The Ashes 2019 turned out to be an interesting series as both the teams finished with two victories in their bags. This was the first time that an Ashes series was drawn since 1972 when Australia levelled the series in England. Australia retained the urn under Tim Paine but could not manage to win the series.
Australia, the visiting side and England, the hosts are arch-rivals in world cricket and, thus, we enjoyed great battle on and off the field, especially Smith versus Archer. The cricket fans witnessed the brilliance of Steven Smith and Ben Stokes with the bat and also enjoyed top-notch bowling from both teams throughout the series.
David Warner, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Usman Khawaja, Tim Paine, and a few others failed but some players also performed very well. In this article, we take a look at the combined XI, comprising of the best eleven players from both sides.
Rory Burns: Rory Burns, the best opening batsman of the Ashes 2019 has had a breakthrough series for his career. There were doubts over him before the series but the 29-year-old scored his maiden Test century on his Ashes debut and made his case stronger to get a long run. Averaging exactly 39, the southpaw from Surrey accumulated 390 runs with two fifties and one hundred in his first Ashes series. Burns has also ensured that England don’t have to look for any other player for opening, at least one spot.
Joe Denly: Openers have had a horrible time in this series and amidst of all this Joe Denly was asked to open the innings to safeguard Jason Roy from the new Dukes ball. The 33-year-old batsman who failed to convert the starts at the fourth position was impressive at the opening spot. The Kent batsman who missed a well-deserved ton in his last inning scored 312 runs with three half-centuries to his name.
Whilst the batting unit of England struggled in the Ashes, Denly along with Burns provided solid contributions to their side on most of the occasions.
Joe Root: The English captain Joe Root did not have the best of the times both as a batsman and as a skipper in this series. Despite not having a good run, the right-handed gets a place in this combined XI as he was the third-best batsman for his side. The Yorkshire-batsman who could not score even a single hundred in this series scored 325 runs with four half-centuries. Although Root failed to play big knocks, he made handy contributions at times, but surely could have done better.
Steven Smith: Steve Smith, the man who owned this Ashes is the next player to feature in this combined XI. The 30-year-old batsman was in incredible form this series as he piled 774 runs in just seven innings. The former Australian skipper who faced 1196 balls had an unbelievable average of over 110 in this series. The right-handed batsman from Sydney was the soul of Australia’s batting unit and had only one failure in the entire series. Smith carried the burden of whole batting line-up on his shoulders and made sure that his team had enough in the bank, most of the times. He was also awarded the Compton-Miller Medal as ‘Player of the Series’.
Marnus Labuschagne: Marnus Labuschagne, the breakout star of the Ashes 2019 has had a series to remember. Labuschagne who was the second-best Australian batsmen had earlier topped the runs chart in his debut county season, playing for Glamorgan. The 25-year-old who made his Ashes debut as a concussion substitute of Steven Smith went on to score 353 runs with an average of above 50. Smith struggled to find a solid partner in the first two matches and couldn’t have a better partner than his own mirror image – Labuschagne. The leg-spinner who bowled just 18 overs picked only one wicket in 4 innings.
Ben Stokes: The next name in this list is none other than the king of this English summer – Benjamin Andrew Stokes. The second-best batsman of the Ashes 2019 who single-handedly kept the hopes of the hosts in the Ashes alive with his inhuman effort at Headingley, amassed 441 runs with two centuries and two fifties. His teammates like Root and Bairstow failed to play big knocks but Stokes took the responsibility of scoring runs in the prominent series. The 28-year-old also picked up 8 wickets in 7 innings and troubled the batsmen whenever England needed him to. The English all-rounder bagged the ‘Player of the Series’ award from England’s side for his brilliant performance throughout the series.
Jonny Bairstow: Like openers, wicketkeepers (Bairstow and Paine) also did not have a good time in this series. The English wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow who was criticized for his poor run in the whites recently was pretty average with the willow throughout the series. The 29-year-old batsman could manage a mere aggregate of just 214 runs with a poor average of about 24.
The wicketkeeper from Yorkshire had 22 dismissals to his name including 20 catches and 2 stumpings.
With Ben Foakes who had a good time in his debut series already in the waiting list, Bairstow’s place in the Test squad of England will be under scrutiny.
Pat Cummins: As much as Steven Smith deserves credit for the good run of the visitors in the series, the Australian pace attack was too good to be ignored, especially Pat Cummins. The number one Test bowler was the most successful bowler in the Ashes 2019 with 29 wickets to his name. Cummins troubled the English batsmen with his speed and accuracy. He was almost unplayable for the batsmen when he swung the red-cherry while bowling over 90 mph. The Sydney-born Cummins was the only paceman to bowl 1000 balls in this series, which shows how relentlessly he bowled for the sake of his team.
Jofra Archer: Jofra Chioke Archer who made his Test debut in this Ashes was expected to do well before, and he did not disappoint either. The 24-year-old who was overused by his skipper at times amazed the cricket fans with his express-pace and nasty bouncers. His battle with Steven Smith earned a lot of limelight. Jofra bowled really well in the absence of England’s spearhead – James Anderson. The Barbados-born bowler who had a bowling average of 20.27 struck 22 wickets in just 4 matches.
Stuart Broad: In the absence of England’s ace pacer James Anderson, his partner – Stuart Broad stepped up for his team. The experienced bowler was impeccable with the new ball as he picked up the wickets 11 times, especially David Warner whom he dismissed in 7 innings. The right-arm pacer used the angle brilliantly against the left-handed batters. The 33-year-old pacer from Nottingham finished the Ashes scalping 23 wickets with two 4-wicket hauls and 5-wicket haul.
Josh Hazlewood: Although Pat Cummins was the face of the Australian bowling attack, his partner in crime Josh Hazlewood also came up with a top-notch show in the series. The right-arm pacer did not get an opportunity to play the first Test but he didn’t look back once he got a chance. Although Hazlewood doesn’t bowl too quick, he often made the life of batsmen tough by using the conditions pretty well. The Aussie bowler scalped 20 wickets with an excellent average of less than 22 in just 4 matches.