The Ashes 2019: Every Player Rated

We Get Stuck Into Every Player

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Australia has retained The Ashes. 

The series was drawn 2-2 but it provided some amazing moments of theatre and history - and we've got the urn, which is all that matters. We covered every moment on the Triple M Cricket Fan Podcast, and Rudi and the Resident Pom from that are here to rate (and slate) every player who took part. 



By Rudi Edsall

David Warner - (95 runs @ 9.5, 1x50, 8 catches) — 1

Warner had literally the worst series an opener has ever put together over five Tests, getting routinely owned by Stuart Broad to the point where it was Darryl Cullinan/Shane Warne areas. 95 runs and 184 balls faced across 10 innings tells a tale — he never once made it to the first change bowler. Gets an extra point for the six catches he took in Headingley.

He’ll mercilessly destroy the Pakistani attack down here this summer and all will be forgiven.

Marcus Harris - (58 runs @ 9.66) — 0

No score above 19, no defensive framework to speak of, dropped Ben Stokes at Headingley. His off stump is cartwheeling away from the Oval, headed up north towards Birmingham and on to Scotland.

Will not mercilessly destroy the Pakistani attack down here this summer, and will be pushing the proverbial uphill to wear the baggy green again.

Cameron Bancroft - (44 runs @ 11) — 2

Comfortably Australia’s best performed opener in the sense that he at least averaged double figures and looked like he had a strategy to not get bowled in the first five overs. Plus he can catch.



Marnus Labuschagne - (353 runs @ 50.42, 4x50s) — 7.5

A fresh faced young bloke initially coming into the side to bowl a bit of leg spin and give the lads a laugh then somehow turning into a world class bat and being spoken about as a future captain… now where have we heard this before? Marnus came in on a hiding to nothing as the concussion replacement for Steve Smith and managed to show some real class on his way to four consecutive 50s including a knock that nearly won us the urn at Headingley. Christened 'The Klerksdorp Kumble' after his ripping leggy took out Jack Leach on a nervy fifth day at Old Trafford.

Steve Smith - (774 runs @ 110.57, 3x100s, 3x50s, 12 catches) — 10

Hard to imagine a more perfect series. Made runs every single time it mattered, batted selflessly, led from the front, retained us the Ashes through sheer force of will. The man is a national treasure who’s walking a path only Bradman has trodden. He’s so good their only option to try and get him was to literally try and kill him using a so-called secret weapon who got him out precisely zero times. Start smelting the bronze for the statue now, and make it in the lightsaber leave stance please.

Travis Head - (191 runs @ 27.28, 1x50) — 4

Started well with a nice 35 and 50, but went downhill from there to the point he was dropped for Mitch Marsh as another casualty of the middle order malaise for the Aussies. Has a habit of getting in and then losing concentration as he’s getting on top, which you simply can’t do against the elite English quicks. Also bowled three overs of pretty innocuous spin.

Matthew Wade - (337 runs @ 33.70, 2x100s) — 7

Came in with some blistering form behind him and cashed in in the first Test against a Jimmy Anderson-less England attack, then went on a lean run before making some stress free runs on the last day of the series. In between times he dished out some of the worst chat imaginable which is tolerable — even funny — when we're winning stuff but unbearable when we lose.

Mitch Marsh - (41 runs @ 20.5, 7 wickets @ 12.28) — 6

Came in to much anger, but justified his selection with the ball in a display of swing bowling that Damien Fleming could only have dreamed of. Unfortunately was his normal self with the bat.

Tim Paine — (180 runs @ 20, 20 catches, 1 successful DRS review) — 4

Struggled with the bat, passable with the gloves, awful with the DRS reviews and only had one good Test as captain. Several times he made baffling costly decisions, not least of which the decision to bowl in the fifth Test, and blew a chance to retain the Ashes earlier with some bizarre calls at Headingley.

And yet, he’s an Ashes winning skipper, and thus a legend.

Pat Cummins - (71 runs @ 10.14, 29 wickets @ 19.62) — 9

The best bowler in the world right now, and it’s not even close. Pat was brilliant in all conditions and scenarios (except against a once-in-a-generation onslaught at Headingley), and was thrown the ball every time the Aussies needed a wicket — and nearly always delivered. It’s going to be a fun six or seven years watching him dominate batsmen.

Mitch Starc - (57 runs without going out, 4 wickets @ 31.5) — 6

Only trusted for one Test, but what an important one. Made some junk time runs with the stick, wasted a few new balls and also bowled one of the most important spells of the series. It was a quintessentially Mitch Starc performance.

Peter Siddle - (84 runs @ 28, 7 wickets @ 42.14) — 5

An inspired selection for Edgbaston, probably one of the least inspired selections of all time for The Oval. Sids has a giant heart — and averaged more with the stick than 11(!) dedicated batsmen — but he has fewer tricks than the other bowlers and if he’s gotten on top of he’s not much value. Seems unlikely he’ll be adding to his 67 caps.

Josh Hazlewood - (9 runs @ 9, 20 wickets @ 21.85) — 8

Part of an brilliant 1-2 punch with Cummins, Hazlewood learnt from his wayward 2015 tour of the UK and used his length intelligently. As reliable as Siddle but with more strings to his bow, he, Cummins and Lyon are going to take many, many wickets for Australia over the next half a decade or so.

Nathan Lyon - (80 runs @ 16, 20 wickets @ 33.40) — 6.5

Looked like tearing the series apart after a match winning nine-wicket display at Edgbaston then struggled from then on. Nadir was failing to protect a 360 run lead at Headingley including an awful stuff up over a run out that would have won the Test. Hard to imagine he would struggle so much and we would still come out on top, but he’ll be better for it.




by Matt Bellotti

Rory Burns - (390 runs @ 39.00, 1x100 2x50s) – 7.5

Has proved me – and most people – satisfyingly wrong. Technique looked nowhere near test level at the start of the series but worked tirelessly to improve it and by Test Five he looks just about England’s most organised, reliable and sensible batsman. Even if his stance does look like he’s fallen asleep uncomfortably on a long-haul flight.

Joe Denly - (312 runs @ 31.20, 3x50s) - 5

Top-scored in the innings three times in the series, two of which were in his new position as opener. It may also be his old position now, as surely England need a more natural player in the role. Denners didn’t do too much wrong in a series where lots of others did, but unless he shows Burns-like improvement, it would be a sad indictment for the England team if he is still here for years to come. 

Jason Roy - (110 runs @ 13.75) - 2

Exposed brutally. If Roy ever wants to appear in test cricket again, it won’t be enough for him to score a ton of county or ODI runs. He will need a full remodel of his technique. England gave him one test too many as opener. And one test too many before he was dropped. Other options like Pope or Northeast will be tried over the forthcoming tours – surely they can’t be any worse.

Joe Root - (325 runs @ 32.50; 3 wickets @ 41, 4x50s) - 5

Needs a break. Didn’t get one the whole series, which (being generous) may explain why he under-performed. Never able to rest after long sessions chasing the ball off Steve Smith’s bat immediately followed by batting after an early wicket, off the back of a big World Cup. All that puts a lot of pressure on an inexperienced captain. Begs the question ‘Why have a captain with no captaincy experience?’ as well as ‘Who the hell else is there?’ Even so, not getting a single hundred is disappointing, for him as much as anyone. While getting three ducks is even moreso no matter who you are. For a captain it's humiliating. 

Ben Stokes - (441 runs @ 55.12; 8 wkts @ 45.25, 2x100s 2x50s) – 8.5

Headingley was a performance that few, if any, will ever top. One for the ages. The rest of the series was solid and being top run-scorer and 5th highest wicket-taker is a fine effort. Just needed better support with bat and ball. Stokes proved himself a good vice-captain too (albeit harsh to take the role back off Buttler) who was better than either captain at knowing when to review.

Jonny Bairstow (214 runs @ 23.77; 1x50, 20 catches; 2 Stumpings) – 4

Below average. Since being given the gloves at the start of the year, Bairstow averages 18 with the bat. With Ben Foakes waiting in the wings – a far more accomplished keeper who averages 41.5 over five test matches and has over 5,000 runs at 38.4 in first class cricket – it's time for Bairstow to have a spell. The Yorkshireman is not incapable and can work his way back in with a stack of runs, but that weakness to the straight ball has no place at this level. Arguably his biggest contribution this series was giving Matthew Wade the nickname “The Shit-Stirrer”, which prompted Wade to smash a fine hundred that was the highest score of the final match. Thanks Jonny.

Jos Buttler (247 runs @ 24.70, 1x50) - 4

England would have been banking on 350-400 runs from Buttler and he under-delivered. But did grow in confidence and in runs scored as the series went on, to show he is the right man for the lower middle order and probably just about wins The Battle Of The Blokes Who Bat At 6.  

Chris Woakes (120 runs @ 20; 10 wickets @ 33.10) - 4

We expected so much of Woakes. His record was top class, the pitches and conditions suited him. He just had to get his length (usually his strength in England) right… and he bollocksed it. Like several others in this list he under-performed, but his failure to reach expected heights cost England more than most. Hence the indignity of being dropped for Craig Overton. Ouch.

Craig Overton (26 runs @ 13; 2 wickets @ 53.50) - 3

Still not sure he actually really played in this series. Did we all just dream there was this weird Rugby Union front rower who rocked up and slung down a few overs of back-of-a-length filth at Old Trafford before taking his broken nose and crooked smile back to the County Championship..?

Sam Curran (32 runs @ 16; 3 wickets @ 22.66) - 6

I couldn’t believe he didn’t play the first test. Then he *had* to play the second. When he was left out of the Third Test I was ropable. THEN, having worked out that Woakes needed to be dropped, leaving a perfect Sam Curran-sized hole in the line-up, they went and picked Craig Overton. Damned idiots. Curran, of bloody course, showed at The Oval what we were missing when he got Steve Smith looking all at sea to him in the first innings and having both Smudger and Labuschagne dropped in the slips off genuine edges. Curran plays the aggressive, talented, positive cricket this team were missing. Textbook England that we picked him only after The Ashes were already gone.

Moeen Ali (4 runs @ 2; 3 wickets @ 57.33) - 1

Gets two extra points for having such a lovely beard.

Jofra Archer (48 runs @ 6.85; 22 wickets @ 20.27) – 8.5

Charged in with aggression, purpose and got results on all-bar-one occasion. Above being a brilliant cricketer, he is a player that excites and inspires. A generation of young people who may never have played the game will see a kindred spirit and a relatable figure in Big Jof. He speaks differently: the way urban, British youths speak, as opposed to the way the rest of his University-educated teammates do. He tweets. He’s got a fucking cool neck chain and hair. Even in the middle of Test Matches, he sits up all night playing Call Of Duty and Fortnite. Our (at times depressingly) old, sad, middle class sport needs Jofra Archer. And he should be celebrated at every single turn and every single tumble of opposition wickets. Despite what pissed-up, POS touring fans shouted, he not only has a British passport but an English dad, so maybe step away from the “truther” stuff, lads. It’s not a great look.

Stuart Broad (61 runs @ 12.20; 23 wickets @ 26.65) - 8

Highly successful with the new ball, which after all is his job. Worked hard throughout the series to push his length up, which got results. As his pace has come down (especially in later spells), he will need this skill if his career is to extend much further. Now England’s number eleven, which may seem weird for a bloke with a Test 150 and 3,000 runs, but is fully justified. Given he surely can’t run in for a full series on flat Australian decks in 18 months, probably has one more year in the side to help bring through the next generation of pace bowlers.  

Jack Leach (54 runs @ 13.5; 12 wickets @ 25.83) - 6

Good but not great effort from a good but not great spinner. Outbowled Nathan Lyon in all four tests where they went head-to-head, which possibly says the Australian batsmen could have worked harder to get on top of him the way England did the “GOAT”. But did a reasonable job and is clearly the right man for the containing role and, as he showed at The Oval, also able to take wickets in the last innings. The Ashley Giles for the Ed Sheeran Generation.

James Anderson (7 runs @ 7; 0 wickets) – N/A

Sad reacts only.


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17 September 2019

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