10 – Ben Stokes – 8 & 135 not out, 1/45 & 3/56 – He must have heard me complaining about how he didn’t deserve the man of the match award for the 2nd test, but he sure deserved this one. He was striking at around 10 at one point but he kept going. It wasn’t quite a solo effort, as Root and Denly did well earlier on too, and Bairstow was decent, but he scored 135 out of 359, and 74 out of a 10th wicket partnership of 76. It was the 10th highest test chase of all time and the 2nd highest 10th wicket partnership in a victory. All of this after England were all out for 67 and they had to score the highest score in the match. Just simply incredible.
8 – Jofra Archer – 6/45 & 2/40 – He was absolutely awful in the first innings until suddenly he took a wicket, which reminded me of my own bowling. No, not the super-fast super-accurate stuff, but more the bowling terribly then throwing in a pearler, which is extra surprising when the rest of it is terrible. The difference is that after Archer bowled that one good ball, which took Harris’s wicket, he bowled outstandingly well. He also added 15 with the bat in the second innings and briefly looked like taking England home. He is yet to bat well internationally but domestically he is a genuine all-rounder.
7 – Joe Root – 0 & 77 – He fought hard in the second innings, after being hopeless in the first, and some newspapers were reporting that he was fighting for England and his captaincy. So cruel. He started the comeback with his fighting knock. At one point it looked like it would be easy for England, but then it suddenly wasn’t, and Ben Stokes had to come to the rescue. If Root hadn’t fought as hard as he did, though, then Stokes wouldn’t have had his chance.
6 – Stuart Broad – 2/32 & 2/52 – His figures were worse than Archer’s but he was bowling up a storm and, at least in the first innings, they were the only two bowlers doing anything, yet still they conspired to get Australia all out for 179, which is pretty incredible. In the second innings, Ben Stokes helped out a lot, but, even still, there wasn’t a whole lot of support.
6 – Jonny Bairstow – 4ct/1ct, 4 & 36 – A huge stand with Ben Stokes took England to the brink of victory, at that point needing 114 more runs with 6 wickets in hand, or 5 after Bairstow was out. Sadly, it started that collapse. Oh and he kept well too.
5 – Joe Denly – 12 & 50 – He dug in when there was a decent amount of pressure on him personally and much more on the team, and he did well. Great credit to him. His partnership with Root set up the win. The wobble in the middle nearly cost them the chase but, thanks to Stokes, it was okay.
3 – Chris Woakes – 1/51 & 1/34 – Oh how the mighty have fallen. It’s almost like with Archer in the team Woakes has forgotten how to bowl. He was in such great form earlier. He was great against Ireland and great in the first test. He was still okay, but nowhere near the level that Broad and Archer were bowling at.
2 – Jack Leach – 1/46 – Jack Leach gets two extra points for being there at the end with Stokes, contributing 1 run out of a partnership of 76, and for that run being the one that tied the match and then let Stokes hit the winning runs, off the number 1 test bowler in the world, no less. He should have been runout the previous over, though, so loses a point for that. Mind you, if it wasn’t for terrible umpiring that gave Ben Stokes not out the next ball, it wouldn’t have mattered. He just looks surplus to requirements. Didn’t even bowl in the first innings, yet he bats at number 11. Is he just there to let Ben Stokes get all the runs? Is that his role in the team?
2 – Rory Burns – 9 & 7 – Never really got going but at least he got something. He’ll keep his spot due to his scores in the other matches, not due to his scores in this one.
2 – Jason Roy – 9 & 8 – Almost identical to his opening partnership, the same can be said, other than, with Ollie Pope waiting in the wings, averaging 59.58 in first class cricket and fresh off a 221 not out, I dare say that the Jason Roy experiment may be on its last legs.
0 – Jos Buttler – 5 & 1 – His stupid runout almost single-handedly cost England the game. Ugh. Runout backing up, no less, and it was all his fault. He might have got a point but for that. It changed the momentum, causing a mini-collapse and nearly costing England a match that they were winning. Thank Stokes it didn’t. His position in the team must come under serious question after this.
9.5 – Marnus Labuschagne – 74 & 80 – Very nearly won Australia the match, top-scoring in both innings, and this as the replacement for Steve Smith. It’s almost like he did a kind of brain and body transplant, as this is not the Labuschagne we remember. The only small negative is that he did ultimately give his wicket away, in both innings, and should have gone on to get a century. Smith would have got centuries in both innings. Even still, it was pretty good and looked like enough. If Stokes hadn’t been as incredible as he was, Labuschagne would have been man of the match. He’ll surely keep his spot when Smith returns, and then we’ll have two superstars in the same team.
9 – Josh Hazlewood – 5/30 & 4/85 – This was an incredible effort, at times almost going solo. In the first innings he had support from Cummins and Pattinson but in the second innings at stages he was the only one who was still pushing for the victory, still throwing himself at England, still willing that win. While Lyon came good towards the end, I wonder if it would have been better to have had Hazlewood bowl that last over to Jack Leach, rather than Cummins. He sure did have a fantastic match and there’s no way he should miss the next. Well, unless he has a secret injury or is tired. Please don’t drop him.
7 – David Warner – 61 & 0, 4ct/2ct – He took 6 catches in the match, which sounds like it’s probably a record for a non-wicket keeper, and he did this after some people were saying that Bancroft should stay there for his fielding. Ha! Some of the catches were brilliant too, match-winning. He just looked like a different player. His partnership with Labuschagne set up what looked at the time like a win, at least before the rest of the batting order collapsed. In the second innings he was out cheaply – for a duck – but he had a pretty good game otherwise. Any thoughts to drop him for the 4th test will be gone.
6 – Nathan Lyon – 0/2 & 2/114 – His figures don’t look good but he was good towards the end, and very nearly won Australia the game. With 2 runs to go, Lyon fumbled a runout that would have won Australia the match and the very next ball he had Ben Stokes plumb LBW. It’s not his fault that the umpire made a terrible blunder and gave it not out, nor is it his fault that Tim Paine and Pat Cummins conspired to waste Australia’s last review on a good decision. He comfortably outbowled and outplayed his opposite number in Jack Leach.
5 – Pat Cummins – 3/23 & 1/80 – Cummins was pretty good in patches in the first innings but in the second he was the first to lose the plot. He had the chance to win it for Australia, bowling at number 11 Leach but he just couldn’t get energised for it. It was bad bowling, even while Lyon was bowling bombs at the other end. It wasn’t a completely awful match but he just lost the plot.
4 – Tim Paine – 4ct/1ct, 11 & 0 – Paine will be thankful that these marks out of 10 don’t count captaincy, as he looked to be all over the place here. His decision to review an obviously correct decision, to lose their last review, ended up costing the match when Stokes was out plumb LBW but the umpire incorrectly gave it not out with no reviews left. He can perhaps be blamed on some level for the team losing the plot at different points in the 4th innings too. Sometimes it’s about more than scores. David Warner even managed more catches than him. Just the same, he kept well, for the most part at least. He did give up a bad set of byes at one point. There is some pressure on his spot in the team, with some thinking that next series Carey will take over the gloves and perhaps Cricket Australia will undo their captaincy ban against Smith a bit earlier than planned and give Smith the captaincy with Tim Paine out of the squad. This effort won’t help Paine’s claims.
4 – Marcus Harris – 8 & 19 – He looked fantastic in both innings, but in the end he only scored 27 runs, at an average of just 13.50. The good news is that that is better than either Bancroft or Warner were doing, so he should be safe to keep his spot. Most importantly, he looked really good. The ball Jofra Archer bowled to get him out in the first innings would have got anyone out. He’s in great form. He looks like he’ll do a lot better next time. Fingers crossed the selectors don’t cut him.
4 – Matthew Wade – 0 & 33 – Wade will be hoping that the people deciding who to cut will be looking at how Wade got out for a duck, rather than just the zero on the scorecard, as he got out in the unluckiest possible way, an inside edge onto his pads and trickling onto the stumps. It was so soft that, if they had used those immovable objects for bails that they used in the World Cup, it would have been not out. His second innings 33 looked good at times.
3 – James Pattinson – 2/9 & 1/47 – He had a good economy, and he did take 2 wickets after the other bowlers had set them up, but yeah he wasn’t all that good. The Pattinson experiment can probably be declared a failure now. No, not as big a failure as the Bancroft experiment, but surely now we have to admit that we should have been playing Starc. Surely Starc would have sent us to victory in the end. Pattinson isn’t quite at the level he was at previously. He’s a bit below the big 3.
3 – Usman Khawaja – 8 & 23 – It looks like it is a choice between Khawaja and Wade for who will make way for Smith when he returns and, on the basis of this performance, it might well be Khawaja. He looked bad in the first innings and, with no pressure on whatsoever, he scored just 23. I have him surviving the cut but it’ll be close.
2 – Travis Head – 0 & 25 – There’s a big difference between 8 and 0, which is why Head gets a full point less than Khawaja. The shot he played to get out for a duck in the first innings was terribly irresponsible under the circumstances, undoing all of the hard work that Warner and Labuschagne did. He will probably survive the cut because of his work in the first two tests but in this one he was bad.