athleticism in the field will be even more crucial in the absence of Collingwood.
Matt Prior 8/10
Two big scores in his final two innings, including a lightening-fast maiden Ashes ton in Sydney, added gloss to the wicket-keeper’s series figures; he had hitherto looked out of sorts. Backed-up England’s bowlers with a near-faultless performance behind the stumps, pouching 23 catches.
Stuart Broad 5/10
Will look ruefully back on a tour which saw him take just two wickets in the first two tests despite bowling with control and finding intermittent movement in unhelpful conditions. Only luck was lacking. An abdominal tear prematurely ended his Ashes in Adelaide.
Graeme Swann 7/10
Didn’t have the match-altering effect his big personality would have craved, but generally bowled well, often selflessly tying up an end, and chipped in with important wickets at crucial moments, such as a partnership-breaking dismissal of Katich in Adelaide. Added his usual joie de vivre to the touring party, which shouldn’t be underestimated.
Jimmy Anderson 9/10
Gained redemption – and then some – after a disastrous Ashes tour of 2005-6. Proved he had the flair and mettle to lead three different compositions of an English seam attack, bowling with devastating accuracy with the new ball and achieved the Ã¢â‚¬ËœHoly Grail’ of reverse swing, all with the Kookaburra cherry. Finished the series as the leading wicket taker by some margin, snaring 24 victims at 26.04.
Steve Finn 6/10
Will feel hard done by to have been Ã¢â‚¬Ëœrested’ after picking up 14 wickets in the first three tests (at that time making him the leading wicker taker), but looked jaded by Perth, and was prone to offering too many scoring deliveries, as his 4.30 economy rate attests. Will be pleased to have contributed, but his time will come again.
Chris Tremlett 9/10
His height, and consequently bounce, made him the natural replacement for Stuart Broad from Perth onwards, but few could have envisaged the startling effect he would have on the series, taking 17 wickets in three tests at 23.35. Two wickets in two balls to dismiss Haddin and Johnson in Australia’s final innings – the first a vicious, steepling bouncer and the second an unplayable inswinger – were emblematic of his menace.
Tim Bresnan 8/10
Performed faultlessly as England’s third seamer for the final two tests, not only bowling with stifling precision (his economy rate was 2.60), but also picking up a steady stream of wickets – 11 of them in fact, at a world-class average of 19.54. Will be unlucky to lose his place if Broad returns.
Secured a first Ashes victory on Australian soil for 24 years that was so emphatic even the most die-hard Barmy Army member wouldn’t have dared to whisper that it might be so. Perth was an uncomfortable blip, but three innings victories – the first time such a fate had ever befallen the Aussies – puts into stark clarity the crushing, merciless nature of England’s victory.