The Ashes 2010: How they rated – Australia

After England stole the show in Sydney, James Lachno looks back at Australia's individual showings

By James Lachno
ricky ponting
(Photo: Nicky-G)

ricky ponting

Shane Watson 7/10
Finished the series as the Australian’s second top scorer, amassing 435 runs at 48.33 and passing 50 on four occasions, but this belied lapses in concentration which continually conspired to hinder his progress towards three figures, and saw him involved in three shambolic run outs – including one in the first over at Adelaide which shifted momentum in England’s favour for the remainder of the Test.

Simon Katich 5/10
Batted with characteristic stoicism before limping out of the series at Adelaide. Might have been a useful ballast for a wavering Aussie top and middle order, and will surely return when fit.

Ricky Ponting 3/10
Although hampered by a broken finger from Adelaide onwards, an average of 16.14 from four Tests proves his best days are behind him. Struggled to lead a divided side, and was cantankerous as ever with umpires – notably when remonstrating with Aleem Dar over an unsuccessful KP referral in Melbourne which cost him 40 per cent of his match fee.

Michael Clarke 2/10
Save for a seamless 80 in the second innings at Adelaide he looked woefully short of form, fidgeting at the crease and nibbling tentatively outside his off stump. Took the reigns in Ponting’s absence for Australia’s final Test humiliation, again failing with the bat, and suffered the ignominy of rumours that he was roundly disliked by his teammates.

Michael Hussey 8/10
Came into the series desperately fighting to retain his place in the team, but ended up carrying the Australian batting almost single-handedly on his way to scoring two hundrededs and averaging 63.33. A rare beacon of light amidst the Aussie gloom.

Marcus North 3/10
Out of form and under-pressure before the tour began, and 49 runs from his first three innings cost him his place from Perth onwards. He may yet return given the apparent dearth of batting options, especially if he works on his occasional off-spin, which fleetingly threatened when deployed.

Brad Haddin 7/10
Proved that he is a very accomplished batsmen, scoring three fifties and an impressive ton at Brisbane. More than capable of taking on the no.6 role, but his natural aggression increasingly manifested itself in an inability to leave the ball outside off stump as the series progressed. Kept beautifully.

Mitchell Johnson 5/10
The talented, mercurial paceman offered flashes of brilliance with ball and bat – notably 9/82 and a game-changing quickfire 62 in Perth – but suffered recurring crises of confidence, often cutting a disconsolate figure while leaking runs at an alarming rate.

Xavier Doherty 3/10
An unheralded pick thanks to a 45+ bowling average in First Class cricket, Doherty took just three wickets in the first two Tests with his gentle slow left arm, before being withdrawn at Perth.

Peter Siddell 7/10
Two 6-fer hauls in Brisbane and Melbourne – including a hat-trick on the first day of the series – polished the fast bowler’s figures and rewarded his unwavering enthusiasm, but often toiled with the rest as England dominated. A smattering of runs at no.9 exposed the inadequacy of the Aussie’s top order.

Ben Hilfenhaus 5/10
Showed plenty of endeavour, but lacked menace (and wickets) with the new ball, and failed to engineer the late swing enjoyed by the English seam attack in favourable conditions. Finished the series with 7 wickets at 59.28.

Ryan Harris 8/10
Showed aggression and considerable skill in swinging the ball both ways, causing the English batsmen problems with a consistency which made it all the more baffling that he wasn’t selected in Brisbane. The pick of the Aussie bowlers despite only playing three Tests before succumbing to an ankle injury in Melbourne.

Doug Bollinger 1/10
Failed to recreate any of the form he had shown in the past year – particularly in Pakistan – which had seen him rise to no. 2 bowler in the world. 1 wicket at 130 in 29 overs at Adelaide meant he was promptly dropped.

Phillip Hughes 2/10
As one-dimensional a player as was seen the series over, Hughes was brought in to replace the injured Katich and provided further evidence of severe technical deficiencies for a Test player, backing away and flaying outside off stump with reckless abandon on his way to 97 runs from 6 innings.

Steve Smith 5/10
Brought in as a batting all-rounder, he looked acutely out of his depth at no.6, despite slashing his way to a not-out 50 on the final morning of play (when batting at 7). His leg-spin was also pedestrian and expensive, but at 21 he has time on his side.

Usman Khawaja 6/10
The first Muslim ever to don the baggy green gave a glimmer of encouragement to the beleaguered Aussies with a composed 37 in his first Test innings while older and wiser heads fell around him. Could be one for the future.

Michael Beer 3/10
Offered more in terms of smirking punnery (‘getting plenty of hops off the pitch’ and ‘he’ll be drunk with emotion if he takes a wicket’ were personal favourites) than he did with the ball, taking one wicket in a lone Test.

OVERALL 3/10
Out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded in extraordinary proportions. A strong performance in Perth offered a glimmer of false hope, but the record-breaking supremacy of England thereafter unequivocally confirmed the era of dominance for Australian cricket is over.

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