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The Ashes: Heroes and zeroes - From Mitchell Johnson's awesome comeback to Alastair Cook's dismal performance

Sunday, 5 January 2014 - 2:40pm IST Updated: Sunday, 5 January 2014 - 2:45pm IST | Agency: dna webdesk

A few men were zeroes a few months ago and a few heroes during the England leg of the Ashes, oh how the tables have turned. Zeroes are heroes today and vice-versa.
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Australia have managed a rout of England with their 5-0 win ensuring a whitewash with the Ashes win. The English team who were on top of their game at home were rattled by the pace of comeback man Mitchell Johnson who seemed to have the number of many opposition batsmen. While the English batsmen looked at sea against the pace and spin of the Australian bowlers.

Here's a look at the heroes first:

Mitchell Johnson

The pacer was returning to the team and made a roaring comeback as he single handedly tortured the English team

Searing pace earned him wickets and what Australia struggled to do in England a few months ago - get 10 wickets, they managed to do with ease. The man of the series, Johnson made the series his own.

Ben Stokes

England had very little to smile about in this series but Ben Stokes was a revelation as he scored his teams only ton and managed to get 5-wickets with the ball. 

The all-rounder was perhaps the only one who stood between Australia and the Ashes this time around.

Brad Haddin

Retirement talks were doing the rounds about Haddin who was returning back to the team after his daughter's battle with cancer. The wicket keeper was awesome with the gloves as well as the bat.

Often when Australia were suffering a collapse in the batting, Brad Haddin stood tall and delivered beautifully as he batted with the tail and helped it wag frustrating the English team.

If Johnson was the man with the ball, Haddin was the man with the bat who made a difference to the result of this series.

Stuart Broad

An injury to his foot courtesy a fast ball from Johnson could not stop Stuart Broad from playing the entire series. On heavy pain killers, the pacer who is considered by many as a future England Test captain, Broad did hid best as he got wickets and made handy runs.

Five wicket hauls and important wickets at opportune moments is what Broad gave, but much like Ryan Harris in England a few months ago who had no support from his teammates and struggled fighting a lone war, Broad was in the same situation this time around.

Ryan Harris

The pacer was the only Australian who stood between England and the Ashes a few months ago and this time as well he was on song as he picked wickets and bowled his heart out.

Managing multiple wickets like he did a few months earlier earned him more Man of the match accolades but Johnson's help meant Harris was not slogging alone and this helped him remain fit for the whole series, something the 34-year-old has struggled with through his career.

David Warner

The pocket rocket delivered with the bat with some lusty blows and tons. In England after the Joe Root punching incident David Warner found himself out of the team and facing disciplinary action.

This time at home, Australian cricket's new bad boy was bad on the field as he let his bat answer critics. Warner looked like mature cricketer while he made his runs.

Steve Smith

Two centuries during the series and Steve Smith announced his arrival as a batsman who Australia could trust to play a mature knock.

The all-rounder who bowls some handy spin played a mature innings during both his century knocks and truly rose to be an Ashes hero for Australia.

The heroes ensured that they made their names immortal in Ashes folklore as the age old rivalry between Australia and England on the cricket field continues.

Here are the zeroes:

Alastair Cook

The English captain who was a hero during his team's Ashes win on home soil looked lost and out of sorts both with the bat as well as when he marshalled the team. 

Alastair Cook's bat refused to score handy runs and the captain's knock that the team was looking to was never scored in this series.

As a captain too Cook lacked the daring attitude to counter attack and try to stop the Australian batsmen who seemed to be beating all his field plans time and again.

Ian Bell

The last Ashes was known as Bell's Ashes as he single handedly helped his team win. The batsman was on song at home and tortured Australia but now a few months later the tables seemed to have been turned as Bell struggled.

The top order batsman's inability to contribute to his team cost England the Ashes this time.

Kevin Pietersen 

Much like Bell, KP was also guilty of not contributing with the bat. Pietersen so hell bound on proving Michael Clarke and the Australian bowler's wrong went to hit in exactly the same places where they set him a trap falling for it in the process.

The batsman's foolishness and pride cost him and his team on many occasions as he became out being unable to play a knock that would have saved his team from defeat.

George Bailey

His good form in the shorter forms of the game earned Bailey his spot in the Test team but Australia's captain in the T20 format of the game was unable to score a ton which the team's other batsmen did.

Bailey looked like a man out of place as his teammates performed and rose to the occasion while he failed to convert opportunities on multiple junctures.

Shane Watson

In cricket batsman No3 plays a very important role. After Ricky Ponting retired Watson took up that role but in this series he often failed to play the part to the T. 

The all-rounder made handy runs and got wickets with the ball but his pivotal role as a one down batsman was not very impressive.

Jonathan Trott left the series mid-way after his dismal form and Graeme Swann retired from all forms of the game while the series was on. Joe Root was dropped from the team as he performed badly as was Matt Prior. All these also are zeroes in this series.

Michael Clarke was 10/10 as captain but as a batsman there was a lot he could have done but failed to do.

In England he was the only batsman who performed for his team but at home he did not quite play the captain's knock with the bat. Thanks to the team winning it was not needed but it was definitely a let down from expectations point of view.

The series was very thrilling and one that fans thoroughly enjoyed.  Both teams will now need to judge their strengths and weaknesses as they get set for a 2014 full of new Test and much more cricket. 

Click here to see the heroes and zeroes from the Ashes in England

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