David Warner. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
David Warner. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Warner debacle officially worst ever

AUSTRALIA deserves to celebrate long and hard after retaining the Ashes but there are a handful of players who will be downing beers with nagging worries in the back of their minds about where their careers are heading.

It was a case of feast or famine for the Aussie batting line-up in England, leaving the order far from settled ahead of the next Aussie summer.

This is how each player rated over the course of the five-Test series.

DAVID WARNER: 1/10

Made history for all the wrong reasons by becoming the first opener to score eight single-figure scores in a Test series. Warner was Stuart Broad's bunny, getting out to him seven times, and he mustered just 95 runs in 10 innings at an average of 9.5.

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That return was the worst ever by an opening batsman who has batted at least 10 times in a series - outdoing New Zealand's John D'Arcy, who scored 136 runs against England in 1958. Surely he didn't plan on replacing his former nicknames (Bull and the Reverend) with the WOAT?

MARCUS HARRIS: 1

Failed to make the most of his chance after replacing Cameron Bancroft in the third Test. Harris made plenty of starts last home summer without getting a big score and questions still remain over his pedigree at Test level after scoring 58 runs at an average of 9.66 in three matches. Harris also dropped a catch and fluffed a run-out at Headingley, and dropped Joe Denly at The Oval before the England star made his highest score of the series.

MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE: 8

Questions over why Labuschagne was even in the Test set-up last year were raised but they've been quashed this series as he emerged as a long-term lock in the Aussie line-up. Looked far more composed than his more experienced teammates and was a rock at No. 3, scoring 353 runs at 50.42 after being brought into the side as Steve Smith's concussion substitute at Lord's.

STEVE SMITH: 10

Take a bow. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Take a bow. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The numbers speak for themselves. One double century, two tons and two half centuries in four matches resulted in 774 runs at the ludicrous average of 110.57.

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Without him, Australia doesn't leave England with the urn. The man is superhuman and his phenomenal performances this series will be remembered forever.

MATTHEW WADE: 7

Started brightly with a century in Birmingham and finished with another ton in his final innings of the series but didn't pass 50 in between those knocks. Wade was involved in some valuable partnerships in Leeds and Manchester, but will be ruing the fact he couldn't kick on with more of his starts. Big things were expected after Wade was recalled to the Test team on the back of career-best form on the domestic front and while he would have loved to finish with an average greater than 33.7, he was solid when he needed to be.

MITCHELL MARSH: 7

Only played one game at The Oval but starred with the ball taking five wickets in the first innings and two in the second. Marsh couldn't produce his best with the bat, scoring 17 and 24, but the main reason he was included in the XI was to provide relief for an overworked pack of fast bowlers and he did exactly that.

TIM PAINE (C): 7

Odd tactics paved the way for Ben Stokes to win England the third Test and he put his troops on the back foot by bowling first at The Oval, but Paine was tasked with bringing back the Ashes and that's exactly what he's done. Runs haven't always flowed and but the overall achievement of retaining the urn means the captain can leave England with a smile on his face. An Ashes series win looked a mile away after the South African scandal last year and much of the credit for the success of this tour has to go to Paine's strong leadership.

PAT CUMMINS: 9.5

Australia's ironman played all five Tests and was relentless for the entire series. A genuine freak who made life miserable for England's batsmen, he took 29 wickets for the series at the incredible average of 19.72 - giving him the most wickets in an Ashes series in England by an Aussie fast bowler since Glenn McGrath took 32 in 2001. Cummins was undoubtedly Australia's best player alongside Steve Smith but unluckily, he finished with the most wickets ever in a Test series without grabbing five scalps in an innings.

JOSH HAZLEWOOD: 8.5

A shock omission from the first Test but was brilliant after that, bowling beautifully in tandem with partner in crime Pat Cummins. Arguably in career-best form, Hazlewood's unwavering accuracy saw him pick up 20 wickets at an average of 21.95.

PETER SIDDLE: 6.5

Finished on an underwhelming note at The Oval but did his job in the first two Tests. Was called upon to play a defensive role and held up an end to perfection at Edgbaston and Lord's. Didn't pick up a bag of wickets but in two of his three matches, the veteran seamer vindicated his surprise selection.

NATHAN LYON: 6.5

Spun Australia to victory at Edgbaston with six wickets in the second innings and took three scalps in the first innings at Lord's, but didn't really make his mark again until taking three wickets in the second innings at The Oval. Struggled with a finger injury picked up in Manchester and played second fiddle to the fast bowlers for the most part.

CAMERON BANCROFT: 2

Dropped after managing just 44 runs in four innings, the returning opener failed to convince Aussie fans he's capable of succeeding at Test level as his first series since the South African cheating scandal went awry.

MITCHELL STARC: 6

Not the role he wanted. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Not the role he wanted. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Only got the one game at Old Trafford and took three crucial wickets in the first innings. He wasn't able to blast out the England tail - as he's an expert in doing - when things got tight late on day five, but Starc still showed why he's such a potent weapon among Australia's healthy fast bowling stocks.

JAMES PATTINSON: 6

Just wearing the baggy green again was an achievement for Pattinson, who has endured a horrible run with injury. He showed glimpses of his fiery best in Birmingham and Leeds but a best effort of two wickets in an innings suggests he wasn't the damaging force he can be when he gets closer to full fitness. The Victorian will undoubtedly be an even more serious threat when he has more miles in his legs by the time the Australian summer rolls around.

News Corp Australia

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