Ratings - June 2006
Russell Degnan

England v Sri Lanka
Opening Ratings: Eng: 1213.19 Sri: 1046.93
1st Test: Drawn
2nd Test: England by 6 wickets
3rd Test: Sri Lanka by 134 runs
Closing Ratings: Eng: 1180.93 Sri: 1086.68

Colour me surprised. It wasn't that I was wrong about Sri Lanka. They are a one-man bowling attack (Muralithatan came to the party though), and if anything their batting was weaker than expected (although Jayawardene and Sangakarra were both excellent if patchy). It is that England are so erratic right now you can't predict how they will play from session to session, let alone over a series. Partly this is the personnel, Pietersen and Flintoff are dominant on their day but inconsistent. And the rocks have been consistent but without getting a big score between them, Strauss especially, but with Vaughan injured, Gerant Jones struggling and Giles gone, it is an exposed tail.

The bowling is still very good, Monty Panesar is a real find, given the tight lines he bowls, as well as wickets, but they miss Harmison and Simon Jones for impact, which is why Sri Lanka, despite not playing particularly well, were able to grind out a draw, and then a win to tie the series. Both team's ratings are much the same as they were a year ago really, but England were supposedly improving, so questions must be asked. Notably, is having a Flintoff playing nearer his career average than superman, and Gerant Jones as 6 and 7 wise?

Forthcoming Series:

West Indies (812.76) v India (1142.25) - 4 Tests.

Here is a rarity. India playing a decent length series. The West Indies can surprise at home, and there is the chance Lara will rouse himself for one last hurrah. But, their inconsistency, and middling bowling has put them on a long slide downwards that has yet to be arrested. India are abominable away from home, and while possibly improving in that area, have tended to play worse than their talent suggests as well. The ratings don't lie though, even when they are wrong. It is unlikely the West Indies will win this series. I think they will pull a win, and traditionally, at least one test will be a dull draw on a batting highway, but India should scrape a win. Worth watching though.

Australia (1st) 1379.29
Pakistan (2nd) 1183.32
South Africa (5th) 1101.97
New Zealand (7th) 1028.9
Zimbabwe (9th) 672.64
Bangladesh (10th) 598.51

Cricket - Ratings - Test 6th June, 2006 16:04:12   [#]