First Test - Player Rankings Australia
By Aaron Callaghan
The Unsportsmen podcast wrapping up the first test will be available for download Thursday, followed by a second test preview before the weekend so look out for those gems. We've got a comprehensive review akin to a coronial inquest. With half an eye on Adelaide, we take a look at en enthralling first test in the city that glitters, Brisvegas.
The Unsportsmen ran a thorough slide rule over all the individual performances at the Gabba. Here's a quick glimpse at the Australia players performances from the first test, as always with an uneducated and uniformed eye, yet strong opinions. Australia, save for Warner and Bancroft, batted only once, however it was a balanced team effort to batter the Pommies (who will undoubtedly bounce back) and go one – nil up in the series of hatred.
With another Steve Smith rescue job successfully completed, the batsmen around the captain could do worse than look to him for inspiration on test match batting. Smith’s patience and concentration at the crease was on show with Smith taking 66 balls to reach 17 runs with one boundary. Whilst our friends on the subcontinent point to Virat Kohli as the patron saint of willow, he (and all others) come nowhere close to Smith at test level. Another day, another match defining innings for the Australian kingpin.
The middle-order didn’t fire with exception of Shaun Marsh’s determined 51 but he couldn’t go on with it after getting his eye in on a tough Gabba wicket. The screws are slowly turning on Khawaja and Handscomb. They'll see out the series, but both need a score sooner rather than later.
WARNER – 6.5/10
Solid contribution with the bat. Good chirp in the field. Never far from the action and guided the hosts across the line in the second dig.
BANCROFT – 6/10
Looked decent for a low score in the first innings. Managed to straighten the rudder in the second innings. Showed that grit and toughness that has become synonymous with Australian cricketers. Great concentration and application, as well as having basketball sized testicles under the lid in David Boon’s spot.
KHAWAJA – 3/10
Pressure is mounting on Khawaja here for mine. Scored a bag full of runs last summer but was dropped for India and was found wanting against spin once more. Can be as majestic as an adult male Phoenix on his day, but this series could make or break him. I hope it's the former.
SMITH – 8.5/10
Match saving innings, inspired captaincy, mental strength in spades. What more to add for one of the worlds finest?
HANDSCOMB – 4/10
Nothing with the bat, and is rowing the same boat with Usman. I love Handscomb, but with a few players knocking on the door he needs a good harvest. He's very early in his career so you're entitled to say we are harsh. Saved a match for us in India a few months ago, and I would just love for him to put on a similar dig here to solidify his spot. Good slipper too.
MARSH – 6/10
A gritty half century in the first dig. Should have gone on with it, but was a tough pitch and lost concentration. However, somewhat justified his dubious selection which put the mocker on critics like us. The narrative for Marsh in recent times has been one good performance wrapped in 7 bad ones. Needs to continue to deliver to keep the hungry public at bay.
PAINE – 6/10
Tidy glove work, grassed one chance, probably a bit rusty early, settled into his work. Copped a peach against the second new ball to be dismissed, but didn't look too bad until then. A much better keeper than Wade.
The GABBA wicket didn’t offer much to bowlers outside of the new ball’s effectiveness. Some zip and bounce for Nathan Lyon, who put on a masterclass in off spin. England adopted a ‘modern bodyline’ to Steve Smith in a effort to dry up runs in his scoring zones. With the pink ball doing U-turns, Adelaide should offer up a smorgasbord of trickery for the bowlers to cash in on.
STARC – 7/10
Shot of the match, a forward push for six with those orangutan levers of his. Six wickets for the match and is the master of giving a tail end a mob-like, cold blooded execution. This bloke is at the top of his game.
CUMMINS – 7/10
A vital 42 in Australia’s first dig, a match saving partnership with Steve Smith. Picked up some handy wickets in the first innings. Is a borderline all rounder. Solid contributions everywhere and should be pleased with his performance.
HAZLEWOOD – 6/10
This bloke is as dependable as German engineering. Really set up the second innings dominance with some early wickets and despite limited success in the first, he still toils like a warhorse. A perfect partner to Starc.
LYON – 8/10
Wonderful display of off spin bowling. Threatened with almost every over he bowled, and the English really struggled with him. With Moeen Ali being sub par, Lyon could be looming as the key difference in the bowling attacks this summer. Picked up crucial wickets in the field too. Great run out to send the crowd into a frenzy and Vince off to fortitude valley for the night.
Australia’s shaky middle order will feel the St George's blowtorch in Adelaide under lights, facing the pink ball which is sure to hoop around corners. Conversely England’s batting line up will have to face a fired up Mitch Starc. Look for The Unsportsmen’s Adelaide test preview podcast.
If you disagree with any of these ratings, please reach out and give us a spray.