Just a few months after being thrashed 3-0 in England, Australia have regained the Ashes in an equally convincing manner, at home. The personnel on the two sides are pretty much the same, but it is the performances that have differed. Here’s a look at the men chiefly responsible for Australia reclaiming the Ashes.
Mitchell Johnson: Without doubt, the left-handed paceman has made the biggest impact on the series. He was the one who drew the first blood for Australia with his magnificent nine-wicket spell at Brisbane. Johnson was superb at Adelaide as well, grabbing seven wickets in the first innings of the Test. At Perth, he came up with another six-wicket match haul to play a massive part in Australia’s win. Johnson’s pace and bounce has been too hot for the Englishmen to handle. Apart from his superlative bowling, Johnson has also contributed with the bat at key moments.
David Warner: His contributions at the top of the order have been equally crucial for the hosts. Warner, who did not taste much success in England, has been extremely consistent in this series. He made 49 and 124 at Brisbane, 29 and 83 at Adelaide and 60 and 112 at Perth. As always, he has scored his runs at a fair clip, allowing the Australian bowlers enough time to bowl out the opponents. Sides mostly perform well when one of their openers succeeds, and Warner’s show, and the series results, have reiterated the same.
Brad Haddin: This series has been a second coming for the Australian wicket-keeper in many ways. He faced some personal troubles as a result of which he was out of the side for a while. But, this series, he has been in particularly brilliant form. His 94 in the first innings at Brisbane rescued Australia from a precarious position, and his subsequent knocks were substantial as well. Haddin made 53 in the second innings. At Adelaide, he went one step ahead and compiled a magnificent hundred. He contributed a half-century in the win at Perth too.
Michael Clarke: The Aussie skipper failed in both the innings at Perth, but he had done more than enough to aid the team’s cause in the earlier two Tests. Clarke’s 113 at Brisbane allowed Australia to set England a massive total. At Adelaide, his smashing 148 was chiefly responsible for Australia putting up a 500 plus score on the board. Once they had done that, the Aussies were always going to be on top, which they were.
Nathan Lyon: He is no Shane Warne, but Lyon has done a job for the team, in a more efficient manner than was expected of him. In almost all the games, he chipped in with key wickets to take some pressure off the fast bowlers. He grabbed four wickets at Brisbane, two at Adelaide and four again at Perth. Impressively, a number of his dismissals were those of proper batsmen, giving more credibility his performances.
--By A Cricket Analyst