The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement

Opinion

PLAYER RATINGS: Head huge, Green gigantic as Australia complete 4-0 Ashes drubbing

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
16th January, 2022
15
3261 Reads

Australia have put an exclamation mark on another dominant Ashes series on home soil by dismantling England’s feeble batting line-up yet again under the lights in Hobart.

Set a target of 271 to head home with a consolation win, the visitors were cruising at 0-68, before capitulating to lose all 10 wickets for just 56 further runs to turn a hard-fought Test into an utter thrashing.

Cameron Green started the rot, completing his best Test yet with three crucial wickets, having made a vital 74 with the bat on day one. Travis Head’s first-day century and Pat Cummins’ seven-wicket haul with the ball also led the way, while Alex Carey played a crucial hand with a second-innings 49 and a classic catch in the dying stages.

Nine wickets from the lion-hearted Mark Wood and six for Stuart Broad, plus some encouraging signs from newcomers Zak Crawley and Sam Billings, were about all the positives that England could take out of another humbling performance.

Here are The Roar’s player ratings for the fifth and final Ashes Test.

Australia

Advertisement

David Warner – 0
It’s hard to give anything but another nought for Warner, who finished a more than passable series with a dreaded pair – his second in Tests after the fourth match of his famously abysmal 2019 Ashes series.

At least this time, nemesis Stuart Broad only got him once; but his tortured 22-ball duck in the first innings proved he remains just as vulnerable against the moving ball as he was two and a half years ago.

Dropped an absolute sitter in the slips in the first innings, too; at least in England, he caught everything that came his way.

Usman Khawaja – 2
A quintessential ‘chocolates to boiled lollies’ game for Khawaja, who backed up his pre-match prediction that opening the batting would be a lot harder than his previous spot at number five.

Twin failures against the moving ball still left him with a series-high batting average of 85… but should serve as a reminder that Australia can’t expect to simply plug their best six batters in wherever they fit in upcoming tours to Asia.

Marnus Labuschagne – 6
It could have been a really ugly Test for Labuschagne had he not been dropped on 0 early on day one. But Marnus has become adept at making the most of his luck, and his counterattacking 71-run partnership with Travis Head from 3-12 was crucial in steadying the ship.

Advertisement

He won’t want to look at any replays of his dismissal for the rest of his life, though – but it did lead to this absolute cracker of a meme.

A second innings failure, feathering a catch down the legside, brought to a close his least productive Test series since his rebirth in the 2019 Ashes – though only Head finished with more runs among Australians.

Steve Smith – 3
Not since 2010-11 has Smith endured this lean a series against his perennial punching bags England. A second-ball duck in the first innings, edging into the cordon off a back of a length, continued a worrying trend for the champion against anything remotely short.

Fought through a challenging evening session on day two and appeared to be slowly working his way back to his best, before throwing his wicket away with a skied pull shot off – you guessed it – another short ball from Mark Wood. It was his mighty average drop below 60 for the first time in over four years.

Advertisement

Travis Head – 9
Coming in at 3-12 on the first day with Australia in dire straits, Head’s outstanding, counterattacking century was arguably an ever better effort than his sparkling 151 in Brisbane.

Fearless against the moving ball and latching onto anything loose with murderous intent, Head picked up right where he left off after missing the fourth Test due to COVID-19; his innings the difference between the two sides in the first innings, just as it was at the Gabba.

It has been a coming of age summer for the South Australian, named player of the series to go with a second player of the match gong. He appears to have locked in the number five spot for the foreseeable future.

Travis Head celebrates his century.

Travis Head celebrates his century during day one of the fifth Ashes Test. (Photo by Matt Roberts – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Cameron Green – 9
If it wasn’t clear already, it is now: Australian cricket has got a superstar on its hands.

Green’s batting appears to have come together after a lean start to the series, pairing superbly with Travis Head to steer Australia out of trouble on day one. Deserved a century, but his 74 was enough to see him finish the series with a more than handy average of 32.57 – more than Steve Smith!

It’s with the ball, however, that has been Green’s greatest strength this series, and it rose to new heights under the lights of day three. With England cruising in their run chase, the all-rounder enticed left-handers Rory Burns and Dawid Malan to inside-edge onto their own stumps, before a near-perfect delivery saw the end of Zak Crawley, too.

Advertisement

Alex Carey (wk) – 7
The luck that deserted the new wicketkeeper in Sydney came in a rush in Hobart, the result a fighting 49 that saw Australia set England a 250-plus victory target and keep the wolf from his door for now.

Bowled off a no-ball and getting an LBW decision overturned, Carey led a charmed life, but Marnus Labuschagne is proof that you need to make the most of any good fortune. Sadly, fell one run short of what would have been a deserved second Test half-century.

His keeping looked as sharp as it was to start the series; a nice take diving to his right in the second innings showed he’s been working on the weakness that has plagued him at times; before a one-handed screamer to remove Chris Woakes, clearly his best Test catch.

Mitchell Starc – 6
Starc might have been having flashbacks to last summer’s India series when England’s top order climbed into him early in their first innings. However, he bounced back excellently to finish with three wickets, including the doughty Chris Woakes, and always looks a threat with the pink ball.

After dominating for three years as a number nine, he finally received a promotion up the batting order ahead of captain Pat Cummins. And wouldn’t you know it, he failed twice, his series average plummeting back to 38.75. Perhaps Starc’s best spot is at nine after all?

Advertisement

Pat Cummins (c) – 8
Pick of the bowlers yet again in Australia’s first innings, the captain winkled out three of England’s top four – Rory Burns, Dawid Malan and Joe Root – with a perfect mix of pace and seam. He really is the complete bowler, and the only question is whether Josh Hazlewood’s return from a side strain will see him give up the new ball in the years to come.

Was frustrated early by England’s fight in their second innings run chase, but kicked off party time with a few wickets to pass 20 for the series, and ensure top bowler status for the second Ashes series in a row.

Nathan Lyon – 6
Lyon has gone without a bowl in a completed innings five times in his Test career – India’s 36 in Adelaide last summer, South Africa’s 96 in the ’47’ Cape Town game a decade ago, England’s collapse for 68 in the Boxing Day Test a fortnight ago… and in both innings here!

On a seamer-dominated wicket, the GOAT was never given a look in.

However, Lyon still found a way to have an impact, twice taking superb catches to remove Ben Stokes; the first a sharp snare at point, the second gaining brilliant ground on a skied pull shot in the deep.

He also chipped in with a happy-hitting 31 with the bat to get Australia’s first innings above 300.

Scott Boland – 7
Heading into the match with a Test bowling average of under 10, the Victorian finally had a dose of misfortune in a whirlwind start to his career, seeing two catches go down off his bowling.

As a consequence, his average ballooned into double figures – and was then asked to step in as nightwatchman, a role he performed creditably to see the Aussies through a tricky night session on day two.

England

Rory Burns – 3
Recalled after missing the previous two Tests, Burns’ first innings back picked up right where he left off – surviving being caught behind when nobody appealed, before being run out for a duck.

Slammed by Ricky Ponting for his lack of desire, the opener’s Test career looked in serious trouble, but he earned some respect back with a fighting 26 (while surviving an LBW as the Aussies again refused to go for the DRS) as part of a 68-run opening partnership to give England a bright start to their run chase.

All in all, though, a tour best forgotten for the man with world cricket’s weirdest technique.

Zak Crawley – 5
England have found a player here. While far from the finished article, Crawley’s attacking instincts and desire to take the game on are well suited to Australian conditions, and just like in the second innings in Sydney, meant he was able to take the fight to the Aussie quicks.

Couldn’t go on from promising starts in either innings – and his drop of Marnus Labuschagne early on day one was oh so crucial – but his stand with Burns in the second innings was the first time all series England have looked comfortable against the new ball. A bright future awaits.

Dawid Malan – 3
This Ashes series has been a case of diminishing returns for Malan, who hasn’t fired a shot since the second Test.

Two more mediocre scores have his spot in the team in serious jeopardy, especially as he’s yet to set the world on fire in England. Getting out to a strangle down the leg side and a drag-on showcased holes in his technique that Australia have ruthlessly exposed the longer the summer has gone on.

Joe Root (c) – 4
Root’s face after being castled by a low shooter from Scott Boland in England’s run chase said it all.

Having been one of England’s few contributors with the bat throughout 2021 and in the early stages of this series, the captain’s runs have slowly dwindled as the strain of leading a doomed outfit became too much to bear.

Marshalled his troops well enough in the field without doing anything of distinction, but it’s as a batter where Root can make his greatest contribution to the side, and in Hobart, he was unable to rise to the occasion, trapped LBW by opposite captain Pat Cummins as a strong start went begging.

Whether or not he gives up – or is made to give up – the captaincy is a matter for debate, but having now gone 16 consecutive Ashes Tests without a century, he could definitely use someone else to share the burden.

Ben Stokes – 1
Should he have played? Prevented from bowling after suffering a side strain in Sydney, the vice-captain failed to escape double figures in either innings as his aggressive instincts got the better of him.

Twice fell victim to blinding catches from Nathan Lyon, but his airy hook shot in the second innings with England teetering in their run chase needed greater responsibility. All in all, a tour to forget for one of Australia’s most feared opponents.

Ollie Pope – 2
Recalled for the injured Jonny Bairstow at number six, and looked all at sea.

His troubles against Nathan Lyon were what led to his original omission after Adelaide, but the off-spinner didn’t even get a bowl before Pope was out twice, to Scott Boland both times.

In difficult conditions to bat on, coupled with a lack of any match practice for the last month, little wonder he didn’t perform; but Pope’s huge county cricket average is beginning to look like an outlier.

Sam Billings (wk) – 6
From his extravagant, Marnus Labuschagne-esque blocks to his amusing banter after scoring his first runs, there was plenty to like about Billings on his Test debut.

One difficult high catch aside, kept wicket excellently to take five catches in Australia’s second innings, while he put some of his more experienced teammates to shame with a doughty 29 with the bat.

Chris Woakes – 3
On a pitch seemingly perfectly suited to the English specialist, and coming in for Jimmy Anderson, Woakes’ bowling performance can only be described as disappointing.

Started with a half-volley on day one to lift all the pressure Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson provided with the new ball, and his lack of consistency allowed Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne to escape.

Got a first-ball life with the bat before making a useful 36; but with his overseas bowling average still beyond 50, it’s hard to see Woakes playing again in Australia.

Mark Wood – 8
Following up his worst effort of the series in the first innings with his best in the second, Wood officially joined the Neil Wagner club for most admired overseas bowlers to visit Australia.

His pace has been a game-changer all series long, while his bouncers, when well executed, have troubled Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne repeatedly. 6-37 on day three at last gave him some reward for his efforts this series, which hadn’t always been reflected in the stats. Can head home with head held high.

Sports opinion delivered daily 

   

Stuart Broad – 7
It’s harder to believe the veteran was overlooked at the Gabba with every passing Test. Unlike Woakes, took gleefully to the English-like conditions on day one, removing Khawaja and Labuschagne as part of a three-wicket haul.

Six wickets – and one fight with the ‘Foxy Rover’ camera – later, the 35-year old was more consistent and almost as menacing as Wood. Fittingly in what could be his final Ashes Test, he took out David Warner once more for the road to complete his chief bunny’s pair.

Ollie Robinson – 6
Despite looking unthreatening at times, and with question marks over his fitness, Robinson finishes the series with a more than creditable bowling average of 25.54.

His Ashes was epitomised by the opening day – a deadly early spell with the new ball to take care of Warner and Smith, followed by him flagging as the day went on and eventually succumbing to a back spasm.

Recovered well to bowl in the second innings, but was nowhere near as threatening. Still, he’s done enough to suggest he can be a crucial cog for England in the future, if he can improve his tank.

close