Ashes 2019 review: The biggest hits, flops and surprises featuring Jack Leach and David Warner

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Leach turned into an unlikely Ashes hero for England at Leeds.

A first drawn Ashes series since 1972 was the final result after nearly six weeks of some terrific Test cricketing action between arch-rivals England and Australia.

It is the visitors who still return with the urn due to their 4-1 triumph in the previous Ashes series Down Under but the hosts will be delighted to level matters nevertheless after an extraordinary summer which saw them lift their maiden World Cup trophy.

At the end of what was a fierce red-ball battle between the two old foes in England, we take a look at the biggest hits, flops and surprises from the series.

FLOPS

David Warner

David Warner.

David Warner.

The Australia opener will be relieved to see the back of Stuart Broad for some time after enduring one of the worst series of his career. The left-hander was dismissed on seven separate occasions by Broad in the series and he finished with a batting average in single-digits.

Off Warner’s 95 runs, 61 came in a single knock while he was able to muster just a paltry 34 runs in his remaining nine innings in the series. To finish with a batting average less than Jack Leach and Broad himself is the ultimate insult for a player who has 21 Test tons to his name.

Jason Roy

Jason Roy's red-ball struggles show no signs of stopping.

Jason Roy’s red-ball struggles show no signs of stopping.

That Warner’s average was even lower than Jason Roy’s tells you all you need to know about the Aussie’s struggles in England. Roy himself averaged just 13.74 in four Tests before he was ultimately dropped for the final clash at the Oval.

The limited-overs opening stalwart’s technique was horribly exposed by Australia with the red ball with even a move down the order to No4 failing to bring any change of fortunes for Roy.

Marcus Harris

Harris has been no better than Bancroft and Warner.

Harris has been no better than Bancroft and Warner.

Opening woes was one of the more prominent themes in the Ashes with Australia’s Marcus Harris being among the biggest culprits. The left-hander came in as a replacement for the equally abysmal Cameron Bancroft but failed to deliver the goods with just 58 runs in his six innings at an average of less than 10.

He was also shocking on the field and was guilty of dropping some important catches including that of Ben Stokes at Headingley moments before the England all-rounder turned the game around in dramatic style.

HITS

Steve Smith

Steve Smith in a league of his own.

Steve Smith in a league of his own.

The former Australia skipper was England’s public enemy No1 at the start of the series but he had the packed home support on its feet after he was dismissed for 23 in the second innings at the Oval. It was Smith’s lowest total in the series but the standing ovation was for what came before with the Aussie single-handedly leading the visitors’ charge with the bat.

A tally of 774 runs at an average of over 110 in a single series despite missing the Headingley clash are staggering figures in any circumstances. To do it after missing nearly 16 months of Test cricket due to the Newlands ball-tampering episode is even more commendable. He’s ended all debates over who is the No1 Test batsman in the world.

Pat Cummins

Cummins has been Australia's hero with the ball.

Cummins has been Australia’s hero with the ball.

While it was the No1 batsman who led Australia’s charge, No1 bowler Pat Cummins played his part as well in retaining the urn for the visitors. Despite not picking up a five-wicket haul in any innings, Cummins still managed to top the wicket-taking charts by some distance due to his remarkable consistency.

The Australia pacer’s 29 wickets came at an average of less than 20 but it was his fitness and longevity which caught the eye. Only off-spinner Nathan Lyon bowled more overs than Cummins among bowlers from both sides with the quick pushing through to play all five Tests in the series.

Ben Stokes

Stokes (15)

England’s World Cup 2019 hero was the man for the hosts in the Ashes as well with the all-rounder helping them pull off the most incredible feat at Headingley with an all-time great Test innings of 135 not out.

Another excellent ton at Lord’s and two further fifties meant that Stokes finished only behind Smith in the run-scoring charts. He was a livewire on the field as usual and made some important bowling contributions as well including his marathon spell in the second innings at Headingley.

SURPRISES

Marnus Labuschagne

A fine Ashes debut for Labuschagne.

A fine Ashes debut for Labuschagne.

The right-handed batsman only got a chance in the Ashes due to the concussion blow suffered by Steve Smith at Lord’s but what a replacement he turned out to be! Labuschagne struck four fifties on the bounce to announce his arrival as a Test player and he was among the only three batsmen to average more than 50 in the series.

The 25-year-old looked like a proper Test batsman with his compact technique and his performances have ensured that he will be a mainstay for the team for some time to come.

His part-time leg spin proved to be an excellent threat and was pivotal in Australia clinching the decisive win at Old Trafford.

Jack Leach

Leach made quite the impact in the Ashes for England.

Leach made quite the impact in the Ashes for England.

Some debut Ashes series it turned out to be for Jack Leach with the England left-armed spinner establishing himself as a pivotal figure in no time. The 28-year-old replaced Moeen Ali from the second Test onwards and showed plenty of gumption and fight straight away.

His unbeaten innings of one at Headingley in the last-wicket partnership with Stokes at Headingley has already turned him into a cult hero in England while he wasn’t shabby with the ball either with 12 wickets in his four appearances at an average considerably better than his Australia counterpart Lyon.

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