England v Australia - 5th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Four
England v Australia - 5th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Four

Ashes ratings: Best since Bradman, worst in history

Australia will return home with the Ashes in their possession - but there'll be some regrets about not having secured a first series victory on England soil since 2001.

Despite a historic performance from Steve Smith, and the tireless efforts of a bowling attack led by Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, England were able to draw the series with victory at The Oval.

 

We run the rule over the Australian performances throughout the series.

 

 

DAVID WARNER - 1

95 runs @ 9.5. High score: 61

Will leave England with major question marks hanging over his future after comfortably the worst series of his career.

Never before has an opener played all five Tests and scored so few. Sure to have nightmares about Stuart Broad after the veteran England quick dismissed him an incredible seven times in five Tests.

Had just one innings of note, a dogged 61 at Headingley - a match where he also took six catches. But was a total non-factor in the other four Tests. Luckily, still has some credit in the bank ahead of Australian summer.

David Warner’s Ashes form started badly, slumped in the middle and tailed off at the back end.
David Warner’s Ashes form started badly, slumped in the middle and tailed off at the back end.

 

MARCUS HARRIS - 1

58 runs @ 9.66. HS: 19

Harris is not the first player to struggle in his first overseas Ashes tour, but has been badly exposed at the top level.

After a decent showing in the home summer against India, the 27-year-old has crashed back to earth, failing to reach 20 in his six innings and averaging a mere 0.16 more than Warner's historically poor series. Sloppy in the field, Harris made two key errors - a dropped catch and botched runout - in Australia's heartbreaking loss at Headingley. Needs to return to the Shield to prove he deserves another crack.

 

MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE - 8.5

353 runs @ 50.42. HS: 80

The find of the Ashes from an Australian perspective and one of only a handful to have enhanced his reputation.

Subbed in at Lord's for a concussed Steve Smith, Labuschagne filed the superstar's boots as best as anyone could - hitting four consecutive half-centuries to finish comfortably Australia's second highest runscorer.

Energetic in the field and also claimed the crucial back-breaking wicket in the Ashes-retaining victory at Old Trafford. Looks to have secured his place in Australia's batting line-up for the long-term.

 

STEVE SMITH - 10

774 runs @ 110.6. HS: 211

Could not have done more. Smashed the record books all series as he chased history and Bradman.

His rampant run scoring put everyone else to shame, as evidenced by this staggering statistic: Smith hit more boundaries (92 fours, five sixes) than teammate David Warner had runs.

It is not even remotely hyperbolic to suggest that had he not been in Australia's line-up, there's zero chance the Ashes would be coming back down under. Also took a series-high 12 catches, including an absolute gem - diving full stretch to his right - at the Oval. The best since Bradman. There's no longer any doubt.

 

TRAVIS HEAD - 4

191 runs @ 27.28. HS: 51

Started the series as Australia's vice-captain, and ended it on the sideline after a poor tour that faded quickly after a solid showing at Edgbaston where his second-innings half-century helped dig Australia out of trouble and set up a crucial victory.

Perhaps unlucky to be the fall guy for Australia's shambolic openers, but scores of 0, 25, 19 and 12 from his final two Tests were not enough to save him from the axe. Despite all this, finished fourth in the run scoring for Australia - though his average was shaded by Peter Siddle. That says more about his teammates than his own performance however.

 

Two centuries in the series placed Matthew Wade near the top of the list of productive batsmen.
Two centuries in the series placed Matthew Wade near the top of the list of productive batsmen.

 

MATTHEW WADE - 7

337 runs @ 33.70. HS: 117

Wade bookended his series with centuries, but in between there was far more famine than feast.

Brought back from the Test wilderness, Wade smashed a fine century at Edgbaston, chipped in with vital runs to partner Smith at Old Trafford and then notched another gutsy ton at the Oval, batting valiantly with England circling at the Oval.

But had precious little outside of that. Recalled as a specialist batsman, Wade looked the most assured of the left-handers and brought back the chirp in the field, much to the irritation of the umpires. Looks to have shored up a middle order spot for the home summer.

 

TIM PAINE - 6.5

180 runs @ 20. HS: 58

20 catches

By retaining the Ashes on England soil, Paine did what Ricky Ponting, Greg Chappell and Michael Clarke couldn't as Australian captain - and for that he deserves considerable praise.

Paine's captaincy, and bowling changes especially, were top-drawer during the tense victory in Manchester. However his series was far from perfect though. Paine's tactics in the Headingley meltdown, his decision to bowl first at the Oval and his poor use of DRS will be heavily dissected in the fallout of this series. Outside of valuable contributions at Old Trafford, Paine struggled mightily with the bat and there was also cracks in his normally flawless keeping. Still, he returns with the urn.

It was far from a perfect series for Tim Paine but he completed the primary mission of the trip.
It was far from a perfect series for Tim Paine but he completed the primary mission of the trip.

 

PAT CUMMINS - 9.5

71 runs @ 10.14

29 wickets @ 19.62. Best bowling: 4-32

If not for Steve Smith, Cummins was Australia's player of the series.

Played the dual role of Australia's strike weapon and workhorse, sending down 1266 deliveries - more than any other seamer - for a series-high 29 wickets. It hardly tells the full story. Cummins was consistently brilliant, took wickets in every innings and his sustained pressure led to wickets for his bowling partners throughout the series. Should now be wrapped in cotton wool until the home summer.

 

JOSH HAZLEWOOD - 8.5

9 runs @ 9

20 wickets @ 21.85. BB: 5-30

Overlooked for the first Test, and returned with a vengeance at Lord's to reclaim his spot among Australia's first choice bowling attack.

Finished level with Nathan Lyon as Australia's second most prolific wicket-taker and was unplayable in the first innings at Headingley, where he inspired England's 67 all out. After another lion-hearted performance, it felt just that he claimed the final wicket at Old Trafford.

Josh Hazlewood consistently proved himself to be one of the top bowlers in the world today.
Josh Hazlewood consistently proved himself to be one of the top bowlers in the world today.

 

NATHAN LYON - 6

80 runs @ 16

20 wickets @ 33.40. BB: 6-49

A frustrating series of extreme highs and lows. After bowling Australia to victory with an inspired display in the opening Test, when he took 6-49 on a wearing day five wicket, Lyon went past Dennis Lillee to become the third most prolific wicket-taker in Australian history. Things went south quickly at Headingley though, where he struggled with the ball - taking 2-114 in the second innings - and infamously fumbled what would've been the match-winning runout with England two runs from victory.

Deserved instant redemption by trapping Ben Stokes LBW the following delivery, but was denied by the umpire - and Australia's lack of available reviews. Suffered a split callus on his spinning finger which hampered his ability in the final two Tests, but still finished with 20 wickets.

 

Nathan Lyon toiled gamely without having quite the impact his talent usually dictates.
Nathan Lyon toiled gamely without having quite the impact his talent usually dictates.

 

PETER SIDDLE - 6

84 runs @ 28

5 wickets @ 33.40

Had been a huge part of Australia's plans for this series, with his knowledge of local conditions and agreeable style, and that faith seemed well placed after Siddle bowled superbly in Australia's Edgbaston triumph, where his economy and control were key to suffocating England's batsmen.

Bowled without luck in the drawn Test at Lord's and lost his place in the team for the third Test in Leeds, with James Pattinson recalled and Hazlewood holding his spot. Controversially brought back for the Oval ahead of Pattinson and Mitchell Starc, Siddle was below his best.

 

JAMES PATTINSON - 6

69 runs @ 23. HS: 47no

Five wickets @ 33.40. BB: 2-9

Brought with him a great deal of excitement as he arrived on English shores fully fit after several injury-plagued years. Was Australia's most economical paceman at Headingley, and claimed two wickets in the first-innings rout of England.

But he snarling paceman didn't quite deliver on the lofty expectations, finishing with just five wickets as he was overlooked for the fourth and fifth Tests. At worst, it's exciting to have the big Victorian back fit and firing.

 

MITCHELL STARC - 6

57 runs @ 57. HS: 54no

Four wickets @ 31.50. BB: 3-80

To many in Australia, Starc was a shock omission for the first three Tests. The former pace leader was one of history's most experienced drinks carriers before being unleashed at Manchester.

There he provided everything you expect: he was expensive and loose, but proved a constant wicket-taking threat. His second-innings dismissal of Jonny Bairstow was a key breakthrough in a tense final day. Starc also smacked a blistering half-century. Australia may regret not picking him at the Oval.

 

MITCHELL MARSH - 6.5

41 runs @ 20.50. HS: 24

Seven wickets @ 12.28. BB: 5-46

Hard to be judged on just one Test, but certainly didn't waste his chance after being thrown into the action at the Oval.

The maligned all-rounder claimed a maiden five-wicket haul and backed it up with two more scalps in the second innings. Would've liked a bigger contribution with the bat, but has put his hand up for another stint in the Test team.

 

CAMERON BANCROFT - 2

44 runs @ 11. HS: 16

Given the first shot at being David Warner's opening partner, ahead of Marcus Harris, Bancroft fluffed his lines.

Finished with the third worst average of Australia's specialist batsmen - though the two he bettered were Warner and Harris. Bancroft deserves praise for putting a price on his wicket, and faced 41 more deliveries than Harris despite played two fewer innings, but his technique was badly exposed and runs simply seemed too hard to come by. His sensational catch to remove Rory Burns at Edgbaston validated Steve Waugh's praise that he was the best bat of all time.

 

USMAN KHAWAJA - 4

122 runs @ 20.33. HS: 40

An underwhelming series for one of Australia's most experienced players, with much expected of the No.3.

Started promisingly with scores of 13, 40 and 36 in his first three innings - and looked better than those numbers suggested. But the good starts dried up and Khawaja paid the price for Australia's shaky batting at Leeds and lost his spot for the final two Tests, with Marnus Labuschagne taking over at first drop. Faces an interesting battle to regain his place ahead of the Australian summer, where he typically thrives.

News Corp Australia


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