Ratings - December 2005
Very late, but I've been away
Australia v West Indies
Opening Ratings: Aus: 1342.10 WI: 816.39
1st Test: Australia by 379 runs
2nd Test: Australia by 9 wickets
3rd Test: Australia by 7 wickets
Closing Ratings: Aus: 1345.82 WI: 812.23
Downgraded to a series of just three tests, the West Indies were charmingly erratic but ineffectual against an Australian side that can still bully sides when they want to. Bravo was the find of the series, contributing with bat and ball, but apart from a typically majestic knock by Lara in Adelaide, and some tight bowling by Collymore in Brisbane there wasn't much worth noting. For Australia, the best news was Brett Lee, who (mostly) bowled with control and topped the wicket tally. Bracken, Hussey of the freakish average in both forms of the game, and Hodge all showed something. Gilchrist's form is more of a concern. It is conceivable he will give up the gloves if the slump continues. No ratings change, no contest.
Pakistan v England
Opening Ratings: Pak: 1046.49 Eng: 1252.93
1st Test: Pakistan by 22 runs
2nd Test: Drawn
3rd Test: Pakistan by an innings and 100 runs
Closing Ratings: Pak: 1127.04 Eng: 1204.38
Why have one ineffective spinner when you can have two? Despite having a decade or more of failures in this area behind them, England went bits-and-pieces-all-rounder crazy in Pakistan. Giles, Udal, Collingwood and Plunkett are all in possession of ordinary first-class records, and they all performed as expected on tour, dragging a tiring Flintoff down with them. Pakistan are still inconsistent, and but for one player they would probably have lost easily; however, Inzaman (with good support from Butt) provided them with just enough runs to sneak a win in Multan, and a sniff in Faisalabad with Shoaib provided the firepower to run through a poor English batting lineup. In the third test Yousuf and Akmal scored heavily and the rout was on. For England, Bell and Trescothick made runs, but Pietersen remains an enigma when they need someone solid.
India (1151.25) v Sri Lanka (1089.47) - 3 Tests.
It seems kind of pointless talking about a series that is half over, but it is worth seeing what the ratings have to say. And that is that, despite a drop in the past year, India are a better side than Sri Lanka, particularly at home, and especially given Sri Lanka's poor away record.
Australia (1345.82) v South Africa (1127.19) - 3 Tests.
Despite the Ashes loss, Australia at home is still a difficult proposition. South Africa have been losing ground slowly over the past few years, and despite he fierce rivalry between the two sides it will be a suprise if they challenge. More intriguing is the influx of new blood into the Australian side as they look to next summer against England.
New Zealand (7th) 1051.26
Zimbabwe (9th) 672.64
Bangladesh (10th) 610.86
15th December, 2005 20:53:06