Hayden A+. Excellent. The only reliable way of getting him out is to
have him caught at deep backward square, and even if you bowl him the
ideal ball, ie a leg stump bouncer at just about shoulder height,
there's still only one chance in four that he'll hole out, so it's
going to take the average inaccurate English bowler about 80 runs to
buy his wicket.
Langer D++. The 250 at Melbourne was pretty awesome, but otherwise he
was pretty ineffectual despite the ropy English new ball bowling. To
be fair, he took over from Nasser Hussain as the man most likely to be
sawn off by umpires, but I expected much better from him.
Ponting A. I find myself strangely unmoved by Punter's batting. I
react to his batting much in the same way as Thorpe's: it's obviously
very good, but it's not especially beautiful, exciting, gritty, or
really anything very much to watch.
Martyn C-. Reminds me of a 50s-60s-style player: very correct, nice
shape to his shots, nothing too reckless, but not over-cautious, but
damned easy to set a field to, and not all that difficult to trap in
Waugh E++. One significant innings in the series, albeit one of the
most theatrically staged and executed centuries in Test history. To
produce an innings like that while spending the whole of the rest of
the series looking like a bunny is eloquent testimony to the man's
amazing willpower, but it still looked like a spectacular tantrum
against the dying of the light than a reassertion of the batsman he
used to be.
Lehmann E. Failed once again to convince as a Test player.
Love C. Very nice debut innings and a brilliant slip fielder, but did
little at Sydney. Must have eased himself ahead of Lehmann.
Gilchrist A. The second-best wicketkeeper seen in the series, and as
dangerous with the bat as ever.
Warne A+. Looked to be in top-notch form until his unfortunate injury.
That English batsmen are no longer afraid of spin bowling in principle
mattered not one whit: they are still unable to take Warne on. There
may not quite be the fizz and rip there used to be, but the teasing
and the intelligence in his bowling is still majestic.
Lee B. In England, the Run Charity (tm) was a complete waste of space.
Here, though, he was considerably more effective. The WACA is clearly
his ideal ground, and he excelled there. Then there were his first two
or three overs at Sydney in I1, which was probably the best spell of
bowling by anyone in the series. Most of the rest of his bowling was
less threatening, but at least it wasn't the tripe he served up in
Bichel C+. Playing for the wrong team. He's a craggy old guy, who
swings it some and gets it to do a bit off the pitch, and puts in
whole-hearted, honest effort. In other words, he's a classical English
seam bowler. How useful a classical English seam bowler is in an
Australian team must be somewhat questionable, although Damien Fleming
didn't do all that badly.
Gillespie C. It's a C as an average, for he was an A at the beginning
of the series and an E at the end. It was his ability to bowl
accurately at nearly 90mph which scuppered Trescothick, which was
crucial to getting England off to bad starts. In itself, that was a
vital contribution, but while he remained fully fit he was dangerous
to many more batsmen than Tresco.
McGrath A+. There is nothing to add to the list of superlatives
already showered on this great bowler.
MacGill D. There are apparently some people who think that MacGill is
serious competition for a fit Warne. I can only assume that they live
in some alternative reality. He turns the ball a lot more than Warne
usually does, but his length is erratic, and his line generally
unthreatening. Bowls four-balls with the regularity of Ian Salisbury.
His ineffectiveness, especially contrasted with Warne's supremacy, was
the main reason England won the Fifth Test.