By Peter Argent
Australia dominated the recently completed Ashes campaign, winning 4-0. Still, one wonders how it may have been all different if the English management had the courage to put the Australian’s in on the first morning of the opening test in Brisbane and selected veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad. ‘
This decision gave the hosts a psychological advantage and for the majority to the series and Patrick Cummins’ men had the upper hand.
Australia’s batsmen, especially early, made the most of the poor England catching skills and their bowling attack was superior across the five test series.
Sadly, the series didn’t reach the heights expected for the two founding countries of test cricket.
The big positives for the Aussies was the strength and depth of seam bowling options and the success of Travis Head in the middle order.
Our country’s second indigenous male cricketer, 32-year-old Scott Boland, has quickly developed into a cult hero of the public, having staggering success in his first three tests.
Australia has returned to the number one position in the ICC world rankings, ahead of New Zealand and England is fourth.
Aussie skipper Cummins is the world’s one ranked bowler, while we now have three bats in the ICC top five, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Head.
Australia’s next test series is against Pakistan, travelling back to the sub-continent and playing in their country for the first time in 24 years.
Australia has not played in Pakistan since Mark Taylor hit an unbeaten 334 in Peshawar back in 1998, with security concerns meaning all tours since have been played in the UAE.
The next Ashes battle is tour of England in 2023.
David Warner (4.5/10) – Past his best, although a couple of early 90s helped set up the series. Now 35, not expected to tour in 2023 Ashes, as he struggled against the moving ball.
Marcus Harris (2/10) – Backed in at the start of the series, but only able to deliver a single innings above 50 in four tests and was dropped for the final matches. Now has a test average of just under 26 across his first 14 tests.
Marnus Labuschagne (6/10) – Going into the series as the world ranked Number 1 bat, Marnus made the most of his luck early in the series, but his form tailed off in the last three tests.
Steve Smith (5/10) – Still regarded among the premier batsmen in world cricket, Smith was below par this series by his lofty standards.
Travis Head (9.5/10) – A career-defining series for Travis after being without a Cricket Australia contract at the beginning of the season. Two match-winning knocks in Brisbane and Hobart, and player of the series honours.
Usman Khawaja (9/10) – A brilliant return to Test cricket in Sydney, peeling off tons in both innings in a man of the match performance, although failed in Hobart, when asked to open.
Cameron Green (7/10) – His quality bowling performances in the Ashes series (13 wickets @ 15.76) was underpinned by two half-centuries with the bat, and outstanding fielding at gully. A star of the future.
Alex Carey (5/10) – Showed he was capable of playing at the level, but some surprising errors marred his performances behind the stumps, including dropping a couple of regulation catches.
Pat Cummins (8.5/10) – First test series as leader of his nation, display strong leadership qualities across his four tests as leader. He was also the leading wicket-taker in the series. A harsh critic would suggest he made a few rookie errors as skipper, especially declaring too late in Sydney.
Mitchell Starc (7/10) – A key part of a potent fastball attack, who played all five tests finished with 19 wickets at 24.66 per victim and also produced some handy cameos with the willow.
Josh Hazlewood (5/10) – Only played the opening test but missed the rest of the series with injury.
Nathan Lyon (7/10) – Was the pre-eminent spinner in this Ashes series, took his 400th test wicket in Brisbane and picked up 16 scalps, despite not bowling a ball in anger in the Hobart test.
Jye Richardson (6/10) – Was productive in his only test in Adelaide, collecting a five-wicket second innings haul.
Michael Neser (5/10) – Received his inaugural test opportunity when Pat Cummins was unavailable in the Adelaide test because of a Covid Issue. He was solid but unspectacular in his initial outing.
Scott Boland (9.5/10) – The bolter of the summer Boland was given his first opportunity in the third test in Melbourne and finished in style with 18 wickets and a miserly average of 9.55.