With the Ashes series having come to an end, and England taking a convincing 3-0 victory over Australia, here's a look at a Team of the Series.
1. Chris Rogers: He was definitely a surprise pick for this series, but his solid technique and experience of England and English pitches, made the move to have him open the
batting, a shrewd one. He averaged 40.77 in the series, including his maiden Test Ton, which came at Durham. He always looked like a tough man to dislodge, but he struggled against Graeme Swann, as most left-handers do.
2 – Shane Watson: He didn’t exactly set the world alight in this series, but Shane Watson did prove himself as a more than capable Test player. In the first couple of Tests it was his bowling that caught the eye. He was unbelievably economical with the ball,
building pressure at the other end while keeping his end tight. In the last two Test matches he came alive with the bat, scoring 66 at Durham and then a sensational 176 at The Oval, to finish with a series average of 41.80 and 418 runs making him second highest series scorer.
3 – Kevin Pietersen: Like Watson, Pietersen wasn’t particularly prolific in the series but he also produced a couple of fantastic innings, especially his century in Manchester and his 60-odd at The Oval. He did fall early a couple of times leaving England in tight spots, and some of his wickets came from poor shots but he has enough raw talent to always come out on top.
4 – Michael Clarke (c): The Australian captain scored a world-class century at Manchester, but he did have a long run of poor scores throughout the series. His captaincy was absolutely fantastic, due to his proactive field settings and clever bowling changes. I think his side would’ve done a little better in the series, had he made more
5 – Ian Bell: There isn’t much to say about Bell that hasn’t already been said. He had a series similar to that of Alastair Cook in Australia, and without him England would not have won so easily. His century at Trent Bridge won the game for his side, as did his ton at Durham. His century at Lord’s was timely and his 74 in the second innings enabled England to setup their victory. To finish a series with 562 runs at an average of 62.44 shows his true class, and having 144 more runs than anyone else also shows his dominance. Form is temporary, but Class is permanent.
6 – Steve Smith: He may be frenetic, and he may have a strange technique, but Steve Smith is a thoroughly talented all-round cricketer. His fielding is superb, his bowling gets wickets (as proved at Lord’s) and his batting can be sublime. His maiden Test century should’ve come at Manchester, where he gave his wicket away on 89, but eventually it did come at The Oval where he racked up a magnificent 138*.
7 – Brad Haddin (wk): Haddin has always been a solid Test Match cricketer, and this series proved that beyond any doubt. He almost took Australia over the line at Trent Bridge, but was a little short with the bat from there on in. His forte in this series was his work with the gloves, as he snaffled a world record 29 dismissals from the five matches. He was way ahead of Prior in terms of performance this time round.
8 – Graeme Swann: Swanny finished as the leading wicket taker in the 5 match series with 26 wickets, including a pair of five wicket hauls. He is always a bowler to be reckoned with, because of his world-class guile and sheer brilliance with ball in hand.
9 – Stuart Broad: Broad had a couple of unbelievable spells in this series, where he was almost unplayable. At Durham he took 11 wickets in the match, including 6 in the second innings to dismiss Australia, and win England the game. His 22 wickets came at a better average than Swann (29.03) and Anderson (29.59) thanks to those devastating spells.
10 – Ryan Harris: Harris was, in my opinion, the best bowler from either side, in the whole series. He wasn’t even selected for the First Test which makes his achievement of 24 wickets even more incredible. He has always had injury problems and so his ability to play 4 matches on the trot will please Australia ahead of the return series down under. The right arm pace bowler always seemed to threaten the batsmen whether the ball was new or old. He seamed the ball in either direction, but he also possesses an unplayable bouncer which had even the best batsmen jumping around.
11 – Peter Siddle: Siddle seemed to be the bowler who threatened England’s top order the most, apart from Harris. His use of the crease lead to many wickets, and he put
Australia on the front foot from the off with a superb 5 wicket haul, in the first innings at Trent Bridge. His figures of 17 wickets at 31.58 don’t match up to the way he bowled, as he consistenly made the better batsmen in the England team, struggle.
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