England failed to regain the Ashes on home soil for the first time since 2001 after the series ended in a 2-2 draw.
The standout performances from Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad across the five tests will be something the English can look back on positively, but a number of stars failed to live up to the hype and will be unsure whether they will be on the plane to New Zealand and South Africa this summer.
Here are our ratings of English players in a drought-breaking series in England.
Rory Burns – 7.5/10
390 runs @ 39.00. High score of 133.
England look like they have found their opener to replace the recently retired Alastair Cook in Burns. Starting off the series with his maiden test century (133) at Edgbaston against the likes of Cummins and Pattinson cemented his position at the top of the order for the rest of the series.
He posted two half centuries in the last four tests though scores of 9,7 and 0 at Leeds and Manchester wouldn’t have pleased outgoing coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Joe Root. Nonetheless, his series will be determined a success and is a certainty to open against New Zealand in the first test starting late November.
Jason Roy – 1/10
110 runs @ 13.75. High score of 31.
A series to forget for the Surrey batsmen as he was dropped after the fourth test in Manchester. Australian quicks Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood toyed with Roy all series as he was bowled through the gate a number of times. He was demoted to second drop for the fourth test after a horrid first three tests as opener where he only past 10 once in six innings. A wonderful ODI batsmen though not sure he has the technique to last in England’s top six in test match cricket. Time will tell.
Joe Denly – 6.5/10
312 runs @ 31.20. High score of 94.
Found things tough going at the beginning of the series though made three fifties in the last three tests to ensure his spot on the plane to New Zealand in two months time. His 94 at The Oval was a testament to his technique against a world class bowling attack. Opened with Burns in the last two tests and performed better than he did coming in at first drop. Overall a good series though not a great one.
Joe Root – 5.5/10
325 runs @ 32.50. High score of 77.
Even though he scored more runs than Denly, Root deserves a lower score as we all know he was well under par this Ashes. This series would be a disappointment for Root on a number of levels. One, he is the first English captain to fail to regain the Ashes on home soil since 2001 and he didn’t register a century in 10 innings.
Two, people compare the big four of Root, Smith, Williamson and Kohli when they talk about the best batsmen in the world today, but you have to think Root shouldn’t be in that conversation anymore. His failure to convert fifties into hundreds is baffling for such a quality player.
He registered four half-centuries this series though couldn’t go onto make that big score his side desperately needed. Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan suggested Root to go back down to No.4 in the batting order as that is where he is most comfortable and averages more than he does at No.3. Think that’s the right idea.
Ben Stokes – 9/10
441 runs @ 55.12, 8 wickets @ 45.25.
What a player. Stokes was the second-highest run scorer behind Smith and single handedly won his side the third test with a unbeaten 135. This particular innings will go down in Ashes folklore as one of the greatest innings ever as he put on 76 runs for the 10th wicket with Jack Leach.
His ability to take it to the Australian quicks was something to behold as his fellow batsmen were struggling massively. His 115* at Lords in the second test has gone under the radar after his century in the next test, but he (like Smith) carried his team all series long. Contributed with the ball as well and was unlucky on a lot of occasions against Australia’s brittle top order. Won the ‘England player of the series’ as voted by Australian coach Justin Langer.
Jonny Bairstow – 4/10
214 runs @ 23.77. 20 catches.
England need more from Bairstow if they want to get back to the number one test team in the world. He was poor with the bat and not that much better with the gloves. His high score of 52 at Lords was his best of the series, which doesn’t say much for your No.6 batsmen. With arguably the best pure wicket-keeper in the country Ben Foakes waiting to get his chance, Bairstow needs to start producing right now. Buttler and Bairstow in the same XI doesn’t work.
Jos Buttler – 4.5/10
247 runs @ 24.70. High score of 70.
Appeared to struggle from a World Cup hangover – like a number of his teammates. Only passed 50 once and that was in the last test at The Oval. Buttler failed to pass 31 in the first three tests, which for a specialist batsmen shouldn’t be happening especially in your own backyard. His last four innings yielded 192 runs, which will most likely see him retained for the trips to New Zealand and South Africa.
Chris Woakes – 3/10
10 wickets @ 33.10, 120 runs @ 20.
By his high standards, Woakes didn’t perform as well as he should have in the series. He found himself dropped for the fourth test after an underwhelming first three tests. His best figures with the ball were 3/58 in the first test at his home ground Edgbaston though after that he struggled. His batting was the positive for Woakes as he toiled hard against the likes of Cummins, Hazlewood, Lyon and mad them earn his wicket. In England’s best XI when he’s fit.
Jofra Archer – 8/10
22 wickets @ 20.27.
Made his test debut at Lords and didn’t look back. Constantly bowling over 85mph in his third and fourth spells he was a huge threat to the Australian batsmen. He finished as the series’ third leading wicket-taker, which is even more impressive as he missed the first test. His battle with Steve Smith caught the eye of many and was a thrill to watch. You wonder how good he will be in the Ashes in Australia in two years time on the hard and fast pitches curators usually prepare down under.
Stuart Broad – 8.5/10
23 wickets @ 26.65.
Dominated Australia’s left-handers across the five tests. He dismissed David Warner seven times with relatively ease and finished as the second leading wicket-taker behind Australia’s Pat Cummins. Broad in England is a nightmare for opposition batsmen (unless your’e Steve Smith) as he has the ability to move the ball in the air and bowl the fourth stump line ball after ball until the batsmen either nick it or get bowled. Won’t be retiring anytime soon you would think after the series he had.
Jack Leach – 5/10
12 wickets @ 25.83.
He will be remembered for a long time as the other batter who was with Ben Stokes when he made that incredible hundred at Leeds. Leach’s 1* off 17 balls was gutsy and brilliant and he deserved all the praise he got from fans and media pundits. But he didn’t really do much with the ball and that’s why he is in the team – to take wickets. Coming into the side at Lords after missing out on selection in Birmingham he rarely troubled the Australian batsmen until the last innings of the series where he took 4/49, including the big wicket of Marnus Labuschagne.
Moeen Ali – 1/10
3 wickets @ 57.33, 4 runs @ 2.00.
Pretty hard to judge a player when he only played the first test of a five test series though Ali was out of sorts at Edgbaston. He looked horribly out of sorts with both ball and bat and left the England selectors no choice but to bring in Leach. Think it could be the end of of Ali’s 60 test career.
Craig Overton – 4/10
2 wickets @ 53.50.
Was a surprise selection for England in the fourth test and didn’t let anyone down with his showing. Desperately tried to salvage a draw for his side with the bat though came undone with a Hazlewood in swinger late on day five.
Sam Curran – 5/10
3 wickets @ 22.66.
Made his Ashes debut in the last test at The Oval and didn’t disappoint his teammates or country with his performance. The left-arm quick took 3/46 in the first innings and looked dangerous with his swing bowling. Not sure why he didn’t feature before the last test. One for the future and pretty handy with the bat as well.
James Anderson – N/A
0 wickets @ N/A.
Only bowled four overs in the opening test before a calf injury saw him miss the rest of the series. If he stayed fit the end result of the series could well have been different. Wouldn’t think he will be around for the next Ashes series in Australia.