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Australia's top performers in Ashes: Clarke leads from the front

August 26, 2013 09:46 IST

Australia's top performers in Ashes: Clarke leads from the front

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Bikash Mohapatra

Australia might have surrendered the urn for a third successive time but by putting up a fight in four of the five Tests they managed to restore some credibility.

If nothing else, their performance in England will definitely serve as a morale-booster when they host the return leg in November.

We take a look at a few players who made the most significant contribution to the Australian cause in England.

Michael Clarke

The captain led from the front. Well, literally.

Michael Clarke was Australia’s best batsman in the series – ending with an average of 47.62 – even though he finished as the second highest scorer – with 381 runs, behind Shane Watson (418).

His 187 in the third Test at Old Trafford remained the highest individual score, on either side, in the series.

Besides, Clarke also deserves mention for mobilising the limited resources available at his disposal quite well.


Image: Michael Clarke
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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Injury free Harris finished with 24 wickets

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Ryan Harris

Had Australia won this series, Ryan Harris would definitely have been a serious contender for the man of the series honours.

Having missed the opening Test at Trent Bridge, the 33-year-old made an immediate impact in the first innings at Lord’s, picking figures of five for 72.

Harris was consistent throughout the series, picking 24 wickets. The fourth Test at Chester-le-Street had him taking a match haul of nine wickets, including a career-best seven for 117 in the second innings.

No points for guessing, he was named Australia’s player of the series.

More importantly, prone to break downs, Harris managed to keep himself injury-free in the series. Another credible achievement that.




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Smith adapted himself well

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Steven Smith

One of the most exciting players to have emerged out of the Australian factory in recent times, Steven Smith always had the potential.

If there was one thing he lacked, it was patience.

Though among the runs at the outset, Smith’s impatience had him fritter away good starts on more occasions than one. However, as the series progressed the 24-year-old adapted himself well to the demands of the situation.

A total of 345 runs, including a maiden hundred – 138 not out in the fifth and final Test at The Oval, underlined his importance as a significant member of this Australian side and definitely a player to watch out for in the coming years.

Not to forget, Smith also made decent contributions with the ball and was a livewire on the field. 




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Siddle picked up 17 wickets

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Peter Siddle

If there is one word that best describes Peter Siddle it is diligent.

The 28-year-old, with his workmanlike approach, was one of his team’s most-consistent performers.

A haul of 17 wickets, including a fiver in the series opener at Trent Bridge, further bolstered his reputation as one of the key members of this Australian side.

Besides, Siddle made decent contributions with the bat lower down the order.




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Rogers' form improved as the series progressed

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Chris Rogers

Having struggled somewhat at the start, Chris Rogers improved significantly as the series progressed.

An aggressive 84 in the third Test at Old Trafford was followed by a patient 110, his maiden hundred,  in the fourth match at Chester-le-Street.

Rogers shouldered the responsibility of an opener well, even if his partners kept changing.

An aggregate of 367 runs (@ 40.77) ensured he finished among the top run scorers in the series.

N.B. James Faulkner was impressive both with the ball and the bat on his Test debut at The Oval, the same Test also witnessing an otherwise erratic Shane Watson redeeming himself to an extent with a brilliant hundred (176), an innings that helped him win the man-of-the-match honours.




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