Ashes 2015: Player ratings as England take shock lead after first Test

Ashes 2015: Player ratings as Joe Root drives England to a first Test victory over Australia in Cardiff

By Sam Rogers

England

Adam Lyth The only real question mark in this England team is the position of Lyth. Made 37 in the second innings after a first innings six, looked more comfortable taking the attack to the tourists. Did take a good catch off Ali in the second innings. 4/10

Alastair Cook May not have had the runs he would have liked, with 20 in the first innings and 12 in the second but he won’t have had many better matches as captain for England. He was dynamic with his field placings, rotated the bowlers brilliantly and attacked at the right times etc. Took a pair of brilliant catches to support his bowlers too. 7

Gary Ballance Dug in for a brilliant half-century in the first innings when England were on the rack. Got a good ball early on for a second innings duck but silenced a few of his doubters with the first knock. 5

Ian Bell Like Ballance, Bell needed runs and looking out of sorts for a single run in the first innings, there was even more pressure. His 60 in the second innings was out of the top drawer until he got a good ball from Johnson. 6

Joe Root As close to perfect as you are likely to see from an individual. Made a majestic 134 in the first innings to put England in control. Made 60 in the second innings and only a peach of a delivery from Hazlewood prevented a second century. Dropped Warner in the second innings for perhaps his only indiscrestion. 9.5

Ben Stokes Batted brilliantly in both innings and bowled with pressure and aggression, though perhaps unlucky not to have took more wickets. 6

Jos Buttler Looked to attack both times when England needed it. Perhaps a tad reckless in the second innings but quick runs were the order of the day. Kept well behind the sticks and showed no ill-effect from the injury which kept him out of the last ODI match against New Zealand. 6

Moeen Ali Batted superbly for his 77 in the first innings, getting runs that were crucial in the grand scheme of things. Bowled well in both innings, perhaps taking advantage of a lack of respect from the Australian batsmen. 7

Stuart Broad Bowled with discipline and aggression for his five wickets. Led the attack with Anderson superbly. 7

Mark Wood Bowled well in his first Ashes Test, growing into an integral part of this team already. Scored some important lower order runs to break the will of the tourists. 8

James Anderson Majestic from England’s leading wicket-taker. Made the new ball talk throughout, causing problems and even managed to build pressure when the ball was older and not swinging. 8

Team Verdict Other than being three down for not many on the first morning, England have been as close to perfect as they have played in a long time. Let’s not forget this side was written off by all and sundry and it would be whether they could get a draw in the first Test and grow into the series. Let’s not underplay this, England have thrashed Australia in Cardiff, and if they lose the next three Tests this match will become a distant memory. However it doesn’t look like this England side are short on self-belief and whatever Trevor Bayliss has said to galvanise his troops has worked wonders! Roll on Lord’s. 9

Australia

Chris Rogers Batted brilliantly for his 95 in the first innings, though would have like to have gone on and got his hundred, got a good ball from Broad in the second innings as Australia needed their openers to create a platform. 6/10

David Warner Attacked brilliantly for his 52 in the second innings and will feel hard done by to be given out leg before when the review showed it to be barely clipping. Got a great ball from Anderson in the first innings. 5

Steve Smith Made 33 in both innings, but was careless in giving his wicket away at a key time in the first; charging Moeen and getting in a horrible position to pop a catch to Cook short. Didn’t have a bowl which was perhaps surprising but disappointing from the former world number one Test batsman. 4

Michael Clarke Chipped a tame catch back to Moeen for 38 in the first innings, before being out-thought by Broad in the second for just four. Was out-captained by Cook on every level over four days and will be hoping his side can bounce back on Thursday at Lord’s. 4

Adam Voges Made 31 in the first innings but gave his wicket away at a time that could have given his side the momentum. Scored just one in the second innings; will perhaps be the player most fearful of his place for the second Test. 3

Shane Watson Watson had a tough time of it, going wicketless and not maintaining any control for Clarke and managing 49 runs in the match, and getting out LBW both times which has become the norm for ‘Watto’. 4

Nathan Lyon – Bowled well for his six wickets in the match, managed some control at times and got the captain Cook in the first innings with a brilliant quicker ball. Failed to contribute with the bat. 6

Brad Haddin Dropped Root on nought second ball before the Yorkshireman went on to make 134. Showed his age with some creaky wicket-keeping. Got a pearler from Anderson in the first innings with the second new ball on 22. Serious questions being raised over Haddin’s place already. 3

Mitchell Johnson Was wicketless in the first innings and got 2-69 in the second innings. Made a brilliant 77 in the second innings but looked a shade of the bowler who was England’s tormentor 18 months ago. 5

Mitchell Starc Perhaps the silver lining for Australia, though his fitness problems will worry the Australian camp. Five hard-fought wickets in the first innings and another two in the second, he bowled with pace, movement and accuracy throughout. 7

Josh Hazlewood Bowled brilliantly for his five wickets in the match. As close to a Ryan Harris type bowler as Australia have with his nagging accuracy and seam movement. Will play a big part for the visitors in the rest of the series. 6

Team verdict Overall, Australia will look back at the first morning when they had England 43-3 and wonder where they went wrong. In truth, it was the brilliance of Root and Ali with the bat and discipline of Broad and Anderson that did it. Perhaps slightly too attacking when the weather forecast suggested the last day would be a wash-out. Plenty to do for the Australians before Lord’s. 5/10

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