Ashes 2017-18: Steven Smith's summer to Joe Root's solo act, a look at tournament's hits and misses

We look at how each player from both sides fared during the five-Test series.

Gaurav Joshi, Jan 09, 2018 14:12:47 IST

It was not quite a whitewash, but still a rout. Australia demolished England and claimed back the urn after just three Test matches.  We look at how each player from both sides fared during the five-Test series.

Australia Report Card

Australia captain Steven Smith finished the series with 687 runs. AP

Australia captain Steven Smith finished the series with 687 runs. AP

Steven Smith 9.5  

Man of the Series by a country mile.  If it wasn’t for his hundred in Brisbane, the Ashes could easily have been a lot closer. Then in Perth, he showed how to grind the opposition out of the game with a masterful double century after England had posted 400 in their first innings.  England tried every trick in the book, but simply could not stop Australian’s modern day Don Bradman.

Cameron Bancroft  3 

There is plenty of grit about Bancroft, but despite his purple patch in first-class cricket before the Ashes, the young opener’s technique was exposed at the Test level.  Bancroft showed he doesn't get flustered by the new ball, but apart from his unbeaten 70 in Brisbane, he simply did not convert those starts.

David Warner 6

Failed to have the impact many people had predicted. England’s tactics of starving his boundaries clearly worked, with Warner only scoring one hundred in the five Test matches.  It was not until the fourth Test that he was finally able to break free.  Showed signs of adapting to different conditions, but most of his impact came once the series was clinched in Perth.

Usman Khawaja  6.5

Batted quite well on the grassy surface in Adelaide, but failed to convert his starts.  Never looked completely out of touch, nor did he look at his peak like he had over the past couple of summers.  Eventually the luck turned in Sydney as he constructed a superb century to put Australia into a commanding position.

Shaun Marsh 9 

The selectors copped plenty of criticism for his selection, but he proved his critics wrong with the finest series of his enigmatic career.  His crucial fifty in Brisbane, followed by his game-defining hundred in Adelaide, added the much needed stability to the Australian middle-order.  Capped of a brilliant series with another patient century in Sydney, to finish as the second leading scorer after Smith.

Mitchell Marsh 8.5

Recalled to team after the second Test, the junior Marsh celebrated his selection with a stunning hundred on his home soil.  His partnership in the third Test allowed Australia to clinch the series after just three Test matches.  Showed great resilience in Melbourne to secure a draw and then backed it up with another fine century in Sydney.

Tim Paine 7.5

Surprise inclusion at the start of the series, Paine snaffled everything that came his way and in the process, backed up the selection ideology of picking ‘the best keeper in the country’.  His half-century in Adelaide was crucial in ensuring Australia posted a competitive total after Root had put Australia in to bat.  Apart from one blemish in Brisbane, he did not miss any opportunities.

Pat Cummins  8.5

Was a bit short of luck until his fortunes finally turned in Sydney, allowing him to be Australia’s leading wicket taker in the series.  Given the intimidation role, Cummins was superb with the old ball. Constantly, made the crucial breakthroughs in the series and made life tough for the England tail-enders with some well-direct short-pitch bowling.  Also played two crucial knocks in Brisbane and Adelaide to ensure Australia got ahead of the game.

Mitchell Starc 8.5

By the times the Ashes was regained in Perth, he was still Australia’s best bowler and the leading wicket-taker. Starc took a wicket every 44 balls and his pace was too hot to handle for all the English batsmen. On flat pitches, he still remains the most threatening bowler in the world and still Australia’s No 1 seamer.  The left-arm express missed a Test and still came within one of being the campaign’s top wicket-taker.

Josh Hazlewood  8

Took time to settle in the five-match series with relatively below par performance in Brisbane, but soared back to his peak in Adelaide and Perth.  His hostile spell to Mark Stoneman on the opening day in Perth will always be the highlight, as will his five-wicket haul in the second innings that clinched the Ashes.  Possibly the unluckiest of the Australian pace battery, but still managed to take over 20 wickets.

Nathan Lyon  8.5

There is simply no tailormade replacement in Australia for Lyon. The off-spinner strangled England with each outing and created havoc against the visiting left-handers.  His ability to apply the choke on the English was one of the reasons the Australian pace bowlers were so successful in the series. The five-wicket hauls never came but there is no doubt that he is the best off-spinner in the game.

Peter Handscomb  4

Dropped after the second Test, Handscomb found it tough going in the opening couple of matches.  To be fair, he had to bat in toughest session in Adelaide, but perhaps it was his unique technique that cost him his place in the team.

Jackson Bird 1

Failed to impress in his only outing in Melbourne, but to be fair to him, he bowled on a pitch that was so benign that it was marked poor by the ICC.

England Report Card

England skipper Joe Root failed to convert any of his four half-centuries to a three-figure score. AP

England skipper Joe Root failed to convert any of his four half-centuries to a three-figure score. AP

Joe Root  6.5

The England captain scored a fifty in four of the five Tests, but the only difference between him and his counterpart was that Australian skipper converted most of his half centuries. Root was unlucky in Perth, and played a rash shot in the first innings in Adelaide when England needed him the most.  Still England’s best batsmen by a long margin, but had to start scoring those big hundreds.

Alastair Cook  5.5

Apart from his epic 244 not out on a flat Melbourne pitch, Cook looked out of sorts on this trip.  He missed straight balls far too often and at times tried to be too aggressive.  He showed in Melbourne that he still had what it takes to survive at the top level, but given the inexperience in the England batting, he failed when it mattered most.

Mark Stoneman 5.5

Showed in the first three Test matches he has the skills and technique against the new ball. Overshadowed Cook, in the initial stages by scoring two fine half centuries, but his form and confidence dipped alarmingly after being struck in the head by Josh Hazelwood in Perth.

James Vince 5

Too flashy, too often, not the results expected of a No 3 in Test cricket. Looked in great touch in Brisbane, before running himself out on 83. Technically, looked quite comfortable against pace or spin, but has a long way to go in terms of temperament.  Vince was calculated risk at No 3 and it’s fair to say, it didn’t go in England’s favour.

Dawid Malan 7

England’s player of the Ashes, not that it means much when you lose a series 4-0. But Malan was exceptional in the middle-order for the visitors.  With three fifties and superb ton in Perth, he gave England hope in the first three Test matches, but simply did not have too many friends. Also showed he is more than capable leg-spinner.

Jonny Bairstow 6.5

Tidy behind the stumps and dogged with the bat, the England wicket-keeper showed why he must be batting in the top six at all times.  Proved himself after being promoted to No 6 in Perth with superb century and perhaps could have scored more runs earlier in the series if he was not made to bat with the tail.  Needs to be slightly wiser in his shot selection, but had a decent series.

Moeen Ali  3

He was supposed to take his game to a new level in the absence of Stokes, but sadly for Moeen, it went the wrong way. Falling to Lyon seven times, Ali looked completely out of sorts with the bat and ball.

Stuart Broad  4

Bowled reasonably well in Brisbane, but then on grassy surface in Adelaide when England needed him the most, he was a major disappointment. Broad did not bowl the right length in Australia and his line erred far too often for a bowler that is closing in on 400 Test wickets.

James Anderson 7

Still the best bowler in England by a considerable amount of margin, Anderson toiled for five Tests and was the leading wicket-taker for the side. However, sadly for him, he had no support. On pitches that didn’t suit him, he bowled incredibly well, but with no pace or swing, Australia played him quite comfortably.

Chris Woakes 5

Lacked any venom with the ball and when England needed him to bowl the tight lines, he failed to deliver.  Clearly not a type of bowler that will excel in Australia, his pace was down and apart from one exceptional spell under lights in Adelaide, he was treated like a club bowler by the Australian batsmen.

Craig Overton 5

Showed plenty of spirit by playing with a fractured ribs in the third Test, but in terms of his bowling, he is far from the finished product.  Bowled quite well at the WACA and at times in Adelaide as well, but needs to do better.

Jake Ball  2

Failed to impress anyone with his pace or his accuracy. Might be a quality bowler in England, but not in Australia.

Tom Curran 4

Handed a debut once the Ashes had been lost, Curran ran in with a purpose, but lacked the pace to trouble the Australian batsmen.  Looks like a fine limited-overs bowler, but Test cricket did not seem his cup of tea, at least for now.

Mason Crane  4

Thrown into the deep end, the leg-spinner showed why he averages 45 in first-class cricket.  There is plenty of determination, but sadly the skills and the accuracy are lacking for Test cricket.

Updated Date: Jan 09, 2018 14:12:47 IST

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