Marsh shines bright but Cook is now a worry
Player ratings from the second Test do not give the tourists much to smile about, writes Scyld Berry
England Alastair Cook Runs: 53
In Brisbane he was not at ease against pace. In Adelaide he looked good against pace but was ill at ease against Lyon’s off-spin. If he can get both sides of his game together, he could repeat his century at Perth in 2006. But it is becoming more of an “if”.
Mark Stoneman Runs: 54
Keeps making starts, then getting out. Still, his fluency in the second innings lent impetus to England’s run chase. A big score will surely come provided his fielding holds up – he is the only England outfielder to have missed a catch so far.
James Vince Runs: 17
In the absence of other candidates, he was brought in at No 3 to play his shots. He has done that, but without much discrimination since his first innings in Brisbane. Perhaps he and Malan should swap places, as Vince is unlikely to change his spots.
Joe Root Runs: 76 Wickets: 0
His 67 was a valiant riposte, but his decision to insert will go down as a mistake – though a forgivable one because his three most senior pace bowlers failed to back him up. After a good all-round game, he can look Smith in the eye.
Dawid Malan Runs: 58
Dismissed both times in Adelaide by Cummins finding an angle through his defence from round the wicket. Otherwise he has stood fast without ever getting on top of the bowling. Has held his catches nicely, so his career should still be on the up.
Moeen Ali Runs: 27 Wickets: 0
Not making sufficient impact at No 6 for one of the more established batsmen (105 runs), or as the sole spinner (two wickets at 98 each) – while making allowances for his sore spinning finger. Some brilliant strokeplay would be nice at the Waca.
Jonny Bairstow Runs: 57
Being saddled with a fragile tail has restricted his scope for counter-attack, and England have to maximise his batting if they are to get back in the series. The verbals abated in Adelaide, eventually, and he kept his wicketkeeping game together well.
Chris Woakes Runs: 41 Wickets: 5
A big step up from Brisbane all round. Now he has to do the same again in Perth, where conditions will not suit his bowling as much as dusk in Adelaide. His batting is coming to terms with the best attack he has faced but England need 50s from him.
Craig Overton Runs: 48 Wickets: 4
Pitched a fuller length than England’s three senior seamers on day one and was rewarded by bowling Smith. Hardly bowled second time. A brave unbeaten 41 gave England some self-respect, and he rounded off his debut with a fine diving catch.
Stuart Broad Runs: 11 Wickets: 2
Two wickets in the best conditions for swing-andseam he will find in Australia – though he could argue that he was the only one of England’s four seamers who did not play in the practice game at Adelaide. He owes England one of his magic spells.
James Anderson Runs: 0 Wickets: 6
It was terrific bowling when he took his first five-wicket haul in Australia, but it was an innings too late. If only he had pitched the new ball up on the first day, Root’s decision to bowl first might have been justified.
Australia David Warner Runs: 61
A big score looks on the way – a century before lunch in Perth? He is looking very well-organised, content perhaps for the first time in his career to squirrel away singles rather than blast fours past England’s sweeper on the cover boundary.
Cameron Bancroft Runs: 14
Looks as though he will become a formidable opponent, especially on his home ground in Perth, even though he has made only one score of note. His strong driving game will put pressure on England if they do not get him early.
Usman Khawaja Runs: 73
A peripheral player so far, but his defence was sound in both innings at Adelaide and he looks to be overcoming his hesitation against Moeen. Off-spin in any event is seldom a factor at the Waca.
Steve Smith Runs: 46
His decision to bat again was more of a mistake than Root’s to bowl first. He got several DRS reviews wrong, he dropped a slip catch, got too tense in the on-field altercations, and was dismissed for six – and Australia are still 2-0 up.
Peter Handscomb Runs: 48
Unlikely to retain his No 5 place much longer. It is not so much that he has made only 62 runs, but the encouragement his quirky technique gives to England’s seamers. Mitchell Marsh awaits as an all-rounder, with brother Shaun moving up to five.
Shaun Marsh Runs: 145
Australia’s leading run-scorer in this series, he looks ready to step up a place in the order.
His left-handed cover-driving has been one of the highlights in a batting line-up somewhat short on aesthetic delights.
Tim Paine Runs: 68
It looks as though Australia made the right call because his first innings of 57 in Adelaide was more commanding from anything Peter Nevill has so far produced. He has had trouble coping with Lyon’s bounce, but so have England’s batsmen.
Mitchell Starc Runs: 26 Wickets: 8
If England could have one Australian, would it be Starc or Cummins? Before criticising Root for bowling first, consider what would have happened if Starc had swung the new ball on cloudy day one as he did on day five – a few unplayable boomerangs.
Pat Cummins Runs: 55 Wickets: 3
Does not have the best figures, but takes key wickets at key moments as the fastest bowler, and plays key innings. In the absence of Ben Stokes he has been the best all-rounder on either side. And good for him after six years of injury.
Nathan Lyon Runs: 24 Wickets: 6
He has had England’s left-handers on toast, with extra fries, taking 11 wickets at 22. Happily for England the third Test is at the Waca, where Lyon has taken 12 wickets at 50 and an off-spinner has to be a flight bowler, using the breeze, to be effective.
Josh Hazlewood Runs: 3 Wickets: 3
He had only one Sheffield Shield match after returning from injury, so was rusty at the Gabba, but is now back to his best. His old-ball spell on the fifth morning, snuffing out Woakes and Root, was outstanding evidence.
In different worlds: Shaun Marsh (above); Alastair Cook (below) and James Anderson (left)