Cricket.com.au's combined Australia-England Ashes XI
Six Australians and five Englishmen make up cricket.com.au's best XI from the 2019 Ashes series
17 September 2019, 11:15 AM AEST
1) Rory Burns (England)
M: 5 | Inns: 10 | Runs: 390 | Ave: 39.00 | 100s: 1 | 50s: 2 | HS: 133
Rory Burns certainly has a style that is all his own, but he was a standout performer in a series where openers from both sides struggled to make any impact. While he was troubled by the short ball at times, Burns was resolute in the face of a relentless Australian attack and his century in the opening match of the series – his first at Test level – is a moment he’ll never forget.
2) Joe Denly (England)
M: 5 | Inns: 10 | Runs: 312 | Ave: 31.20 | 100s: 0 | 50s: 3 | HS: 94
It says a lot about the performances of all opening batsmen in this series that Joe Denly wins a spot with an average of just 31 and after just one match at the top of the order. The veteran right-hander posted three fifties in the series, including a crucial knock at No.4 in England’s record run chase at Headingley and then a Test best 94 in another victory at The Oval.
3) Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)
M: 4 | Inns: 7 | Runs: 353 | Ave: 50.42 | 100s: 0 | 50s: 4 | HS: 80
Australia’s super sub was their find of the series, the young right-hander posting four half-centuries to secure his spot for the start of the home summer. Labuschagne’s gritty knock having replaced Steve Smith for the second innings of the Lord’s Test showed plenty of determination, while his 74 on a bowler-friendly day at Headingley showed the technical skills and patience required to succeed at the top of the order.
4) Steve Smith (Australia)
M: 4 | Inns: 7 | Runs: 774 | Ave: 110.57 | 100s: 3 | 50s: 3 | HS: 211
What more is there to say? With more than 330 runs than any other player (having batted only seven times), this will forever be remembered as the Ashes series of Steve Smith. His defiant century on the opening day of the series set the tone for the entire campaign, and he only got better from there. And all this having not played Test cricket for 16 months. Superb.
5) Ben Stokes (England)
M: 5 | Inns: 10 | Runs: 441 | Ave: 55.12 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 2 | HS: 135no | Wkts: 8 | Ave: 45.25 | BBI: 3-56
We’ve had Botham’s Ashes in 1981, Flintoff’s Ashes in 2005 and this was very nearly Stokes’ Ashes in 2019. The allrounder’s performance in the third Test of the series was one of the greatest in the history of Ashes cricket, not just for his barely-believable century in the fourth innings, but also his tireless spell with the ball late on day two. This man is undoubtedly a superstar and crucial to the success of this England team.
6) Matthew Wade (Australia)
M: 5 | Inns: 10 | Runs: 337 | Ave: 33.70 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 0 | HS: 117
It was an inconsistent return to the national side for Matthew Wade, but two Test centuries in the UK in a difficult series for batting is worthy of a spot in this side. The left-hander had all but given up on playing for his country again, but made an irresistible case for a recall in domestic cricket and delivered with two memorable hundreds that should see him retain a middle-order batting spot for the start of the Test summer.
7) Tim Paine (Australia) (c) (wk)
M: 5 | Inns: 10 | Runs: 180 | Ave: 20.00 | 100s: 0 | 50s: 1 | HS: 58 | Ct: 20
This series was far from Tim Paine’s best performance at international level, but being the first Australian captain to retain the urn in the UK in almost two decades – and the below-par performances of his opposite numbers Joe Root (captain) and Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper) – means he takes the gloves and the leadership in this side. The way Paine has transformed a broken team into one that has achieved historic success in an away Ashes tour has earned him a place in Australian cricket history.
8) Pat Cummins (Australia)
M: 5 | Overs: 211 | Maidens: 61 | Wkts: 29 | Ave: 19.62 | Econ: 2.69 | BBI: 4-32 | BBM: 7-103
In a series where the quicks dominated, Pat Cummins was a clear standout to affirm his status as the best fast bowler in the world. The right-armer’s versatility makes his a dream for captain Tim Paine; he can pitch the ball up and swing it, move it off a length or bowl some searing short balls into the body of the opposition batsmen. The fact he took more wickets than anyone while maintaining the best economy rate of the series (he sent down 61 maidens!) underlines his class.
9) Jofra Archer (England)
M: 4 | Overs: 156 | Maidens: 34 | Wkts: 22 | Ave: 20.27 | Econ: 2.85 | BBI: 6-45 | BBM: 8-85
It’s hard to remember the last time a bowler made more of an impact in a debut series than Jofra Archer. The right-armer produced some of the most memorable moments of the series, with his lightning spells at Lord’s and The Oval bookending days where he pulled his pace back, pitched the ball up and ripped through Australia’s top order. Joe Root concedes how best to utilise his new pace weapon is a work in progress, but it’s exciting to think how far the 24-year-old can go.
10) Stuart Broad (England)
M: 5 | Overs: 175.1 | Maidens: 29 | Wkts: 23 | Ave: 26.65 | Econ: 3.49 | BBI: 5-86 | BBM: 6-177
Without his long-time pace partner Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad produced arguably the greatest of his many brilliant Ashes performances in England to ensure Australia never got off to a quick start with the bat. The right-armer’s hold over David Warner has been well documented but he troubled most of Australia’s top order – except the irrepressible Steve Smith – and was particularly dangerous against left-handers.
11) Josh Hazlewood (Australia)
M: 4 | Overs: 161.2 | Maidens: 43 | Wkts: 20 | Ave: 21.85 | Econ: 2.70 | BBI: 5-30 | BBM: 9-115
Controversially left out for the opening Test of the series having also missed the World Cup, Josh Hazlewood unleashed months of frustration on England’s batsmen when given a chance at Lord’s. The right-armer formed a potent partnership with Pat Cummins and his figures of 5-30 in England’s first innings of the third Test helped destroy the hosts for a record low score of 67.
12th man) Nathan Lyon (Australia)
M: 5 | Overs: 242.3 | Maidens: 44 | Wkts: 20 | Ave: 33.40 | Econ: 2.75 | BBI: 6-49 | BBM: 9-161
We love Nathan Lyon and wouldn’t normally pick a side without a frontline spinner, but how could we possibly leave out any of those four star quicks listed above? Australia’s off-spinner was the match-winner on the final day of the first Test and while he didn’t have it all his own way throughout the series, a return of 20 wickets in five Tests – plus a handful of dropped catches and missed reviews off his bowling – is an excellent return.