The Ashes series might have been level at 2-2 but Australia finally retained the urn in England for the first time in almost 20 years as Tim Paine’s side became the first successful Australian team since 2001 to go back with the trophy.
The series was one of the most hotly contested in recent times and saw some fine performances on both sides. We take a look at five star performers from the series.
Steve SmithImage: Twitter
Making a comeback into the Test arena after a long ban, Smith showed just what cricket was missing. 774 runs with an average of 110.57 in 4 matches show how dominant the right-hander was in the series. He just had one non-fifty score throughout the series and England didn’t seem to know how to dismiss him. One of his most memorable knocks came in the Old Trafford Test where he smashed 211 and single-handedly won the game for Australia. Smith was a key factor in the Aussies retaining the Ashes.
Another Australian who held his own was pace bowler Pat Cummins. He picked 29 wickets in 5 matches at an average of 19.62, including 7/103 at Old Trafford which helped Australia retain the Ashes. He was simply outstanding with the new ball, moving it both ways and often producing some stunning deliveries at will to pick wickets. His outswinger to Joe Root in the second innings which hit the top of off stump will be shown in the highlight reel for years to come. He was well supported by Josh Hazlewood at the other end but was certainly the standout bowler across the series and has emerged as a leader of the pack for Australia.
The England all-rounder continued from where he had left at the World Cup and came up with one the most iconic knocks in cricket as he single-handedly helped England chase down 362 at Headingley. Stokes scored an unbeaten 135 in that knock and was also the second highest run scorer in the series behind Smith, accumulating a total of 441 runs at an average of 55.12 with two tons and two half-centuries. He was one of the few England players who looked to be up for the challenge and didn’t seem tired after a long summer. He was excellent in the field and also picked wickets when he bowled. He showed how important a member he is of Root’s Test team going into the future and might even replace him as captain.
Stuart BroadStuart Broad picks up a wicket. (Twitter/ ICC)
With James Anderson missing due to an injury, all eyes were on Broad to lead a rather inexperienced England pace attack and the 33-year-old showed that he still has enough left in the tank to deliver for England. David Warner experienced the best of Broad, as he got the big hitting Australian opener 7 out of 10 times and simply never allowed him to break free. Broad struck at will with the new ball and always ran in full steam whenever call on by the captain. He ended the series with 23 wickets at an average of 26.65 which included four in the second innings at Oval and a five-for in Birmingham.
Jofra ArcherJofra Archer.
Archer had announced his arrival into the England setup in style as helped them lift the World Cup but many thought he might find it tough to replicate that form in the Test arena but how he proved his doubters wrong. 22 wickets at an average of 20.27, Archer looked fiery to say the least. He was bowling upwards of 90 mph and running through Australian batting line-up. He even hit Smith on the head which ruled him out of the Headingley Test. He had two five wicket hauls to his name including a 8/85 on debut and a 6/62 at Oval. He played a crucial role in both of England’s victories in the series.