Ashes 2019 player ratings: The verdict on England and Australia as tourists retain Urn after 2-2 series

Will Macpherson
Evening Standard
England's batsmen lurched from the hapless to the sublime at times during the series: Action Images via Reuters
England's batsmen lurched from the hapless to the sublime at times during the series: Action Images via Reuters

England’s victory in the fifth Ashes Test gave them the consolation of a drawn series as Australia retained the famous Urn this summer.

Steve Smith was undoubtedly the star of the series, with a mind-boggling 774 runs, while Pat Cummins led the way in the wicket-taking standings with 29.

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For the hosts, stalwarts Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes delivered in a big way once more, while Jofra Archer and Rory Burns enjoyed breakout Test series and look set to be mainstays of the side for the foreseeable future.

Scroll down for Will Macpherson’s verdict on every player…

England

Rory Burns - 7

A huge positive, and the best opener in the series by a distance. Had a plan, and stood up well to some superb bowling. Very sharp hands and great clarity of decision-making over reviews.

Jason Roy - 2

A tough first series. Would have survived for the Oval if Stokes could bowl, but that it might be it for him in Test cricket. Getting bowled a lot was a problem, but so were the dropped catches.

Joe Denly - 6

Three very decent second innings half-centuries, and made a fine fist of being a makeshift opener. Unlikely to be discarded.

Joe Root - 6

Hard to remember a team bowling so well collectively against an individual batsman. Got some true pearlers. Failed to stamp his authority with the bat and captaincy was meh.

Ben Stokes - 9

A superhuman. One of the great innings at Headingley, but super knocks in both London Tests too. Expect an epic showing in 2021/22.

Jos Buttler - 5

So passive for so much of the series. Excellent ending to it at the Oval.

Jonny Bairstow - 5

A funny old series. One good game with the bat, at Lord’s, but poor returns elsewhere. Was the better keeper on display, though. As England rebuild, he is an interesting player to watch.

Moeen Ali - 2

Poor old Moeen did not get much right at Edgbaston, and was dropped. Would be a surprise if he does not return.

Chris Woakes - 5

Started the series well, but fell away with bat and ball as the summer wore on. Should have been rested at Headingley, not Old Trafford. Root seemed strangely reluctant to bowl him at times, especially as the ended up getting Smith three times.

Sam Curran - 6

Picked too late, probably. Somehow makes an impression on every game he plays.

Jofra Archer - 9

A superb start to Test cricket. A huge impact on Lord’s, Headingley and Oval Tests, if a little quiet at Old Trafford in tough conditions. Has more than one method.

Archer took the second six-for of his brief Test career to skittle Australia for 225 at the Oval (AFP/Getty Images)
Archer took the second six-for of his brief Test career to skittle Australia for 225 at the Oval (AFP/Getty Images)

Stuart Broad - 9

Utter domination of Warner and Australia’s other lefties. This was the fourth time he had taken more than 20 wickets in an Ashes series.

Craig Overton - 5

Very brave effort with the bat at Old Trafford, but did not have the impression England hoped he might with the ball. Never lets them down, mind.

Jack Leach - 6

One of the heroes of Headingley and an instant cult hero. Did not always bowl as Root would have hoped (although he did finish the job at the Oval), and bowled one very costly no-ball. What an effort with the bat, though.

Australia

David Warner - 2

Had one good game at Headingley, and even in that he made a golden duck. Some decent catches, but some bad drops too. Stuart Broad had him on toast.

Cameron Bancroft - 3

Gets an extra point for being an excellent short leg fieldsman. Never looked like being up to making a score, though.

Marcus Harris - 2

An extremely generous selection by Australia (Broad would have loved another leftie to eat up), and a highest score of 19 says it all. Dropped a poor catch of Joe Denly.

Usman Khawaja - 3

His torrid record in England remains. Perhaps deserved another go, mind.

Steve Smith - 10

Had a series that will be remembered forever. The ultimate problem-solver, who England will be having nightmares about until they get to Australia in 2021. A classy catcher, too.

Smith hit the third double-ton of his career at Old Trafford, with both of the previous two having come against England (AP)
Smith hit the third double-ton of his career at Old Trafford, with both of the previous two having come against England (AP)

Marnus Labuschagne - 8

A very fine effort from Smith’s concussion replacement. That pair will combine to give Australia a decent middle order for a while yet. Can field and bowl, too.

Travis Head - 5

Just middling. Started well enough, but England worked him out, and his only response was to drive everything. That rarely works.

Matthew Wade - 7

Brilliant tons to start and end the series, with knock at the Oval particularly impressive, but offered little inbetween. Very unpopular with his opponents.

Mitchell Marsh - 7

Given the poverty of the middle order, might have played sooner. Bowled beautifully when his chance came.

Tim Paine - 5

Difficult to grade. Has clearly done a very good job bringing the squad together, and is a fine man worthy of respect. Played one good innings, had some horror dismissals, kept untidily, and was a poor judge of reviews. But retained the Ashes.

Pat Cummins - 9

It is a great injustice that Cummins has made it through the last two Ashes without a five-wicket haul. He was brilliant: indefatigable, intelligent, and relentless. A gem.

Pat Cummins led the wicket-taking standings with 29 and was relentless in his consistency
Pat Cummins led the wicket-taking standings with 29 and was relentless in his consistency

James Pattinson - 7

Very good in the two Tests he played, and well managed in a tricky schedule while the series was live. But very strange that he did not play in the final Test.

Peter Siddle - 6

Excellent at Edgbaston and Lord’s, a struggle at the Oval. But he never gives up, and it is mighty impressive that this was his sixth series.

Nathan Lyon - 7

Great at Edgbaston, quiet thereafter. And that missed run out chance will never be forgotten. Australia surely win the series if they win at Headingley.

Josh Hazlewood - 8

A superb bowler who often seemed to save his very best balls for Joe Root. Body did well to last all five games.

Mitchell Starc - 6

Got just one chance, and a typical Starc game: some utter brilliance, a bit of tosh too. Was missed at the Oval.

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