Cricket365's Team of the Ashes

Australia

The Australians were consistent, while England clinched the decisive moments, but in the end there was only room for the very best in our final XI.

<b>The Australians were consistent, while England clinched the decisive moments, but in the end there was only room for the very best in our final XI…</b>

The one constant amid an Australian top-order lined with unease, <b>Chris Rogers</b> vindicated his selection throughout the tour. Darren Lehmann's lone favourite, aside from Clarke, Rogers' selection will no longer be viewed as a temporary fix. The selectors, however, owe him a permanent opening partner come the return series.

One of the tougher picks for this hypothetical XI, <b>Joe Root</b> edges out captain Alastair Cook. Indeed, pickings were slim. The youngster had a lot to prove in the wake of Nick Compton's dismissal – and ultimately did so. His 37.55 average isn't becoming of a Test match opener, that big century at Lord's and fighting half-ton at The Oval showed there is more to come.

Jonathan Trott and Usman Khawaja, particularly the latter, were consistently – while <b>Shane Watson</b> owned the position in the final Test. True, it was a case of too little too late – but first-drop is surely a due compromise for a man pushed from opener to number six and back again lately.

Steven Smith fans have every right to feel aggrieved, but there are only so many spaces in one XI. This middle-order is lined with the distinct services of <b>Kevin Pietersen</b>, <b>Michael Clarke</b> and <b>Ian Bell</b>. We've taken the liberty of positioning Clarke at five and Bell at six, because – really – Jonny Bairstow and Phil Hughes were not justified contenders.

Neither Matt Prior nor <b>Brad Haddin</b> enjoyed memorable series. The Australian, however, outdid the Englishman – statistically. The record-breaking veteran Australian proved to himself and the country Matthew Wade is still second fiddle and – batting-wise – parted himself from Prior with two half-centuries.

Love or dislike him, there was no denying <b>Stuart Broad's</b> major influence. From not walking at Trent Bridge and Durham's demolition job to pinning Clarke and Watson with some entirely aggressive spells, Broad came of age. Needed, too, amid a reasonably quiet series for James Anderson.

Prolific overall, but particularly instrumental at key junctures in Nottingham and Chester-le-Street, <b>Graeme Swann</b> finished as the series' top wicket-taker. With Monty Panesar requiring tempering and Simon Kerrigan nurturing, Swann's role behind the scenes is going to be important ahead of the visit to Australia later this year.

The Aussies squeezed three consecutive Tests out of the injury-plagued <b>Ryan Harris</b>, and then four, and at the end of it all he clinched two dozen telling wickets – and the Player of the Series accolade. Presumably, this won't be to the detriment of his ambition at home later this year.

The workhorse and unsung hero of Australia's seam attack, little was made of <b>Peter Siddle's</b> unending contribution across all five Tests. Yes, harsh lessons were heeded after he was rested against South Africa in Perth. Much like Nathan Lyon, the final statistics don't paint the full picture, but the bowling ranks would have been considerably worse off without Siddle's toil.

<b>Final XI</b><br>1. Chris Rogers<br>2. Joe Root<br>3. Shane Watson<br>4. Michael Clarke (captain)<br>5. Kevin Pietersen<br>6. Ian Bell<br>7. Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper)<br>8. Stuart Broad<br>9. Graeme Swann<br>10. Peter Siddle<br>11. Ryan Harris

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