January 17, 2018, 11:53

The Ashes 2017-18: England and Australia player ratings | Ali Martin and Adam Collins

The Ashes 2017-18: England and Australia player ratings | Ali Martin and Adam Collins

Dawid Malan and Jimmy Anderson were the only tourists to impress while Steve Smith completed a Bradman-esque series and Australia’s pace attack shone

ENGLAND

Alastair Cook 5/10

Eighty-three grim runs from the first three Tests from the former captain, when the series was live and the pitches were at their fastest, was followed by an unbeaten 244 on a slower wicket in Melbourne that – while it was an impressive feat that broke records – also left a sense of what if.

Mark Stoneman 4

Showed serious courage under pressure in Perth for his second of his two half-centuries in the series but lacked a big score and ended on a low in Sydney. Propensity to keep hands up to the short ball a slight concern but it will never get tougher than Australia.

James Vince 4

Two half-centuries were the highlights but the edge of his flashing blade was exploited so often that expectations were essentially met by an average 26.9 at the end of the series. It could have been so different had he not run himself out on 83 in Brisbane.

Joe Root 6

Failed to hit the heights expected with the bat and endured a gruelling time in the field leading a limited attack, while off the field there were distractions aplenty. Illness on the final day left the him six runs short of being his side’s top‑scorer but, frustratingly, there was no century.

Dawid Malan 7.5

Contributions in Brisbane (56 in the first innings) and Adelaide (stoic work under lights on the fourth evening) augured well and then he nailed down his spot in Perth, with a maiden Test century and 194 runs across the two innings. A bright spark on a poor tour for the batsmen.

Moeen Ali 2

Injury and a loss of confidence saw the all‑rounder’s spin bowling fall off a cliff – five wickets at 115 apiece was a far cry from his summer – while his batting went from four unconverted starts to a miserable 0 and 11 in Perth, a frenzied cameo in Melbourne and little to speak of in Sydney.

Jonny Bairstow 6

Targeted by Australia in the field with verbals at Brisbane following a bizarre head-butt incident and failed to make an impact at No7. A promotion by one spot in Perth resulted in a first‑innings 119 but an average of 38 was slightly disappointing. Kept superbly throughout, it must be said.

Chris Woakes 5

Ever-willing for his captain despite finding conditions and the older Kookaburra tough going. A four-wicket haul and a battling 36 in England’s first innings made for a solid contribution in Adelaide but averages of 49 with the ball and 16 with the bat highlight his challenge abroad.

Craig Overton 5

Demonstrated an appetite for the contest in Adelaide and Perth before a rib injury ended his contribution early. Steve Smith as a maiden Test wicket will live long in the memory, while his unbeaten 41 in his first dig debut underlined his fight. Raw, admittedly, but showed promise.

Tom Curran 4

Handed his chance when Overton broke down but his right-arm medium-fast was just more of the same for Australia’s batsmen by this stage. Overcame seeing his maiden Test wicket of David Warner being chalked off for a no-ball by making it Steve Smith instead but little impact overall.

Stuart Broad 5

Flickered only fleetingly and found the Australian surfaces unforgiving, not least in Perth when he returned the worst figures of his career to date with none for 142. Retains the desire to play on to the 2019 Ashes but, for all his stellar feats to date, is entering a phase where it may not be his call.

Jimmy Anderson 8

Indefatigable series from England’s 35-year-old attack leader. Despite getting little assistance from conditions bar Adelaide – when he admittedly squandered them before his maiden five-wicket haul in Australia – Anderson gave little away and picked up 17 wickets at 27.

Jake Ball 2

Claimed the wicket of David Warner in Brisbane but faded as the Test progressed, both with the ball in hand and as a tail‑end batsman unable to cope with the short‑ball bombardment. Dropped for Craig Overton and tumbled down the pecking order thereafter.

Mason Crane 4

Throwing a 20-year-old leg‑spinner into an Ashes Test was essentially hoping for a fairytale and, while the figures one for 193 were brutal, the skills and temperament on show did impress. Crowd grew weary of his aborted run‑ups; needs work on that front line.

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AUSTRALIA

David Warner 8

Finished England off in Brisbane, but it was on Boxing Day when the vice-captain hit his best with a blistering ton. Should have made it two in the Test, falling 14 short of that in an innings that deserved a second salute. 56 in Sydney made 441 for the campaign. Job done.

Cameron Bancroft 3

Won over fans on debut in Brisbane for an unbeaten 82 in a forceful 10-wicket win. But it was the entertaining way he handled questions about the force of Jonny Bairstow’s head on his that made for his best headlines. All downhill thereafter, adding only 92 further runs.

Usman Khawaja 7

Spanned a range of emotions across the series. Chipped in with half-centuries at Adelaide and Perth before nicking off, but failed and was well short of his best in both Brisbane and Melbourne. Under pressure by Sydney, he responded with an emphatic 171 to mute the pessimists.

Steve Smith 10

Perfection is hard to define in this game. But if this wasn’t it, nothing is. Collected his slowest century in Brisbane when the circumstances demanded it, then his quickest in Perth to knock England out before making it a double. Did it again in Melbourne. Quite simply, Bradman-esque.

Peter Handscomb 3

Proven desperately out of form at the worst possible time, losing his spot after struggling through two Tests against England’s experienced seam attack. Occupied important overs under lights in Adelaide, but it wasn’t enough. Handled the omission well. He’ll be back.

Shaun Marsh 9

The most maligned player in Australia no more. After many false starts, his selection was met with bewilderment. The response? A crucial half-century in Brisbane followed by a truly match-winning ton in Adelaide. Then another in Sydney to cap the best days of his cricketing life.

Mitchell Marsh 8

An inspired mid-series inclusion, the all-rounder proved his legitimacy with a sparkling maiden Test century at the first time of asking on his home ground in Perth. Shifted down the gears to help save the MCG Test before unleashing for a second hundred in Sydney.

Tim Paine 8

Did everything asked of him coming in as a left-field pre-series choice behind the stumps. Playing his first Tests series for seven years, the veteran kept immaculately and made consistent runs down the list. The highlight: a brisk, gutsy and timely 57 in Adelaide.

Mitchell Starc 9

The most lethal strike bowler in the game did what he does best: hitting stumps, pads and outside edges. Injured for Melbourne, but still picked up 22 wickets at fewer than 24 apiece for the series. Took particular delight in polishing off England’s lower order in Adelaide.

Pat Cummins 9

A magnificent all-round first home Test series. Involved in vital lower-order stands at Brisbane then Adelaide and ferocious with the ball from the get-go. It was fitting that he both took the wicket that ended the contest for the urn in Perth and ran amok at his home ground in Sydney.

Josh Hazlewood 9

Suggestions that he was underdone in Brisbane were dismissed entirely by Adelaide, cutting off England’s gallant chase when picking up Joe Root second ball of the final day. Collected his appropriate reward with a five-wicket bag at Perth as the Ashes were secured. Relentless.

Nathan Lyon 9

At his best when the series was there to be defined, from the opening day with penetrative turn and a brilliant run out. Was better still at Adelaide, working over England’s southpaw-heavy lineup. Consistently nailed down one end to let the quicks to their thing from the other.

Jackson Bird 1

Never truly dropped to begin, but the poor bloke was unable to retain his place with the big three quicks all fit. Nevertheless, when stepping in for an injured Starc at Melbourne he was ineffective on an unforgivably turgid surface that unfairly reduces a bowler of his kind.

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