The Ashes 2013: Player Ratings From 1st Test

ENGLAND

Alastair Cook €“ 7/10 Important 50 in the steering partnership with Pietersen on the evening of Day 2 and morning of day 3, but looked a little out of touch compared to his lofty standards. As captain, Cook remains too negative at times, and the inability to think quickly when both two tenth-wicket partnerships got out of hand needs to be addressed. However, he is learning and made some great bowling changes (bar Finn at the death), and his use of DRS far transcended his contemporary. Joe Root €“ 6.5/10 He seems to be exiting the unbelievably good form that saw him score well against New Zealand at the beginning of the summer, but should still keep his place. He shows an internal desire to play for England that is well respected by his fellow players and fans, with his wicket of Ed Cowan displaying how much the Ashes means to him. The runs will return. Jonathan Trott €“ 6.5/10 Not as solid as usual, but it would be harsh to criticise the number 3. His 48 in the first innings top scored and was crucial in the context of the game in that it helped England get over 200. Strong presence in the field, and performed what was quite possibly the best celebration of taking a catch of distant memory, taking the Cowan€™s edge off root, only then to run with a steely confidence in the other direction from the rest of the team €“ classic! Kevin Pietersen €“ 7.5/10 KP is back, and his presence adds a necessary stability to the England batting line up. Playing in the V during his second innings showed technical superiority, and a timing which was rare on the dry and slow pitch. Kevin Pietersen is all about Ashes cricket, so expect to see much more from England€™s flashiest and most talented player. Ian Bell €“ 9/10 Those 109 runs were probably the most important in Bell€™ career, especially since his average against the Australians is as low as 35 (skewed by his pittance of runs in the 2005 series). Unlike Pietersen, Bell chose to get rid of the drive, instead focusing all his runs behind wicket, particularly third man. This shows a man in the mature section of his England career, and is a welcome performance from a player we all know has the talent, but perhaps not the mental temperament when the pressure is on. That question has surely been put to bed now. Johnny Bairstow €“ 5/10 Got the second top score in the first innings without going on to capitalise, and needs to get more runs if he wants to keep his place in this England batting line up. However, he shows a good temperament, and with some good form and more positive thinking, he could be the Flintoff-esque batman the middle-order needs. Great fielding along with Bell. Matt Prior €“ 7/10 Good with the gloves as usual, taking a superb catch to his right. Gathered momentum for England in the second innings with some positive shots, and was unlucky to be caught taking on the pull, only to find Cowan at midwicket. He is also another experienced member of the team to rely on in the tense proceedings of the run chase. Stuart Broad €“ 7.5/10 Very controversial in this match, both for the non-walking incident and for trying the old shoe-lace trick to waste time before lunch on Day 4. Yet in all honesty, he bowled and batted rather well, and shows why England put trust in him. His fieriness, like Pietersen, may get him into trouble some times, but he is a player Cook can throw the ball to in order to make something happen. Perhaps he should just lay down a bit on the, uh, cheating eh? Graham Swann €“ 5.5/10 Nowhere near his best, but just about pulled his performance over the 5/10 mark with his bowling on the night of Day 3, picking up Smith and Hughes in quick succession. Whether it was nerves or simply a touch of bad rhythm, England will need Swann to perform better if they are to win the series, for they cannot keep relying on Anderson to get them out of troubled water. Steven Finn €“ 4/10 Finn will probably be dropped for the next test, but that is not necessarily because he is a bad player, but more that he underperformed in this particular match. Cook€™s decision to bring him on when Australia needed 60 runs to win was almost catastrophic as the man from Watford leaked 25 or so runs in only 2 overs. Trends on social media were suggesting that Finn was single-handedly losing the test match. Harsh, but it almost became truth. He is too good a player to not bounce back, but at the minute, he should take a breather. Bresnan or Onions in. James Anderson €“ 9.5/10 You could not ask much more from England€™s bowling hero from Burnley. The 0.5 between him and full marks perhaps stems from him giving away his wicket so easily when England were looking to set a big target for Australia. But otherwise you couldn€™t fault him. Class screams everything about his action, professionalism and skill with the ball both new and old. Phenomenal performance. Overall England = 75 Australia = 73

UMPIRES

Aleem Dar €“ 3.5/5 Will be remembered for missing the blatant edge from Stuart Broad, which unfortunately brings his score down, but other from a few reversed decisions, didn€™t do as badly as some people have suggested. He is still a world class umpire. Kumar Dharmasena €“ 4/5 Can€™t be faulted for thinking Swann€™s wicket of Hughes pitched outside leg and was on the most part pretty good. With Dar and other match officials, he needs to tighten up some of the issues with the DRS that will hopefully be resolved soon. Marais Erasmus (Third Umpire) €“ 3/5 It isn€™t often that the 3rd umpire gets criticism, but in this match Erasmus performed poorly. Agar was arguably stumped, and with no obvious evidence to suggest otherwise, Erasmus gave Agar not out. This incident, along with the wicket of Trott (where there was a clear edge shown by a deviating ball) aided Australia significantly going into the second innings.
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English and History graduate from the University of York. I love all things culture, whether it's film, music, TV, sport or anything else I enjoy writing about. My main interests range from metacinema and Oscar nominations to comic book movies, sci-fi, supernatural television and the musical world of rock n' roll.