The Ashes: Citrus Bob Sums Up The Ashes

The 2017-18 Ashes went as expected with most pundits and experts being correct in their assumption that Australia would probably win 5 zip or 4 – 1 with no matches being drawn.

This was probably one of the most one-sided series there has ever been with the Australian bowling attack far too resolute in their performances and their batsmen far more consistent than their English foes.

The ferocity of the Australian bowling machine was far too good for the Englishmen with not one of them taking the bowling by the scruff of the neck at any time during the series. The English batsmen promised so much but just failed to deliver consistency in their application.

The fact that the four top wicket-takers were all Australian speaks volumes for the attack with all four taking twenty wickets or more in the series.

In batting, the Australians, led by the brilliant SPD Smith completely dominated the five games although Cook’s performance in Melbourne was superb.

In summary Australia were just far too good in every aspect of the series.

This is how we ranked each and every player for their respective team.


  1. STEVE SMITH superb performance with the bat in every game. Was the difference between the two teams. Dropped a couple of catches and could have relaxed a little both on and off the field.
  2. NATHAN LYON a great all-round effort. Could not be collared with his bowling and his fielding helped win matches.
  3. PAT CUMMINS the go-to man. Took the most wickets in the series and always looked in control. Also chimed in with some sensible batting when needed. Can only get better.
  4. SHAUN MARSH the real surprise packet of the series. Who would have thought he would make two centuries and help win Test matches? In for the long haul now.
  5. MITCH STARC the spearhead of the Australian attack whose unerring accuracy and fire kept the Englishmen on the backfoot throughout the four matches he played in.
  6. DAVID WARNER not quite at his belligerent best but still gave his team some fine starts throughout the five matches.
  7. JOSH HAZLEWOOD great control and accuracy throughout the series. Kept a tight rein on the batsmen at all times.
  8. TIM PAINE apart from a dropped catch early in Brisbane kept superbly throughout and hardly put a foot wrong. Made some handy runs as well. In the team to stay.
  9. MITCH MARSH came into the team for the third Test and showed he had improved his batting but did not take a wicket with his bowling and will need to do so to maintain his position. Two centuries showed the depth in the Australian batting.
  10. USMAN KHAWAJA never convinced until his beautiful century in Test five. Needs more consistency in his game to make #3 his own.
  11. CAMERON BANCROFT after a solid innings in Brisbane failed to convince anyone that he was the answer as Warner’s partner.
  12. PETER HANDSCOMB his technique let him down in the two Tests he played. Fielded brilliantly and was missed in this department.  Will return.
  13. JACKSON BIRD was thrown to the Lions in Melbourne on a shocking wicket and can’t be blamed for his performance.


  1. JONNY BAIRSTOW never gave up in any match and set a fine example with his run and chase in the field. Should have been at number 6 throughout the series.
  2. JIMMY ANDERSON the 35-year-old was easily the best of the English bowlers and looked the most dangerous. Had to carry the can by himself.
  3. JOE ROOT captained the side well despite little help from senior players and others. Don’t blame him for the result. Came good with the bat in the last two games.
  4. DAWID MALAN the best of the newcomers and hit a fine century but like the others lacked consistency. Is the batsman most likely for the future.
  5. CRAIG OVERTON looked like a promising all-rounder until injured, with both ball and bat.
  6. ALISTAIR COOK one swallow does not make a summer and despite his magnificent 244n.o. in Melbourne, did not trouble the bowlers at all.
  7. CHRIS WOAKES like Overton, showed promise until injury sidelined him for the last Test.
  8. STUART BROAD only once did he look like the bowler of old and his batting was terrible. Hard to see he was a player with a Test century. Lost it completely.
  9. JAMES VINCE like Stoneman, showed great promise and class until he had made 20 runs. Then was “easy meat” for the Australian bowlers. Could be good.
  10. MARK STONEMAN ditto Vince although not as classical. Overall a disappointment.
  11. JAKE BALL was not fit for the first Test and should not have been selected in front of either Woakes or Overton.
  12. MASON CRANE showed some promise for such a young leg-spinner. Took a hammering but at least had the batsmen guessing. Should be persevered with.
  13. MOEEN ALI had a disastrous tour and that says it all.


Who will Australia pick for South Africa?

After a very successful Ashes series the selectors will be feeling cock-a-hoop but they still have a couple of problems in making up the fourteen.  The need for a consistent opening bat, another spinner and a middle-order must be of concern.

My team would be as follows :- Smith, Warner, S.Marsh, M.Marsh, Khawaja, Paine, Handscomb, Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood, Lyon, Bird, Swepson, Renshaw.

Can’t wait for the series to start in South Africa as the Proteas’ attack will be ready and able to inflict damage on their quick pitches.

About Bob Utber

At 75 years of age, 'Citrus Bob' Utber is doing what he wanted to do as a 14-year old: writing, talking and watching sport. How good is that!?! He lives in Mildura with his wife and 'furry kids'; a labradoodle "Freddy Flintoff" and a groodle named "Chloe on Flinders".


  1. Thanks Citrus. Great reporting for the whole series.

  2. John Butler says:

    Onya CB. Great work through the summer.

    I thought Anderson was outstanding for the Poms in conditions that didn’t suit him at all.

    Credit to the four front line Oz bowlers for producing four wins on feather bed pitches.

    Oz batsmen had it pretty easy. Just getting picked was the equivalent of a winning lottery ticket. Bancroft tore his up before the prize draw.


  3. Colin Ritchie says:

    Thanks for your contributions Citrus, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments throughout the Ashes Series.

  4. Luke Reynolds says:

    Citrus, nailed it with your player ratings. Thanks for the top notch coverage all series.

  5. E.regnans says:

    G’day Citrus.
    I’m with you and all the others (above).
    Thank you for taking us all to the games- to the feeling of being at the games. It’s a special skill you have there. In addition to your cricket nous.
    All the best.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Bewdy Citrus. I’ve really enjoyed getting the rails run on your regular contributions this summer.

  7. Great stuff, Citrus.

    I have enjoyed your reviews throughout the series.
    Thank you so much.

  8. Your love of test cricket shines through in every post CB. Raging against the dying of the light. Great article on the BBC Sport website about difficulties with winning away in test cricket and other sports.

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Thanks Citrus personally only slightly minor differences re player ratings,Anderson lower didn’t do enough when the series was on the line and pretty obvious he didn’t agree with the decision to insert in Adelaide he made that painfully obvious very early in the test match which made the decision even more mind boggling ( totally agree re lack of support tho ) and Warner higher his consistency and batting so much time was very important.Interesting re Lyon while he had a fantastic summer and was so vital containing as well he dominated left handers but struggled re dismissing right handers

  10. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Selection for SA for mine Sayers is a carbon copy of Philander and must tour thank you

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