(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
This has been a strange series for England. Despite having arguably been outplayed by Australia both with the bat and the ball, they find themselves on the verge of regaining the urn.
This just goes to show that cricket is all about seizing the initiative at the right moments and England have definitely done that. My honourable England mentions are:
1) James Anderson - Like most of his teammates, Anderson has blown hot and cold this series. When he's been good, he's been brilliant; when he's been bad, he's been terrible. I include him on this list primarily for some good bowling but also for his resolute batting.
His figures of 4-55 in the Australian first innings at Lords helped England on their way to victory. More impressive was his batting as the light dwindled at the end of day five in Cardiff.
2) Stuart Broad - This would have struck some as surprising before this test match but the figures don't lie—statistically, Broad has been England's best with the ball in this series, taking 17 wickets at an average of 27.8. While these aren't exactly great figures, they are at the top of the scale in what has been a batsman's series.
After a shaky start, Broad has produced in the last two matches, taking 6-91 at Headingley and 5-37 earlier at the Oval. The latter performance might just have won England the Ashes. His batting also deserves a mention, his average of 29.28 is better then all of Cook, Bell, Collingwood, and Bopara.
3) Andrew Flintoff - I couldn't do a piece on England's men of the series without mentioning Flintoff. Yes, he has been a tad out of knick with both bat and ball, but it's his final series and his figures of 5-92 in the Australian second innings at Lords that have helped him secure a memorable victory. So, he goes in.