Australia retained the Ashes on English soil for the first time since 2001 after the series ended in a 2-2 draw. The heroics of Steve Smith and Pat Cummins were instrumental in securing the urn for the Aussies, but a host of others failed to live up to the stage and will have their spots in the side under heavy scrutiny come the Australian summer.
Here are our ratings of Australian players in a drought-breaking series in England.
David Warner – 1
95 runs at 9.5. High score of 61.
In his return series from a year-long ban over ‘sandpaper gate’, Warner had a series to forget as he set a new unwanted record for the most single figure scores by an opener in a Test series. Warner was knocked over before reaching 10 runs on eight occasions, which included being dismissed for a hat-trick of ducks which came immediately after his series-high score of 61 at Headingley. Warner was also dismissed by Stuart Broad on seven occasions, which included both his first and last dismissals of the series. His series total of 95 runs was surpassed by the number of boundaries Steve Smith hit (97), summing up his series.
Marcus Harris – 1
58 runs at 9.66. High score of 19
Harris was dropped for the first two tests, and he failed to prove that was a wrong choice from the selectors as he struggled in his first Ashes overseas tour. His technique was exposed by the English quicks as he failed to reach a score over 20 due to his struggles with the moving ball. Harris had a decent debut series against India back in the home summer, but his batting woes were compounded by his fielding efforts, particularly at Headingley where he botched a runout and dropped a crucial catch in the heartbreaking loss.
Cameron Bancroft – 2.5
44 runs @ 11. HS: 16
After serving a year-long ban, Bancroft forced his way back into the Test side after he top-scored with 93 in an intra-squad match played on a difficult wicket. But as his four innings would go on to show, those runs mattered little to the actual series, as his technique was again exposed and was subsequently dropped after two matches. He finished with the third worst average of Australia specialist batsman, which ironically was higher than Warner and Harris, and deserves praise for putting a price on his wicket as he faced 41 more deliveries than Harris despite playing two less innings. His series highlight came in the field however, validating Steve Waugh’s praise that he was the best bat pad of all time with his stunning catch to remove Rory Burns at Edgbaston.
Usman Khawaja – 3.5
122 runs @ 20.33. HS: 40
Much was expected of the No.3 bat, but he failed to live up to it in what was an underwhelming series. Khawaja looked good early in the series and got off to starts, which included his top-score of 40 runs. But it was his inability to kick-on from these starts which ultimately cost him his spot in the side, as his shaky batting at Leeds saw him lose his spot for the final two tests with Marnus Labuschagne replacing him at first drop. When it comes to the home summer, his record is outstanding so it will be interesting to see if he can win back his spot in the side.
Marnus Labuschagne – 9
353 runs at 50.42. High score of 80
Came into the series during the second test as the first ever concussion substitute, Labuschagne proved to be the find of the series as he was Australia’s second-best performer with the bat. Despite not hitting any centuries, Labushagne started his campaign with five innings of scores above 50 runs, all-but securing his spot in the XI for the foreseeable future and proved to be the perfect partner to Steve Smith’s dominance. He also performed with the ball, taking the penultimate wicket of Jack Leach in the thrilling final day win at Old Trafford which saw the Aussies retain the urn.
Steve Smith – 10
774 runs at 110.57. Three centuries. High score of 211.
The difference. Steve Smith marked his return to international cricket with a pair of centuries in the first test at Birmingham, and despite missing out on a test and a half through concussion after being hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer, Smith hit 211 in the next innings to further cement his legacy as one of Australia’s greatest ever batsman. Without Smith, the urn would almost certainly not be returning to Australian shores, and despite all of the booing and taunts during his first few innings, Smith eventually won over the English crowds as he applauded off his final innings where he made a series low 23 runs. His comparison to Sir Donald Bradman only heightened after his incredible series, and he regained the mantle as the number one Test batsman in the world in the process. A truly incredible series, and a series-winning one too.
Travis Head – 4.5
191 runs at 27.28. High score of 51.
Was Australia’s vice-captain at the start of the series, but ended up on the sidelines after a disappointing series with the bat. He put together a solid outing at Edgbaston, where his second-innings half century helped Australia out of trouble and set up a crucial victory, but he was unable to produce much else. He failed to pass 25 in his final two Tests and was axed for the final test. Despite this however, he finished fourth in the run scoring for Australia, arguably saying more about his teammates than his own performance.
Matthew Wade – 7
337 runs @ 33.70. HS: 117
Wade started and ended his series with centuries, but in between he failed to reach 20 in six of his innings. Had it not been for his final innings century at The Oval, Wade’s series was disappointing after starting it on such positive terms. His century in the first test proved critical in that win, and he did hit a vital 34 at Old Trafford to end England’s hopes of a comeback. He avoided the axe in the final test as a result of that innings and justified that choice with an innings-high 117. Wade was also the only Australian other than Smith to reach triple figures as he was Australia’s third-highest run-scorer for the series.
Mitchell Marsh – 6
41 runs at 20.50, seven wickets at 12.28
Marsh’s call-up in the 5th and final test proved to be a shock and came with a lot of criticism as usual, but Marsh silenced the critics with the ball in the first innings at The Oval as he took a maiden five-wicket haul. His ball control, swing and pace was the best we’ve seen at any point in his career, and he went on to pick up another two wickets in the second innings. His batting performances however were less impressive, as he got off to starts in both digs but failed to capitalise.
Tim Paine – 7
179 runs at 22.37, 20 catches
Paine may not have had the greatest of series with the bat, he may have dropped a couple of catches and he also may have had a lot of trouble with the DRS – but despite all of that, Paine’s legacy will forever be that he captained Australia from the darkest of times in Cape Town to retaining the urn in England for the first time since 2001. Despite the negatives, he certainly made more good decisions than bad, highlighted by bringing in Labushagne as Smith’s replacement to save the Test in Manchester.
Pat Cummins – 9.5
29 wickets at 19.62. Best figures of 4-32
Cummins was the only Australian quick to play all five tests and well and truly lived up to his current ranking as the world’s no.1 test bowler. Cummins had a series to remember, consistently among the wickets in all five tests as he took a series-high 29 wickets. He would have been Australia’s players of the series had it not been for the heroics of Steve Smith, but he played the dual role of Australia’s workhouse and strike weapon, providing whatever captain Tim Paine desired in a remarkably consistent series.
Josh Hazelwood – 8.5
20 wickets at 21.85. Best bowling of 5-30
Missed the first test due to being ‘rested’, Hazelwood was brought back into the XI in the second Test and didn’t look a step out of place. His ability to hit a consistently good length with the seam ensured the English batsman would continue their struggles, as his performances at Lords and Headingley were of most note as his new-ball spells proved to be unplayable. Tied with spinner Nathan Lyon as Australia’s second-highest run scorer and took the final wicket at Old Trafford which secured the Ashes for the Aussies.
Peter Siddle – 6
Seven wickets at 42.14. Best bowling of 2-52
Siddle was a controversial choice to start in the first Test, but his consistency and ball control were much-needed assets in his three tests through the series. Despite not bowling as quick as he once used to, Justin Langer brought Siddle into the squad to provide his bowling lineup with consistent bowling, something he provided for the most part as his selected was justified. He strayed from his consistent lines in the second and fifth Tests, but his greatest contribution arguably came with the bat as his 44 at Edgbaston ensured Smith would produce his stellar double century.
James Pattinson – 6.5
Five wickets at 33.40. best bowling of 2-9
Despite playing just the two Tests for the series, Pattinson marked his return to international cricket with aplomb. The Victorian quick may not have been as ferocious as expected, but he still proved to be as quick as ever as his mix of short and full fast bowling helped the set the tone for Australia through the series. He hit an enjoyable 47 off 48 bowls in the first Test also, still showing his he has the capability to perform with both bat and ball. He was rested for three Tests as Australia’s quicks went through a management period during the series.
Mitchell Starc – 5
Four wickets at 31.50. Best bowling of 3-80
Starc was left out of the XI for the first three Tests, but was brought into the fold as a replacement for James Pattinson in the fourth and his performance was what many expected and proved to show why he was overlooked for that first Test. Despite consistently posing as a wicket-tacking threat, Starc was loose and expensive, traits which was why Langer was reluctant to play Australia’s quickest bowler. He did take four wickets in that single fourth Test however, but he was dropped for the final Test due to his inability to bowl consistent dot balls.
Nathan Lyon – 7.5
20 wickets at 33.40. Best bowling of 6-49
Wasn’t his greatest series, but when Lyon was on top, he didn’t give his English counterparts an inch, as his six wickets at Edgbaston saw Australia home and set the tone for the rest of the series. The rest of the series proved to be frustrating for Lyon, who continued to pepper the English batsmen but not for a great deal of success, yet he still took 20 wickets which was Australia’s second most behind Cummins. He also overtook Dennis Lillee during the series to become Australia third highest wicket-taker in history – a remarkable feat for Australia’s greatest ever off spinner. Des[