What an unfortunate ending to a dominant display of Test Match cricket from the Aussies. Lets take a look at the Australian Cricket Team grades for the 3rd test
Shane Watson: C-
Batting: 19, 18
Bowling: 0/26, 0/2
A pretty disappointing Test match for Watson. Despite starts in both innings and an apparent technique correct for his tendency to play across his front pad, he never looked comfortable. Maybe he has lost the confidence of the coaching panel, with the 2nd innings scenario ideal for Watto to get back into some form, but they went with Warner instead. Personally I think Watson opening with Warner at 6 is a much better look for the side, but patience may be wearing thin. His bowling was without luck unfortunately. A massive opportunity was missed when he trapped Pietersen in front for an unsuccessful appeal, with Clarke deciding against reviewing it.
Chris Rogers: A-
Batting: 84, 12
An impressive knock in the first innings has silenced a few doubters. Lovely stroke play through all areas of the ground, and unfortunately fell short of a maiden Test century. Playing the ball noticeably later, he was able to nullify the swinging ball when it was at its most dangerous. Keeping Rogers as an opener in the second innings when Australia were looking to score quickly is certainly an indication of keeping him there for the foreseeable future.
Usman Khawaja: C+
Batting: 1, 24
Hard to give a grade for Khawaja, considering his part in one of the worst decisions of all time. Clearly not out in the first innings and despite a review he was headed back to the sheds for only 1 run. Regardless, for a number 3 batsman, it was a rather loose shot, showing he still has a way to go. His knock in the second innings was all that was required, scoring more quickly than he usually does. This innings showed just what he is capable of if he takes a more aggressive approach against the English attack, something which the Australian team desperately needs. His flick of the pads advancing down the pitch in the second innings will be a shot I remember for a long time.
Michael Clarke: A
Batting: 187, 30*
A brilliant knock in the first innings set up the match for the Australian team. Back to his elegant best, Clarke was never looking like getting out until a great ball from Broad cramped for a chop on. He will be disappointed he couldn’t convert his score into yet another double century. Showing his versatility once again, his 30 in the second innings came at almost a run a ball, giving Australia the quick scoring they needed to force the match against England. His captaincy throughout the match was great once again, bringing on bowling changes at the right time, and declaring his sides’ innings at the perfect time. Bringing on Nathan Lyon early on in the piece in England’s first innings was a great attacking move, and was extremely unlucky not to have snagged a few more wickets. Doesn’t get an A+ because he ran out Steve Smith in the 2nd innings
Steve Smith: A-
Batting: 89, 19
An excellent test match for Steve Smith, producing a fine knock in the first innings, and again in the second with a run-a-ball 19 before being bizarrely denied a second run by Clarke. He seems to have turned a corner with his batting, tightening up many technical flaws he previously had with his batting. We thought that the swinging ball in England would trouble him, but this knock was of a changed man, showing just how much he has improved. His second innings was a joy to watch, with 2 magnificent down the ground sixes punishing the English attack when Australia needed it the most.
Brad Haddin: A-
Batting: 65*, 8
Wicket-Keeping: 7 catches
One of the best test matches from Haddin in quite a long time. His 65 in the first innings would have turned into a much bigger score had the innings not been declared. Such a pure striker of the ball, Haddin played a composed, but aggressive innings going at a strike rate of 65. One of the frustrating things about Brad Haddin’s innings is he usually has had to come into the middle with Australia struggling, which prevents him from playing his natural game. Coming in with Australia 5/365 let him do this, and he once again put on valuable runs with the tail. His wicket-keeping was sublime in this test. Taking an absolute screamer down the leg side to remove Cook in the first innings was a highlight. Can be forgiven for his missed catch from Nathan Lyon early in his spell. Don’t think anyone would expect Lyon to turn the ball that much.
Peter Siddle: B+
Bowling: 4/63, 1/8
Doing what Peter Siddle always does, coming in late on Day 2, he got two crucial wickets to leave England in a spot of bother in their 1st innings. Hitting the pitch hard and with subtle variations in length, Siddle was also big in ending a tail end resistance from the Poms, removing a set Prior and Swann. In the second innings he was quick to remove the ever dangerous Kevin Pietersen and would have no doubt featured heavily on a more weather-friendly day. Continues to be the leader of the Aussie attack, and needs to produce more of the same if Australia is to keep this momentum going.
Mitchell Starc: B-
Batting: 66*, 11
Bowling: 3/76, 0/6
The ever-erratic Mitchell Starc produced glimpses of terrific form, taking three crucial wickets in the 1st innings, but was the most expensive of Australia’s front line bowlers. Snagged the crucial wickets of Cook and Pietersen will do wonders for his confidence, but will it be enough for spot in the 4th test? No doubt Michael Clarke enjoys the different looks a left arm swing bowler offers, but if Australia hadn’t put on such a massive total in the 1st innings, the English could have gone after him even more. His 93 run partnership with Haddin late on the second day was great to watch. You will rarely see a bowler hit the ball as hard as he does.
Ryan Harris: A-
Bowling: 2/82, 2/13
What a great performance from Rhino, his 1st innings figures don’t do justice to how well he bowled. His 2nd innings bowling was lethal, removing Cook for a duck with an absolute gem of an inswinger, and then again, with maybe not so brilliant of a ball, with Trott. Nevertheless, Harris put the Aussies in with a legitimate shot at winning the test match. 38 overs for the match may be too much for Harris to overcome for the next test, starting on Friday. Let’s hope he pulls up OK, because as we have seen over the past two tests, he certainly one of the elite bowlers in world cricket.
Nathan Lyon: B
Bowling: 1/95, 0/8
Match figures are clearly a misrepresentation of how well Gary bowled. His first over made everyone sit up from their seats, with a noticeably different run up giving him more power at the crease. This is giving him more natural off-spinner drift and more turn. The rev-count was not quite up to Graeme Swann levels, but it was certainly an improvement. The opening spell for Lyon should have had at least three wickets, and he made Alastair Cook look quite pedestrian for a period of time. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to keep this form throughout the innings, where on many occasions he reverted to his old self and was far less of a threat to the English batsmen. That consistency will come though, and he must be persisted with by the Australian team. Anybody who says he should be dumped is clearly looking at his figures only, and didn’t have the heart to watch the entire test.
What ended up probably working out evenly for both teams, the DRS is not instilling much confidence in either camp. KP must be feeling a tad unlucky. His 1st innings dismissal had a clear hotspot and given out, while in the 2nd innings nothing showed up and he was given out. Explain that! Usman Khawaja in the 1st innings was a blatant error from the third umpire, and Steve Smith and should consider himself lucky in the first innings. What’s the answer? Who knows? Maybe more reviews for each team? Fines for incorrect decisions? Total 3rd umpire control? Whatever it is, the BCCI is sitting back having a great laugh.
Nooooooooooooooooooo! That’d be right. For the first time in a long time, Australia had completely outplayed England from start to finish, but were denied by stupid English weather. Can’t do much about that though, and Australia must be buoyed by the fact that they flat out deserved this test match victory. When you think about it, a Stuart Broad non-walk and bad weather is all that separates Michael Clarke’s men from a 2-1 lead.