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Australia
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Australia have retained the Ashes with victory over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, claiming their first away series win since 2001.

The fiery pace of Pat Cummins and the spin of Nathan Lyon saw them overcome some dogged England batting resistance on the final day, taking the eight wickets they needed to claim the win by 185 runs.

Here, Sportsmail’s Lawrence Booth assesses the performances of both sets of players at Old Trafford. 

Australia's players celebrate after they claimed victory to retain the Ashes on Sunday

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Australia’s players celebrate after they claimed victory to retain the Ashes on Sunday

ENGLAND 

Rory Burns – 7 

Series runs: 323 Batting average: 40.37

Looked the business in the first innings, raising hopes that England had finally found a successor to Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook. Shame about the second-innings duck, though conditions could not have been tougher. But six openers have been tried in four Tests, and only Burns has flourished.

Joe Denly – 6 

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Runs: 204 Batting ave: 25.50 

Handed the hospital pass of opening the batting after his patient half-century from No 4 at Headingley, Denly responded with a similar effort in the second innings here. What his long-term future looks like is another matter.

Joe Denly raises his bat after reaching a half century against Australia at Old Trafford

Joe Denly raises his bat after reaching a half century against Australia at Old Trafford

Joe Denly raises his bat after reaching a half century against Australia at Old Trafford

Joe Root – 6.5 

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Runs: 247 Batting ave: 30.87 Wickets: 1 Bowling ave: 96.00

Helped repair England’s first innings with Denly, but has reverted to his old problem of not converting fifties, and he has three ducks in his last five innings. There are continued question marks, too, over his captaincy — but he may be saved by a lack of alternatives.

Jason Roy – 5

Runs: 110 Batting ave: 13.75 

A move down to No 4 produced two scores that at least suggested some improvement: 22 and 31. But he still goes hard at the ball, leaving an inviting gap between bat and pad. His Test career remains in the balance.

England batsman Jason Roy is bowled by Pat Cummins during day five of the fourth Test
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England batsman Jason Roy is bowled by Pat Cummins during day five of the fourth Test

England batsman Jason Roy is bowled by Pat Cummins during day five of the fourth Test

Ben Stokes – 4 

Runs: 354 Batting ave: 59.00 Wickets: 8 Bowling ave: 45.25

The calm after the storm. Headingley was always going to be impossible to live up to, and Stokes’s biggest contribution in Manchester was the pep talk he gave England at the start of Australia’s second innings — soon after, they were 44 for four. Shoulder trouble limited him to 10 expensive overs.

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Jos Buttler – 6.5 

Runs: 130 Batting ave: 16.25

Left with the tail in the first innings and battled hard in the second. Scores of 41 and 34 were his two highest of the series. Is Buttler relocating his Test-match tempo that seemed to have deserted him since the World Cup?

Jos Buttler drives the ball as England did their best to hold on on the final day of the Test

Jos Buttler drives the ball as England did their best to hold on on the final day of the Test

Jos Buttler drives the ball as England did their best to hold on on the final day of the Test

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Jonny Bairstow – 5 

Runs: 178 Batting ave: 25.42

Hasn’t passed 52 in 16 attempts since he made a century at No 3 in Colombo in November, and his first-innings dismissal by Starc was another reminder that he is bowled too often for a top-class batsman.

Craig Overton – 6 

Runs: 26 Batting ave: 13.00 Wickets: 2 Bowling ave: 53.50

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Charged into the wind on the first day, but after the opening bursts from Broad and Archer in the second innings, there was a noticeable drop-off in quality when Overton came on. Hopes that he might exploit Old Trafford’s bounce didn’t materialise. Batted gutsily on the last afternoon.

Jofra Archer – 6.5 

Runs: 36 Batting ave: 7.20 Wickets: 16 Bowling ave: 19.87

Shivered his way through a difficult first day but cranked it up in the second innings, when his average pace rose to 88mph. The challenge, both for Archer and the management, will be to agree on how best to use him. A work in progress — but an exciting one.

Jofra Archer celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia's Marnus Labuschagne

Jofra Archer celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia's Marnus Labuschagne

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Jofra Archer celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne

Stuart Broad – 7 

Runs: 49 Batting ave: 9.80 Wickets: 19 Bowling ave: 26.63

When he’s old and grey, Broad will be able to look back with a satisfied smile at the summer he tormented David Warner — not to mention Australia’s other left-handers. Blown slightly off course by the first-day gale, but he’s led the attack superbly in Jimmy Anderson’s absence.

Jack Leach – 5 

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Runs: 24 Batting ave: 12.00 Wickets 8 Bowling ave: 30.37

A ruthless business, Test cricket. Hero one moment at Headingley, Leach experienced the other end of the spectrum when his no-ball spared Steve Smith on the second afternoon. Was too easy to hit in Australia’s second innings, and couldn’t quite repeat his specs-wiping defiance on the last evening.

Jack Leach had a game to forget following his heroics at Headlingley in the previous Test

Jack Leach had a game to forget following his heroics at Headlingley in the previous Test

Jack Leach had a game to forget following his heroics at Headlingley in the previous Test 

AUSTRALIA  

David Warner – 1 

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Runs: 79 Batting ave: 9.87

Gets a point for smiling through adversity after Broad inflicted on him a second and third successive duck. He averages under 10 for the series, while his career average has dropped to 46 — the lowest it has been since early 2014. Australia may have to consider leaving him out for the final Test.

Marcus Harris – 3 

Runs: 46 Batting ave : 11.50

Twice fell cheaply leg-before to Broad, and has done little to justify Australia’s decision to drop Cameron Bancroft after two Tests. Hard to see how both Warner and Harris play at the Oval, which may offer a route back for Usman Khawaja.

Australia's Marcus Harris walks off after being dismissed for the second time by Stuart Broad

Australia's Marcus Harris walks off after being dismissed for the second time by Stuart Broad

Australia’s Marcus Harris walks off after being dismissed for the second time by Stuart Broad

Marnus Labuschagne – 7.5 

Runs: 291 Batting ave: 58.20 Wickets: 1 Bowling ave: 25.00

His run of fifties finally ended when Archer trapped him in the second innings but Labuschagne has been a superb right-hand man for Smith. Australia should be thanking Glamorgan for their part in his acclimatisation earlier this summer. Calmed Aussie nerves by dismissing Leach on the last evening with his leg-breaks, which have become better than part-time.

Steve Smith – 10 

Runs: 671 Batting ave: 134.20 

This is getting ridiculous. Back after concussion, he came within 18 runs of becoming the first player to score a double-century and a century in the same Ashes Test, only falling short because Australia wanted quick runs for a declaration. Has dominated this series as Don Bradman used to in the 1930s, and his captain believes he may even be getting better.

Steve Smith celebrates after reaching his century during Australia's first innings

Steve Smith celebrates after reaching his century during Australia's first innings

Steve Smith celebrates after reaching his century during Australia’s first innings 

Travis Head – 4 

Runs: 191 Batting ave: 27.28 

Hasn’t built on his promising performance in the first Test, mainly because England’s quicks have been adept at going round the wicket and cramping him for room. Needs to tighten up to prosper in these conditions.

Matthew Wade – 5 

Runs: 201 Batting ave: 25.12 

Was lucky to keep his place for this game, and was out to a horrific smear at Leach in the first innings. Held on to Smith’s coat-tails in the second, and maintained his reputation as Australia’s chattiest fielder.

Matthew Wade of Australia plays a shot and is caught out by Joe Root in the first innings

Matthew Wade of Australia plays a shot and is caught out by Joe Root in the first innings

Matthew Wade of Australia plays a shot and is caught out by Joe Root in the first innings

Tim Paine – 7 

Runs: 158 Batting ave: 22.57 

It won’t bother Paine that he was dropped nine runs into his first-innings 58 (his first half-century of the series): he has become the first Australian captain not to lose in England since 2001. And that will be on his c.v. for ever.

Pat Cummins – 9 

Runs: 62 Batting ave: 12.40 Wickets: 24 Bowling ave: 17.41

Justified his No 1 world ranking with another Rolls-Royce performance, especially in the second innings, when he removed Burns and Root in the first over, then Roy and Stokes on the fifth morning. He was still charging on the final evening, snarling at Leach. And he’s still only 26.

Australia bowler Pat Cummins celebrates after dismissing Joe Root for 0 during day four

Australia bowler Pat Cummins celebrates after dismissing Joe Root for 0 during day four

Australia bowler Pat Cummins celebrates after dismissing Joe Root for 0 during day four

Mitchell Starc – 6 

Runs: 57 Batting ave: n/A Wickets 4 Bowling ave: 31.50

Took a while to settle into his first Test of the series, and early on proved as expensive as Australia had feared he might. But he twice removed Bairstow, and got Stokes in the first innings too.

Nathan Lyon – 7 

Runs: 54 Batting ave: 18.00 Wickets: 16 Bowling ave: 36.68

Gave Australia control in the first innings, allowing Paine to rotate his quicks. His dismissal of Denly shortly after lunch was a blow from which England never properly recovered.

Josh Hazlewood – 8.5 

Runs: 8 Batting ave: n/a Wickets: 18 Bowling ave: 16.88

Bowled arguably the critical spell of the Test, removing Burns, Root and Roy late on the third day. Had England finished it only two wickets down instead of five, it might have been a different game. Feels like a Glenn McGrath clone.