Australia dominated England in the First Test match completed at the Gabba on Sunday. Here are my ratings of the performances of the players from the Australian side:
David Warner: 9 out of 10
This was the performance Australia cricket fans, particularly those who have doubted Warner’s position in the team, have been waiting for. His first innings 49 had the feel of “same old same old” about when a bad shot induced his down fall after he had scored quickly. His second innings hundred was akin to watching him mature in front of our eyes. His hundred was nothing short of excellent: he did not attack as a means of defence as has previously been his method. Frankly though his performance has been sullied by his comment in the media but this rating is not a rating of that.
Chris Rogers: 4.5 out of 10
It was far from Rogers best game. He never looked comfortable on the bouncing Gabba surface and succumbed, frankly, to two ordinary shots. Will return to conditions more to his liking for the second test.
Shane Watson: 4.5 out of 10
It was also far from Watson’s best game. After doing the hard yards in the first innings, and looking very good, he sparred at the widest ball he received and was caught in the slips. Pumped up in the second innings after an excellent pull shot he had a brain melt and skied one to mid on. Must stop being so impetuous if he is to be a long term option at number 3.
Michael Clarke: 9 out of 10
After his first innings score was probably the most under pressure bloke in Brisbane. He did not put a step wrong thereafter: his captaincy was brilliant and his batting in the second innings took the game away from the English when Australia was in trouble. The plans he has developed with the coach and his willingness to go for the metaphorical throat of the English played a significant part in Australia’s dominant win.
Steve Smith: 5 out of 10
Another player who was looking solid in the first innings before playing a bad shot. A duck in the second innings came after a long partnership when a lengthy spell in the middle from him was required. Was a livewire in the field and his catching was of the highest standard.
George Bailey: 5 out of 10
On debut looked very nervous in the first innings before getting a good ball from Jimmy Anderson. In the second innings, when the pressure was off really, he looked more assured and kept Australia’s run rate up as they chased a lead in advance of a declaration. Missed a run out of Cook late on day 3 which could have played a big part in England pushing for a draw (if they were able to do so).
Brad Haddin: 9.5 out of 10
Australia’s best player for mine. Was called on to rebuild Australia’s first innings and was easily Australia’s most comfortable batsman on the first day Gabba wicket. Through away a hundred in the first innings chasing quick runs and got fast runs again in the second innings as the declaration approached. Haddin was excellent with the gloves this game to boot. His best game for Australia for some time.
Mitchell Johnson: 9 out of 10
In his first game back in the baggy green in 14 months Johnson’s work with the willow accompanied by his bowling saw him tapped on the shoulder by the Channel 9 commentators for man of the match honours. He bowled with pace and hostility and set the Englishmen on the back foot right from his first over. In the middle session of day 2 he lifted his fellow players and the crowd with one of the swiftest spells witnessed at the Gabba in recent times. A “Michelle” in the second innings was a just reward. Now he needs to replicate it.
Peter Siddle: 6.5 out of 10
Relegated to Australia’s 3rd choice seamer, Siddle did a workmanlike job without setting the world on fire. His ball to dismiss Bell in the second innings was an absolute “jaffa” but that aside all that could be said about Siddle’s work was that he did the job his captain asked of him.
Ryan Harris: 7.5 out of 10
Much has been made of Johnson’s bowling but Australia’s best bowler, Harris, bowled an unbelievably good first spell against the English to remove Cook and Pietersen. He looked like taking wickets every time he took the ball and had his status as Australia’s best bowler confirmed by the obvious relief in the body language of the English when he was spelled.
Nathan Lyon: 8 out of 10
Was this performance enough for the selectors to take the foot of Lyon’s throat and give him time in the team? If it was not then he will never convince them of his bona fides. His first spell contributed as much to the downfall of Carberry as Johnson’s bowling and he took big wickets in both innings.