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Ashes 2021-22: Player ratings for Australia’s ruthless rout of England

ENGLAND

James Anderson His final Ashes series in Australia (surely) was bookended from the sidelines. In his three Tests, he was typically parsimonious but only at his barn-storming best at Melbourne. Blocked out that final over at Sydney. 6

Jonny Bairstow Grabbed his chance, scoring England’s one century of the tour: a gloriously brave and bombastic innings at Sydney. Batted well in the second innings as well to haul England to a draw. 7

Sam Billings The road-trip king and a breath of fresh air. Kept tidily, tiggerishly enthusiastic behind the stumps and made a jaunty 29 in the first innings at Hobart. 5

Stuart Broad Controversially wore the fluorescent bib during the first Test when David Warner scored 94, and at Melbourne. Tireless with the ball in hand and endlessly enthusiastic, if vocal at his frustration with the batting. 7

Rory Burns Posted the highest opening partnership of the tour with Zak Crawley in the final innings, but has little else to cling onto. Torpedoed with the first ball of the series. 2

Jos Buttler Nearly batted England to safety at Adelaide, and took some great catches (though dropped a few sitters). But found increasingly ludicrous ways of getting out. Injury was a sad end to his tour, and possibly his Test career. 4

Zak Crawley Looks a million dollars on song and has gumption. The weaknesses outside off stump remain but a long-term spot is his if he can just learn to be more circumspect. 5

Haseeb Hameed Ran his heart out in the field but, by the end, seemed to have largely forgotten how to score runs. Back to Trent Bridge to lick his wounds and (hopefully) come again. 2

Scott Boland is congratulated by his teammates after dismissing Haseeb Hameed in the fourth Test
Scott Boland is congratulated by his teammates after dismissing Haseeb Hameed in the fourth Test. Photograph: Izhar Khan/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Jack Leach Seems destined to be chronically mishandled by this England setup. Picked for the wrong game and left out for the right one. Grew in confidence at Sydney and left stranded on a hat-trick. 4

Dawid Malan Gave England’s middle-order some stability in two hundred-plus partnerships with Root early on in the series. Fell away towards the end and sadly missed the birth of his first child, born six weeks early. 5

Ollie Pope A tour to forget for England’s most promising young batsman™. Needs to find the right coach and psychologist to help him translate that immense talent into Test runs. Kept brightly when called for. 2

Ollie Robinson An undoubted asset for England, and has the knack of taking wickets, but must get fit quick so he can run in with as much enthusiasm for his third spell as for his first. 5

Joe Root Looked a broken man by the end. Still England’s highest scorer in the series, though that Australian century remains elusive. Must bear some responsibility for tactical errors but hampered throughout by a Spillikins top order. 6

Ben Stokes Came to the tour with no cricket in his back catalogue, and it showed. As stoical as ever but not incisive with the ball. Batted beautifully in Sydney on the counter attack. 4

Chris Woakes Didn’t manage to shake his reputation as a bowler most suited to home conditions. Considerably more successful with the bat than most of the top order and not afraid to have a biff. 4

Mark Wood Justly rewarded at last with 6-37 in Australia’s final innings of the series. Whole-hearted, fiery and England’s leading wicket-taker. His snorter to Usman Khawaja was England’s ball of the Ashes. 8

England’s man of the series: Mark Wood

AUSTRALIA

Scott Boland Grabbed his chance, doing for Australia what he has been doing for Victoria: hurtling in, hitting the deck, darting it around. England were hypnotised at Melbourne and Boland finished with 18 wickets at 9.55. 10

Alex Carey Won a last-minute call-up after Tim Paine withdrew. Started well but his form dipped towards the end, both with bat and gloves. That final innings at Hobart probably bought him another series. 5

Pat Cummins A series sprinkled with stardust after his sudden elevation. He was the series’ leading wicket-taker and one end of an electric spell of fast bowling that crazy Melbourne evening. 10

Cameron Green The baggy green Botticelli, Green burned with the brightness of the future. Ridiculously talented with both bat and ball and swallow-like at gully. Carefully under-bowled by Cummins. 9

Marcus Harris Has an odd bunny-hop trigger-movement but top scored at Melbourne in a low-scoring thriller. Unlucky to be dropped when he’d still make a composite team of the two sides. 5

Josh Hazlewood Bowled nicely in his one Test before injury ruled him out. England might have thought his absence would make their life easier – they were wrong. 7

Travis Head The series’ leading run-scorer, he sparkled from his 152 in the first Test to the counter-attacking England heart-breaker in the last, sailing through enforced Covid isolation en route. 9

Usman Khawaja Another Australian to grab his chance with both hands, a fairytale comeback with two blistering centuries at Sydney full of why-the-hell-not flourishes. Looked delighted to be back at the grand age of 35. 9

Usman Khawaja makes a run during the fourth Test
Usman Khawaja was in imperious form for the hosts. Photograph: Kevin Manning/Action Plus/Shutterstock

Marnus Labuschagne As quirky as ever and a constant thorn in England’s side. His patient 103 at Adelaide, his first Ashes century, took him past Joe Root as the World’s No 1 batsman. Not to be trusted with DRS decisions. 7

Nathan Lyon Such was Australia’s dominance, and England’s brittleness, that he wasn’t always needed. Still picked up 16 wickets and took a humdinger of a catch to dismiss Stokes at Hobart. 8

Michael Neser Got a chance at last at Adelaide, in the absence of Cummins, and picked up a wicket with just his second ball, as Hameed chipped it to midwicket. Bustled effectively. 6

Jhye Richardson After a tough first-innings, he took a five-fer in the second during a cameo appearance at Adelaide. His ability to skid the ball through caused England plenty of headaches. 7

Steve Smith A quiet series but an important one in his rehabilitation, leading Australia to victory at Adelaide while Cummins was in quarantine. His leg-break to Leach nearly took Australia over the line at Sydney. 6

Mitchell Starc Started the series by crushing England’s hopes in a single ball. Continued in the same vein, ever-threatening, and bowled with searing menace that Melbourne evening. Cricviz’s most threatening opening spell since records started. 9

David Warner Crushed English hopes with 94 at Brisbane but his form dribbled away, finishing with a pair at Hobart. By then, though, the Ashes were a long time won. 7

Australia’s man of the series: Pat Cummins

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