Almost everyone from the Australian team made significant contributions as Australia thrashed England 5-0 to regain the Ashes. But, here are a few individuals who stood out courtesy their brilliant efforts.
Mitchell Johnson: Man of the series, he was the best performer from either side. The left-arm fast bowler made an impact on the Ashes statistically as well as psychologically (on the Englishmen). His shorter pacy deliveries as well as yorkers unsettled the best of England’s batsmen. In five Tests, Johnson ended up with a grand haul of 37 wickets at a miserly average of 14. While Johnson picked up as many as three five-wicket hauls, he also maintained a strike rate of 30.5
Brad Haddin: The veteran wicket-keeper redeemed himself after some poor returns in recent years. He stood out for Australia under pressure and featured in many rescue acts. In five matches, Haddin totalled 493 runs, and ended up as the second highest run getter while averaging an impressive 61. Haddin’s consistency in the series can be gauged from the fact that he notched up as many as five half-centuries apart from a ton during the course of the series.
Chris Rogers: This Ashes was the 36-year-old’s last chance to elongate his Test career. And, the left-hander did so with some grit, bringing all his domestic experience into play. Rogers held things together for Australia out in the middle, compiling 463 runs at an average of 46.3 with two centuries and three fifties. Rogers has proved that one can succeed in international cricket, no matter how late one gets an opportunity.
Ryan Harris: He was the perfect foil for Johnson. They say bowlers hunt in pairs, and in this series Harris did the same. In fact, on rare occasions, when Johnson couldn’t strike Harris stepped up and delivered. With 22 wickets, Harris was a distant second highest wicket- taker in the series. Harris ended up with a great average of 19.3, and a strike rate of 45.
David Warner: Following the many issues in England, Warner had a lot to prove, and he did so in the best way possible. With two hundreds and two fifties, Warner ended up as the highest run-getter in the series. He made a total of 523 runs while averaging 58 and maintaining an impressive strike rate of 74.
Steven Smith: He was a surprise success story for Australia. Not much was expected of his bowling, but Smith exceeded expectations with the bat. He notched up two crucial hundreds while making 327 runs at an average of 41. The selectors would find it difficult to ignore him henceforth.
Nathan Lyon: Another member of whom not much was expected, but who stood up and was counted. The tall off-spinner, who crossed the 100-wicket mark during the course of the series, ended up with 19 wickets at an average of 29.3 with one five-wicket haul as well. Before the start of the series, Lyon’s role was seen as someone who would hold one end up, but he actually supported the pacers by grabbing wickets at key moments.
--By A Cricket Analyst