Australia managed to retain the Ashes in England in the five-match series, courtesy splendid performances from Steven Smith, Pat Cummins and Marnus Labuschagne.
After winning the fourth Test of the Ashes series at Manchester, it meant that Australia for the first time managed to retain the Urn in England.
Here are some of the reasons why Australia managed to retain the Ashes
Steven Smith’s incredible run of form
This Ashes series will remembered as Smith’s incredible form with the bat. Smith was banned for almost 12 months before coming into this series.
Steven Smith once again proved that he is Australia’s premier player in Test cricket. The 30-year old has accumulated 774 runs at an average of 110.57 with three centuries to his name. He produced his highest score of 211 runs against England at Old Trafford in Manchester. Smith’s twin centuries in the Ashes opener at Birmingham proved to be a big moment in the context of the five-match series.
With the opening pair of David Warner and Marcus Harris failing to score runs in the five-match series, the pressure was on Steven Smith to deliver the bulk of the runs for Australia. He missed the third Test at Headingley after being struck on the helmet from a vicious Jofra Archer bouncer in the second Ashes Test played at Lords.
James Anderson ruled out of Ashes series
England’s premier bowler was ruled out of the Ashes series after suffering from a calf injury. His absence proved to be a big difference in this Ashes series. The likes of Chris Woakes, Craig Overton and others could have a big impact with the new-ball.
He bowled only four overs in the opening game at Birmingham and was ruled out of the Ashes series. Debutant Jofra Archer bowled exceedingly well for England in the Ashes series but a fully fit Anderson would have certainly increased potency and firepower in the bowling lineup.
Australia’s potent pace bowling quartet
With Justin Langer as coach for Australia, the visitors made adequate preparations for the five-match Test series. Pat Cummins certainly proved to be that he is Australia’s premier fast bowler in red-ball cricket after picking up 29 wickets in the five-match series. Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon also bowled well throughout the Ashes series and claimed 20 wickets each.
Excellent catching from Australia
England spilled a lot of chances while Australia were excellent with their fielding throughout the five-match Test series. Cameron Bancroft and Matthew Wade were superb fielding at short leg. England missed crucial chances which proved to be the difference between the two teams.
World Cup hangover
After winning their maiden World Cup on home soil, England certainly came into the Ashes series without any concrete game plans. The home side had no time to play any sort of red-ball cricket and came into the contest quite under prepared.
The selection of Jason Roy proved to be a big blunder as opening batsman struggled to score runs against the moving ball. On the other hand, England Captain Joe Root also failed to produce any runs in the first three games of the series.
In contrast, Australia players like Peter Siddle, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Bancroft were playing in the English County Championship in order to get ready for the Ashes series.