The Ashes: 5th Test Australia Player Ratings

Given the lack of play in this test match it is a little difficult to hand out ratings for the Australians. There is limited evidence to go off, and a lot of it is more ODI type cricket in nature, but based on that limited evidence this is how I rate Australia’s players:

Chris Rogers: 5 out of 10

Was obdurate in defence in partnership with a rampant Shane Watson and then was dismissed to an innocuous delivery from Swann. Must work on his method against spin bowling. Bizarrely did not get a bat in the second innings.

David Warner: 2 out of 10

Got out in the first innings just way you expect Warner to: fending at a ball outside off stump that he could have left alone. Sick of hearing: “that is just the way he bats”. In a second innings that ought to have been made for him could not get the job done.

Shane Watson: 9 out of 10

Under more pressure than any other player in the Australian team and responded with an attacking innings early that then morphed into a quality hundred. Took a knock to the head and showed immense courage to stay on the field. Elevated to open in the second innings and picked off some quick runs before hitting Swann to long on. Australia is a lesser bowling attack with him not in it.

Michael Clarke: 3.5 out of 10

Has never played a worse 7 than that he did in the first innings. Completely out of sorts albeit scored at a run a ball when chasing a declaration. Tactically courageous with his declaration. Questionable tactics in the field, particularly in the first innings, in not bowling Lyon early enough and not attacking despite his position of strength in the game.

Steve Smith: 9 out of 10

The fidgeter started with the streakiest of shots but after that put on a masterclass of middle order batting. Benefited from a strange decision to bowl Trott whilst in the 90s. Did not really get going in the declaration chase. Has come of age in 2013 and made the number 5 spot his own.

Brad Haddin: 7 out of 10

Dug in with Smith to get him to his hundred and then attacked when fast runs were needed. Golden duck in the second innings can be excused given the situation. Immaculate with the gloves as always. Did his job again and now holds the dismissals world record.

James Faulkner: 7 out of 10

Came in in a ODI type situation in both innings and got on board with the need for fast runs. Took wickets at key junctures for Australia albeit again in ODI type situations. Bowling on the 5th morning was overshadowed by his big mouth.

Peter Siddle: 5 out of 10

Did his job with the bat as nightwatchman. His limitations with the ball on unhelpful wickets again shown in full colour in England’s innings. Will charge in all day but has a sameness about him when not assisted by the wicket. Only given 3 overs in second innings which is an indictment on his form at the moment.

Ryan Harris: 7.5 out of 10

Looked the pick of Australia’s bowlers whenever he had the ball in his hand and again showed why he is the bowler most feared by this English opposition. Australia’s best by a fair way this series.

Mitchell Starc: 6.5 out of 10

Took two wickets during a good spell of bowling but is still too inconsistent and seemingly unable to bowl line and length on day 3. Sick of hearing “he is a wicket taker” as though that makes releasing all pressure on the batters all ok. Showed as much in the second innings when he could not contain any batter for England in the run chase.

Nathan Lyon: 6 out of 10

Bowled some of his best bowling as a test cricketer for, again, limited rewards. Despite easily being Australia’s best spin prospect does not get the support of his captain by way of attacking fields. In and ODI type situation in the second innings did not take wickets which were needed. Must be wondering what he has to do to get the support of the captain.

The Ashes: 5th Test Day 5 Weather Watch

After a washed out day of play yesterday, the final day of this Ashes series looks also like it could be effected by weather.

Here is the forecast from the BBC Weather service for London for Day 5:

A grey start to the day with the risk of early rain. It will become brighter through the morning with some sunny intervals later. Feeling very warm in light winds.

Certainly some hope there for some play today but really, after yesterday’s wash out does it really matter in the context of the test and the series?

The Ashes: 5th Test, Day 4 Preview

After a slow day at the Oval yesterday, Day 4 beckons with England trailing Australia but some 245 runs with 6 wickets still in hand. There will be another packed house at the Oval desperate to see a contest and to see if England can go past the follow on and press towards a draw. I say draw because it seems like there is no other result open to England in this game. Australian fans in the ground and watching late into the night will obviously be hoping for a more fruitful day.

It is a big day for:

Nathan Lyon: I said yesterday in my preview that it would be a big day for Nathan Lyon on Day 3. Unfortunately he did not get as much bowling as many would have expected however his captain did not deign to bowl him much in the first 50 overs of the innings. He bowled exceptionally well on day 3 and will enjoy a further deteriorated wicket. In order for the pressure that is on him to retain his position that is seemingly on him from selectors, some further players and fans alike he will need to bowl Australia to a dominant position today otherwise that pressure will continue to rise.

Michael Clarke: I questioned some of the tactics of Michael Clarke on day 3 and he will need to show better acumen on the field today in order to lead his team to an improbable victory. Seemingly caught between attack and defence some of his fields were set strangely to say the least. He must show faith in his off spinner today and crowd the bat failing which any semblance of a chance Australia might to win this game will be gone by the lunch adjournment.

Chris Woakes: On debut and arguably batting for a place on upcoming summer tour to Australia Woakes will never have a better opportunity to solidify that spot than on Day 4. The pitch is benign and Australian bowlers are backing up after a long day in the field. Positive intent coupled with quality defence in support of the player of the series for mine, Ian Bell, will see him on the plane to Australia for mine.

What does winning the day look like?


It is simple for Australia: they must have England out by lunch time if they are to be any chance of a victory in this game. Any other result on day 4 will constitute a loss for the baggy greens.


Same as yesterday: bat, bat and then bat some more. Forget the “controversy” over the slow batting run rate of the English. There is nothing wrong with batting defensively and, indeed, batting for a draw and England proved on day 3 they can do that. A repeat on day 4 will see this game, in fact, end up a draw.

Talking Points:

All talk will again be around the pitch today. Even the players are getting on the bandwagon (see Joe Root’s interview at the end of yesterday’s play) about the pitch being slow and difficult to score on. No matter how the day pans out here there will still be much discussion around the preparation of the wicket.

Weather Report:

The BBC weather report states as follows:

A cloudy start with some locally heavy rain in places. Becoming brighter through the morning with some sunny intervals developing but also the risk of further showers or thunderstorms. Locally torrential downpours may lead to some localised flooding.

Needless to say it is looking likely that rain will play a part in the days play at some point.

Final Word:

This is the second last day of the first instalment of the Ashes for 2013/14. Both sides can gain much from a good day today. Australia can gain confidence whilst England can get back some momentum. Another interesting day beckons at the Oval.