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Ratings: Why Poms wish ‘Extras’ could open the batting

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Who starred for the Aussies? And who were the worst culprits behind England’s collapse? Check out our player ratings to see how the Boxing Day Test was won and lost. AUSTRALIAMARCUS HARRIS 7.5Tough and tenacious little opener had his middle finger glued back together three times and then raised that finger to all the knockers who had been calling for his head. Played and missed 20 times en route to a gritty 76, but Harris was the glue in Australia’s innings on a grassy pitch that no batsman enjoyed. Lock ‘Harry’ in for the fourth and fifth Tests.Catch every moment of The Ashes live and ad-break free during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.DAVID WARNER 6Warner’s hour of power on Sunday evening made England’s already-disastrous day one collapse seem so, so much worse. The blazing batsman took just 36 balls to outscore 10 Englishmen before his ODI-mode abruptly finished against all odds.MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE 1The only explanation for Labuschagne’s score of one run was that he was paying tribute to his elevation to No.1 on the ICC Player Rankings last week. It was the first time Labushagne had scored fewer than 47 runs in a first innings since replacing Steve Smith as a concussion substitute at Lord’s in 2019.STEVE SMITH 2The master batsman looked very, very edgy at the MCG – a ground he has made four centuries at. You wonder whether the luxury of Labuschagne at No.3 has affected Smith’s tempo recently because he usually comes to the crease later on and at times with less to do.TRAVIS HEAD 5If you put money on Head to score between 15-40 runs in his Test career then, like the Aussies, you could probably take half the week off. Installed vice-captain in the second Test suggests the 27-year-old is a future leader of this team and that aggressive 152 at the Gabba set the tone for the summer.CAMERON GREEN 6Here’s a quirk – Green averages 12.7 runs in first innings and 66.3 in the second innings because his logical mind likes to know exactly what he needs to do. But Green looks every bit a 145km bowling allrounder who fits in alongside Australia’s big three. The 22-year-old’s seven Ashes wickets have cost just 77 runs and in gully he boasts big hands and throws himself around like Dean Cox.ALEX CAREY 4Mike Hussey made his Test debut at 30 as a textbook left-hander who was beautiful to watch. Carey made his Test debut at 30 as a textbook left-hander who bears a resemblance to Mr Cricket. Tim Paine’s shock resignation cost Australia a valued leader. But you have to wonder … has Carey made Australia a better team?PAT CUMMINS 8Won the first toss of his career, bowled first on a greentop and knocked over England’s top three inside the first session on Boxing Day. Summed up why Perfect Pat is, well, perfect. The MCG ground announcer repeatedly introduced Cummins as “YOUR CAPTAIN!” and the 140,671 who attended this Test went nuts. Popularity is through the roof and you won’t find a classier yet wicket-less 10 overs than Cummins sent down in the second innings.MITCHELL STARC 8.5The man who has unofficially been runner-up for player of the match in the past two Tests lost his run-up coming out of quarantine at the T20 World Cup. Starc sweated through some hot days with senior assistant coach Andrew McDonald desperately trying to recover it and when he ran through Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan to get on a hat-trick the ‘G was shaking for the first time since Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti booted five goals on Anzac Day. Deserves to be leading the player of the series award right now.NATHAN LYON 7Lyon’s 14.1 overs (3-36) was his fewest in six years – back when Australia was rolled for 60 in 18.3 overs, losing to England by an innings and 78 runs. Boy, doesn’t that seem a lifetime ago. Only three times in Lyon’s 103 Tests has he been bowled less, and that was simply a credit to the devastating quicks at the MCG.SCOTT BOLAND 9Boland privately thought he started the summer behind Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc, Pattinson, Richardson, Neser and Steketee … and he has finished the year on top of the world. Melbourne’s most popular man (just ask Bay 13) didn’t even have a bat sponsor four weeks ago, but ever since selector Tony Dodemaide called at 5.30pm on Friday with the Christmas present of a lifetime – a baggy green – it has been a magical ride for Australia’s oldest fast bowling debutant in 71 years. Not bad for a porky batting allrounder from Parkdale.ENGLAND HASEEB HAMEED 1Runs column from the past two Tests – 6, 0, 0, 7 – looks more like NSW coronavirus numbers. The 24-year-old who trains in a funky style – such as batting while hopping on one leg – desperately tried to play ultra-cautiously and leave the ball better, but left the MCG with seven runs and his future clouded.ZAK CRAWLEY 2Stood tall physically at 196cm, but not figuratively. Then again, who could blame him? The 23-year-old had not played a game in almost 100 days and one former Test opener thought the way Crawley set up he looked better suited to the middle order, and with No.3 Malan a quasi-opener anyway suggested England shuffle its order. Crawley’s on-drive for three to get off the mark against Cummins was a settler. Then, Cummins and Starc unsettled him.DAWID MALAN 2.5Came out facing hand grenades and Malan’s golden globe delivered England its 20th player to make a duck in 2021. But Malan is the man who trusts the bounce in Australian pitches the best and it remains staggering he was cut so swiftly after that brutal 140 in Perth four years ago. That stands as Malan’s sole century and his average of 29.5 is less than half of Australia’s No.3.JOE ROOT 7What hurt worse – copping a 135.9km Cummins delivery to the groin one week after that agonising double-blow at Adelaide Oval or finishing the calendar year of his life two runs shy of Viv Richards (1710) and 80 adrift of Mohammed Yousef (1788) in third position? It is a wonder England medicos didn’t book Root in for an X-ray on his back at last week’s hospital visit given he has been carrying this team for so long. Faultless 50 in the first innings before a foolish back-foot punch that he didn’t need to play at.BEN STOKES 4England’s wildcard warrior has gone 5, 14, 34, 12, 25 and 11 this Ashes. Perhaps Stokes is more a player who can, from time to time, play a memorable innings, rather than a genuine Test batsman. But will it be Stokes tossing the coin in Antigua next March?JONNY BAIRSTOW 5Bairstow’s 391 runs for 2021 ranked fourth for England – behind Joe Root (1708), Rory Burns (530) and, drum roll please … extras (412). Was reverting to the 32-year-old really the way forward?JOS BUTTLER 2Root declared Buttler’s 207-ball resistance on day five in Adelaide would change the complexion of his Test game. Get prepared for the steeled, defensive-minded reincarnation of this white-ball destroyer. Then, 11 balls later, Buttler danced down the MCG and flicked one T20-style straight to Scott Boland at deep midwicket. Oh boy. Throw in a missed stumping on Marcus Harris and it was far from silver service.MARK WOOD 7Like Malan, unlikely to ever experience home sickness and loves to stamp his passport in Australia and South Africa in particular. Wood’s rocket arm averaged 147km on day two, maxing out at a ferocious 151km. Grew up as a No.3 batsman before a growth spurt at 16 but with the ball he averages 40 at home and a sharp 25 away. Tell us again, England, why Wood didn’t play in Adelaide?OLLIE ROBINSON 6The next Stuart Broad claimed his place in history by delivering England its record-equalling 54th duck for the calendar year, matching its own total from 1998. The Aussies did a lot of pre-series homework on this bouncy 28-year-old and it looks like England might’ve found one. Perhaps he sticks to pace, though, instead of the three overs of off-spin he whizzed through in Adelaide.JACK LEACH 3Root’s tactics came under fire when he brought Leach on after lunch on day two and the pressure the quicks had been building was swiftly released. Has England kicked this bloke’s confidence out of him? Targeted at the Gabba, punted at Adelaide … will it be Dom Bess in Sydney?JAMES ANDERSON 8Cricket’s version of Tom Brady and perhaps ‘Anderson Wines’ is a shiraz label Jimmy should trademark because at 39 he is somehow ripening with age. Class bowler who still leads this attack and will overtake Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh at the SCG when he plays his 169th Test, second only to Sachin Tendulkar (200). Got Warner when a wicket looked unlikely, bowled Smith and jagged 1-1 from a six-over spell, with the sole run coming from the first ball off a dropped catch.



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