England vs. Australia: Ranking All 31 Players Who Played in the Ashes 2013

Mark PattersonUK Staff WriterAugust 26, 2013

England vs. Australia: Ranking All 31 Players Who Played in the Ashes 2013

0 of 31

    So the Ashes are over, and England have run out 3-0 victors.

    There will be little time to digest and savour it all, however, with less than three months until the return series begins.

    There were also a remarkable 31 players in action over the course of the series—14 for England and 17 Australians.

    Some have probably played their way out of any part in the five matches Down Under, while others have rendered themselves indispensable. 

    So here, from 31 to 1, we power rank the players in the Ashes in order of their performances.

    Have your say on whether this list is right in the comments section below.

31. Simon Kerrigan

1 of 31

    1 Test

    0 wickets

    1 run

    Oh dear.

    24-year-old Simon Kerrigan could not have been expecting to win his first England cap in this series, and he played as if he was overawed by the occasion.

    He was hit out of the attack by a rampaging Shane Watson at The Oval and suffered the yips, scarcely able to pitch the ball at times in his eight overs.

    Alastair Cook couldn't bring himself to use him any more, and it may be a while before he returns to the England team.

30. Ed Cowan

2 of 31

    1 Test

    14 runs at 7

    Ed Cowan is an eloquent, interesting thinker when it comes to cricket, but on the evidence of his one Test in this series, he is currently overthinking his Test career.

    The pressure of the Ashes saw him swing loosely at Steven Finn in his first ball of the series, departing via a nick. 

    He cobbled together 14 in the second innings at Trent Bridge, but his brain looked scrambled, and he found himself out of the Test setup thereafter.

    It may not be easy to work his way back in.

29. Chris Woakes

3 of 31

    1 Test

    1 wicket at 96

    42 runs at 42

    A surprise call-up from England for the final Test, Woakes did little to suggest he'll still be on the teamsheet come the first Test at the Gabba in November.

    Woakes' batting at No. 6 showed some promise from the moment he lashed his first delivery through square for four. He also held his nerve well in the run chase on the final evening.

    But primarily Woakes is a bowler, and for the moment he appears to lack the menace or movement to trouble elite batsmen. 

    The Oval pitch may not have offered great assistance, but Alastair Cook's reticence to throw the ball to him was telling. 

    The 24-year-old still has time on his side but is not ready yet.

28. Phillip Hughes

4 of 31

    2 Tests

    83 runs at 27.66

    Australia appear simultaneously desperate to trust Phillip Hughes and determined to undermine his every comeback. 

    Ever since his axing during the 2009 series, Hughes, now 24, has flitted in and out of the Australia team, his talent unquestioned but his temperament seemingly shot. 

    An 81 not out in the first innings at Trent Bridge—a knock that was not paid its full dues as fans cooed at Ashton Agar's 98 at the other end—hinted that something had clicked.

    But in three more innings he managed just two more runs.

    And all of a sudden, he was shunted back out on to the periphery of the team and missed the remainder of the series.

    Hughes still has time on his side, but his record after 26 Tests (averaging 32 with three centuries) has less in common with the great Australian batsmen of years gone by and more with the squandered riches of England batsmen Mark Ramprakash and Graeme Hick.

     

27. Steven Finn

5 of 31

    1 Test

    2 wickets at 58.5

    2 runs at 2

    Steven Finn's last taste of an Ashes series sent his career backwards, and this year's version has done much the same.

    The biggest problem the seamer faces is a lack of confidence—Finn no longer appears to trust himself, and just as significantly, nor does his captain.

    When England were on the brink of surrendering victory at Trent Bridge, it was Finn Australia attacked, and the Middlesex man who Cook swiftly hid from sight.

    And yet Finn, eased out of the XI by Lord's and out of the squad altogether by Old Trafford, did not bowl quite as badly as his treatment suggests.

    His two wickets in two balls in the first innings at Trent Bridge started the rot as Australia attacked—and were part of a sharp spell of bowling.

    He seems overcoached and confused at the moment, but his chance should come again, perhaps as soon as the return series.

26. Jackson Bird

6 of 31

    1 Test

    2 wickets at 62.50

    1 run without being dismissed

    Bird got the nod for the Durham Test as something of a horses-for-courses pick and performed better than his two-wicket haul would suggest. One Test later though, he was gone, a sign of a team with a well-stocked armoury of seam bowlers and an over-eagerness for change.

    At 26, Bird still has time to stake a claim to a permanent spot in the team, but without express pace or any discernible batting talent he will have to demonstrate Glenn McGrathian levels of control and accuracy.

25. Ashton Agar

7 of 31

    2 Tests

    2 wickets at 89.5

    130 runs at 32.5

    Selecting a 19-year-old left-arm spinner with almost no first-class experience for the first Ashes Test of the summer was a baffling decision by Australia coach Darren Lehmann—but it did create one of the highlights of the series.

    Ashton Agar's Ashes cameo was joyous and heartwarming—and record-breaking.

    His 98 at Trent Bridge, from No. 11, was fluent and free, and no batsman at that position has ever scored more runs in an innings.

    But he was not picked as a batsman, and with the ball he failed. He was backed for a second Test, despite carrying an injury, and carried no threat.

    One can only wonder what Nathan Lyon, the other spinner in the party, would have been thinking from the sidelines.

24. Matt Prior

8 of 31

    5 Tests

    133 runs at 19

    18 catches

    Matt Prior was named England's player of the year in May, but this was not a performance which backed that up.

    Prior's counterattacking innings from seven in the batting order have become a staple of England's success, but here there were just a string of failures, his average propped up to 19 only by a 47 in the final match at The Oval.

    With the gloves his work was tidy enough for the most part, even if his 18 catches were somewhat upstaged by Brad Haddin's 29.

    It says something about his quality that there is not the slightest question over whether Prior is the man to take the gloves in Australia. He will start, and it will be expected that 2013 was an aberration.

23. Usman Khawaja

9 of 31

    3 Tests

    114 runs at 19

    There are moments when you watch Usman Khawaja bat and can picture him as a rock of the Australia lineup for many years to come. His half-century at Lord's with Michael Clarke was impressive and flowing.

    But those fleeting moments fade, his wicket falls, and what you have left is a batsman with just two half-centuries to his name after nine Tests, and an average in the mid-20s.

    Khawaja can point to poor fortune—his dismissal in the third Test, for instance, should never have been given out—but he has little more than aesthetics and promise on his side.

    He started the series outside the team, and despite having a chance, ended the series back where he started. It's not unfair to him.

     

22. Jonny Bairstow

10 of 31

    4 Tests

    203 runs at 29

    Not quite. Not yet.

    Jonny Bairstow was backed by England for the No. 6 role in the 2013 Ashes and managed just one half-century in four games before finding himself back on county duty for the final match of the summer.

    He appears to fall over a bit when he bats, a technical issue that saw him bowled or given out lbw on several occasions in the series. 

    He was the subject of sympathy from the press box at times in the series, but Bairstow might equally point to the fact that his record doesn't compare unfavourably to most of his batting colleagues.

    He will continue to be around the squad and is a near-certainty to travel to Australia. But he has work to do to convince England—and himself—that he belongs in the team.

21. David Warner

11 of 31

    3 Tests

    138 runs at 23

    Australia haven't quite worked out what to do with David Warner, while England fans have—just boo him.

    He missed the first two Tests to get match practice in South Africa, a mess of his own making after the Joe Root incident, and by the time he returned the series was almost gone.

    There was only one sizeable innings—a 71 at Durham when he was promoted to open—it was a coruscating knock which suddenly gave the tourists a sniff of victory and saw Warner move up from six to open for the remainder of the series.

    But two more failures at The Oval only leave the doubts lingering over the left-hander. 

    Warner needs to start repaying the faith Australia are showing in him, because at the moment his talent does not compensate for the aggravation he brings off the pitch.

20. James Pattinson

12 of 31

    2 Tests

    7 wickets at 43.85

    72 runs at 36

    Before the series, the two things known about James Pattinson were that he was highly talented and that he was injury-prone. The 2013 Ashes only truly proved the latter.

    There were flashes of brilliance, but his haul of 3-69 in the first innings at Trent Bridge was as good as it got. His aggression and fight were evident—as indeed it was with the bat, where he was involved in some defiant last-wicket stands.

    He exited the fray after Lord's with a stress fracture of the lower back. It means that after two years on the international scene he has still only managed to complete a single series—the two-Test visit of New Zealand in 2011.

19. James Faulkner

13 of 31

    1 Test

    45 runs at 22.5

    6 wickets at 16.33

    Shane Warne had been trumpeting James Faulkner's inclusion in the Australia team for months, and he finally got his way in the final Test.

    On the evidence of this match, he is worth persisting with, offering some talent with the bat and some fight with the ball.

    Most of all, if you subscribe to the belief that players have to have the temperament for Test cricket, Faulkner appears to have it. He was not afraid to hit out at England's tactics, and he backed up his chat on the field for the most part.

    Yes, his wickets were a little cheap as he mopped up the England tail. His runs came as Australia were trying to accelerate. 

    But at 23, Faulkner can still develop into quite a player.

18. Mitchell Starc

14 of 31

    3 Tests

    11 wickets at 32.45

    104 runs at 26

    In, out, in, out, and then in again.

    Mitchell Starc was a victim of Australia's confused selections and even sounded off about being dropped twice in a five-match series by the end of it.

    As a result, the best of him was rarely seen in this series. His slingy, 90mph left-armers have plenty of potential, as his 11 wickets suggest, and his half-century at Old Trafford also reaffirmed what a capable, clean-hitting lower-order batsman he can be.

    He is one of several figures in the Australia team who will wonder whether they will get an extended run in the team to find their rhythm and settle into the demands of Test cricket.

    There is no shortage of competition for the seamers' berths, but Starc appears to deserve that chance.

17. Jonathan Trott

15 of 31

    5 Tests

    293 runs at 29.3

    1 wicket at 28

    A curious summer for Jonathan Trott. For most of the series he looked in as good form as any batsman on display, Ian Bell possibly excepted. 

    The big scores eluded him, however, and his dismissals often came from a position of being well set. For a man averaging close to 50 for four years, it was a surprise.

    For the first time in his Test career, in fact, discussions turned to possible technical failings. Did he shuffle across too far? Could he be worked over by the short ball? 

    It is also interesting to note that his series strike rate (53.95) was higher than all his fellow batsmen bar Pietersen (who only nudged his a whisker ahead at 54.11 by a 55-ball 62 on the final evening). 

    At 32, Trott is still the anchor of the England batting, but this was not a vintage effort.

16. Alastair Cook

16 of 31

    5 Tests

    277 runs at 27.7

    Alastair Cook is now an Ashes-winning captain, having led England to a convincing 3-0 victory over Australia. But on a personal level this was a challenging series for the left-hander.

    With the bat there was a top score of only 62, his leanest run of form since he exploded into life in the 2010/11 Ashes with some monstrous scores.

    In the field there was criticism of his side's approach, notably from Shane Warne, as England played negatively and cautiously at times.

    In both aspects there is room for improvement, but the issues may well have been blown up out of proportion.

    Three half-centuries were valuable contributions, made during some difficult times for the England top order.

    And when it came to the captaincy, it shouldn't be overlooked that his side have still lost just one match under his tenure.

15. Nathan Lyon

17 of 31

    3 Tests

    9 wickets at 33.66

    12 runs at 6

    You sense that Nathan Lyon is not entirely trusted by the Australia setup, and yet Lyon continues to bowl creditably and earnestly, with decent results.

    Lyon, surely, is the best of the spinners Australia have tried since Shane Warne's retirement six years ago.

    He is not as flashy. He will never turn it as far. He will not win games on his own. 

    But clearly he has quality and bravery, as the wicket of a charging Kevin Pietersen in Durham proved. It was one of nine he picked up in the series.

    Who knows what more can be coaxed out of the 25-year-old if he is just backed unequivocally by his team?

14. Peter Siddle

18 of 31

    5 Tests

    17 wickets at 31.58

    84 runs at 10.5

    Peter Siddle, the statistics suggest, is Australia's lead bowler. And he began the series that way, taking eight wickets at Trent Bridge.

    Slowly but surely, however, that momentum tapered off.

    Repeatedly outfoxed by James Anderson, his lower-order batting contributions were less telling than usual as well.

    On the face of it, it was a solid series for the bowler, but questions do persist over him, the most obvious of which is he routinely used as the first or even second-change bowler?

    Siddle remains a key bowler for Australia, but with competition for places high and Ryan Harris trumping him as the lead bowler in this series, he will need a big performance in the winter.

13. Tim Bresnan

19 of 31

    3 Tests

    103 runs at 25.75

    10 wickets at 29.6

    Relentlessly unspectacular, but it's not hard to see why England like Tim Bresnan so much.

    It only took one off game from Steven Finn for him to be swept back into the side, and though he never managed more than a couple of wickets in an innings, he chipped in time and again with the ball, and his strike rate compares favourably to James Anderson (54.6 balls per wicket, compared to 56).

    His biggest wicket was probably that of David Warner at Durham—it sparked the rot which Stuart Broad went on to exploit, but history should not forget that it began with Bresnan.

    With the bat there were valuable runs, especially with the top order failing repeatedly.

    The only concern is the stress fracture of the back that ended his series a Test early. Having only recently recovered from an elbow operation, the injuries are beginning to mount up for the Yorkshireman.

12. Shane Watson

20 of 31

    5 Tests

    418 runs at 41.8

    2 wickets at 89.5

    The headline figures suggest Shane Watson had a creditable series—a decent average, a century and a 50.

    It doesn't tell the half of it.

    Watson was backed to open the batting for Australia and failed repeatedly, a few early strokes ended with crushing inevitability as an England seamer would hit him on the pad and get the lbw decision. Watson's insistence on reviewing it every time became a running joke.

    He was dropped down to No. 6 when David Warner returned, then promoted to No. 3 when Usman Khawaja was dropped. The century at The Oval, when he played with bravery and swagger, probably means that is where he will stay.

    But runs are his bread and butter for Test selection. His bowling is an asset for the Australia team, but given his injury record, it is not an asset the Baggy Greens can always rely on.

     

11. Brad Haddin

21 of 31

    5 Tests

    206 runs at 22.88

    29 catches

    At 35, Haddin must have thought his Test career was over, but he was parachuted back in to provide some much-needed experience.

    29 catches—a record for any series in Test history—suggest that it was a good call.

    With the bat the results were more mixed, but had he managed to eke out just a few more runs in his 71 in the second innings at Trent Bridge, it might have looked very different. Haddin took Australia to the brink of winning that Test, and he fired another half-century at Old Trafford.

    He would appear to have done enough to keep the gloves for the return series, meaning that Matthew Wade will have to wait for his next chance.

10. Joe Root

22 of 31

    5 Tests

    339 runs at 37.66

    3 wickets at 11.33

    Divided opinion. There was a fine 180 at Lord's, there was a fighting 68 at The Oval, but that aside there were a number of failures for Joe Root, promoted to open the batting ahead of the series.

    Was it premature to move him up? Was it harsh on Nick Compton? Perhaps—and yes. 

    Root has demonstrated that, at 22, he will be a fixture of the England team for the next decade, but he was just finding his feet in the middle order when he was bumped up.

    His presence did not, crucially, change the pace of England's innings. England have been slowing down in run rate terms for some time, now, and if this series proved anything, it was that Compton was not the cause.

    Root also showed some promise with his off-spin, a perhaps underused asset so far in his Test career. There were three big wickets in the first three Tests—it was a surprise to see so little of him with the ball in the remaining matches.

9. Chris Rogers

23 of 31

    5 Tests

    367 runs at 40.77

    Calling up a 35-year-old who hadn't been in Australia's thoughts for years was remarkable, but Chris Rogers repaid their selection with some fighting efforts as an opener.

    He is not a fluent player. His style is more about grit than elegance, but he fought through some difficult patches to compile a couple of half-centuries (the best of which was a pacy 84 at Old Trafford), before a maiden Test century in Durham.

    How long his career with Australia lasts from this point is anyone's guess—he turns 36 this week—but he has proven he belongs at this level and will surely open again in the return series this winter.

8. Steve Smith

24 of 31

    5 Tests

    345 runs at 38.33

    3 wickets at 26.5

    He wasn't in the original touring party, but Steve Smith played in all five Tests.

    The 24-year-old has improved his batting immeasurably—his leg-spin alone will never be worthy of a Test call-up.

    And perhaps the biggest compliment that can be paid to Smith is that he no longer looks out of place. His busy, shuffling style is not perfect by any means, but against spin in particular it can be most effective.

    He nearly managed his century in Manchester only to give it away on 89—but he finally got there at The Oval.

    Even his bowling collected three wickets at Lord's very cheaply. Combined with being a superb fielder (barring one notable exception), Smith is the sort of player Australia would dearly love to succeed. He came a little closer in this series.

7. Kevin Pietersen

25 of 31

    5 Tests

    388 runs at 38.8

    33 years old and still quite brilliant when he gets it right. KP only sparkled on occasion in this series, but they were moments to savour.

    His century at Old Trafford was of the highest order, his 62 on the last evening at The Oval suddenly made an outlandish target very, very attainable. The cheers from the crowd were genuine, and things have moved on some way from the tumult of last summer.

    Pietersen became England's leading run scorer across all formats in this series, and that's a testament to his value to England.

    For a man less than happy with the press, he was more than comfortable speaking to Sky Sports during the series and gave the impression of a man who has plenty more to give to the England cause over the next few years.

    England should be very pleased to hear it.

6. Michael Clarke

26 of 31

    5 Tests

    381 runs at 47.62

    For Australia to succeed in this series, the thinking went, Michael Clarke would have to have an incredible series with the bat.

    He had a good one—the highlight a beautiful 187 at Old Trafford—but simply did not fire often enough to create winning positions for his team.

    Clarke was identified as the danger man by the hosts, and they responded with some of their best bowling. James Anderson's outswinger to him at Trent Bridge sticks in the mind, as does the working over Stuart Broad gave him with the short ball in Durham.

    His captaincy was generally praised for being a bit more adventurous than that of his opponents, but although he appears in no danger of losing his job, his record does not make for happy reading.

    Australia have now lost seven of their last nine Tests and not won since the Australian winter.

5. Stuart Broad

27 of 31

    5 Tests

    22 wickets at 27.45

    179 runs at 25.57

    If you watched Stuart Broad's highlight reel in isolation, you'd think he was the best cricketer on the planet.

    With the ball at Durham he ripped through Australia, taking 11 wickets in the match and forcing a victory when the tourists looked better-placed.

    But that represented half his series haul, and in the three Tests beforehand he had been conspicuous by a lack of contribution.

    In fact, at that point his biggest Ashes moment had been standing his ground at Trent Bridge despite a thick edge and going on to eke out 28 more runs in a Test England won by 14.

    It led to accusations of cheating from the opposition coach Darren Lehmann, and he may find a hostile reception awaits him in Australia for the reverse series later this year.  

4. Graeme Swann

28 of 31

    5 Tests

    26 wickets at 29.03

    126 runs at 25.20

    England appeared to set up dry, dusty wickets to allow Graeme Swann to shine and be the difference in this series, and for the most part he did not disappoint.

    He finished as the top wicket-taker, his nine wickets in the thumping victory at Lord's his brightest contribution. But he took wickets in every innings of the series, teasing left-handers from around the wicket, often finding spin as early as the first day of matches.

    Swann was feisty with the bat as well, with two swinging scores of over 30 to prop up England's often misfiring top order.

    It might not have been his best series, but it was one which underlined the value of the 34-year-old to England. With Monty Panesar's personal issues appearing to rule him out of England duty for now and Simon Kerrigan's debut eminently forgettable, England don't have an obvious replacement for Swann at present. 

3. James Anderson

29 of 31

    5 Tests

    22 wickets at 29.59

    36 runs at 7.2

    Still the spearhead of England's attack, and still, bar none, the man Alastair Cook turns to when he needs a wicket.

    Anderson's 10-wicket haul in the opening match set the tone, a brilliant, match-swinging contribution. But after Lord's he went off the boil for the remainder of the series, sparkling only on occasion.

    He passed landmarks—he is now second on the all-time list of England wicket-takers in Test matches after an impressive series—but he also passed the age of 31. 

    He is nearer to the end of his career as England's premier seamer than he is to the start, and England need to replace his consistency and poise.

     

2. Ryan Harris

30 of 31

    4 Tests

    24 wickets at 19.58

    99 runs at 19.8

    You have to wonder what sort of a career Ryan Harris might have enjoyed at Test level had his body held up to the demands of fast bowling.

    The 33-year-old recovered for this series in time to play the second Test, and he was by some distance the most consistent bowler on either side.

    His seven for 117 in Durham was a fine return, but there were always significant contributions with the ball whenever he played. It is hardly fitting that he should have ended up on the losing side.

    After 16 Tests, he now boasts a record of 71 wickets at 22.26, but while time is not on his side to improve that vastly, he will be a key figure in the winter.

    Australia will surely want to keep him wrapped in cotton wool for the return series.

1. Ian Bell

31 of 31

    5 Tests

    562 runs at 62.44

    Three centuries, two 50s. Man of the series. England's rock.

    Ian Bell has played a lot of cricket for England, but never before have his contributions been so valuable.

    His centuries came with England at 121-3 (effectively 46-3 given their first-innings deficit) at Trent Bridge, 28-3 at Lord's and 49-3 at Durham.

    They were never easy to compile, they were played in harmony with the challenges the pitches threw up and they turned matches England's way. It is not a coincidence that Bell's tons came in three games England won, and it's for this reason that Bell tops the list.

    He's had more than a few "coming of age" moments in his career, but whatever comes next, this was a defining series for Bell, proof that he could hit heights of excellence.