Thursday , February 22 2024

PLAYER RATINGS: Skipper finds perfect ‘balance’

Former Test captain Mark Taylor gives his ratings and opinion on every one of Australia’s players performances during their three-match Test series against Pakistan.

They are the World Test Champions for a reason and Australia again asserted their dominance in the red-ball format this summer, securing a 3-0 series whitewash against Pakistan.

Pat Cummins led the way with 19 wickets and picked up Player of the Series honours, while retiring opener David Warner bowed out in style with a century in Perth and a quick-fire fifty in Sydney.

AS IT HAPPENED: Australia v Pakistan, third Test day four

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However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Aussies, with some experienced batters struggling to find their mojo against a gallant Pakistan bowling attack. 

Here are my player ratings for the third Test.

David Warner – 8/10

A very solid series for his last series. Obviously the big hundred in Perth set the result up for Australia, and he signed off with an excellent quick-fire 50 in a small run chase.

Usman Khawaja – 7/10

He didn’t make a big score, but he made a 90 in Perth and a lot of other contributions.

Marnus Labuschagne – 7/10

He made a number of contributions, but was below his best. He still chipped in with useful contributions when Australia needed it.

He played his best in Sydney and I think that’s something he can take away. At times, he was a little bit too defensive and when he looked to be more aggressive, he looked to be a much better player. 

Steve Smith – 6/10

Smithy is struggling for form.

His 50 that he made in Melbourne, when he was below his best and still made a contribution that Australia needed when we were 4-16 at one stage – that’s the sign of a class player who can put the ego aside at times and still make a dogged score.

He didn’t make a really big score, but still some useful contributions.

Travis Head – 5/10

He chipped in with a few scores here and there, but he didn’t make a big score. Having said that, batting at No.5 behind those four guys, at times you don’t get the opportunities.

He always takes the bowling on, which I think is really good for this side and now that Warner is gone, he’s going to need to keep doing that. Although he didn’t kick on in this series, I like the way he plays and I hope he keeps playing that way.

Mitchell Marsh – 9.5/10

He was really good. He contributed in every game with either bat or ball. He batted and made some great contributions when Australia really needed it. The 90-odd he made in Melbourne along with Smithy really dug Australia out of a big hole and that’s the reason we won the series and came into Sydney 2-0 up.

A very good all-round series and he continued on from a reintroduction into the side during The Ashes.

Alex Carey – 8/10

I was delighted to see Alex keep well again and actually make some runs too. He made that fifty in Melbourne last week and a 30-odd yesterday, so he appears to be re-finding some form that deserted him towards the back-end of The Ashes with the bat.

He kept very soundly on some pitches that weren’t easy to keep on. They were a little bit up-and-down and two-paced, and he did a very good job. 

Pat Cummins – 10/10

I’m giving a 10 to Patty, no doubt. He bowled superbly and every time he got the ball, you knew Pakistan were under huge pressure.

He used himself very effectively and he’s got that balance right between not under-using himself and not over-using himself either. There were times where Australia needed a wicket at times both in Melbourne and Sydney, and he knew that he was the man for the job and brought himself on at the right times.

It was an excellent series in the field as skipper, but also with the ball – 19 wickets at 12 is a terrific series. 

Mitchell Starc – 7/10

He picked up some early wickets, which he is very good at … that success rate with the very first over gets Australia going.

He’s very dangerous with the new ball, but probably didn’t bowl as well with the older ball as I’ve seen him bowl in the past. He had his moments and got a four-fa in Melbourne. A good solid series.

Josh Hazlewood – 8/10

I thought he looked dangerous all series and in my opinion, he was the unluckiest bowler from both sides. The amount of times that he went past the bat seemed to be more than most, and he was rewarded yesterday when he picked up those four wickets – they finally edged a few!

People say he does bowl a little bit short at times, but he got his lengths pretty well right in this series and just had one of those series where he could have taken a lot more wickets. 

Nathan Lyon – 7.5/10

He was very sound. Watching him in Perth a few weeks ago, I think he was still nursing that calf a little bit, you could see him in the field – but he got better as the series went on.

He started to get that consistent line outside off-stump … it was a good solid series for him.

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