7 – Stuart Broad – 3/97 & 2/54 – Broad was ferocious and wonderful. If only there were more Broads, England might have won this one. Oh, and less Smiths. Pretty good, though.
6 – Rory Burns – 81 & 0 – His first innings effort took England all the way to 2/166 chasing 497 and, for a brief moment, when he was batting with Joe Root, it looked like England might even get a first innings lead. It was a big effort. Such a pity he couldn’t manage any runs in the second innings.
6 – Jos Buttler – 41 & 34 – Not too bad and for a moment had some hope of being pretty good, especially in the second innings.
5.5 – Joe Root – 71 & 0 – The first innings knock was good, especially in partnership with Rory Burns, but the second innings duck was bad. He is still a member of the Fab 4, but only just.
5 – Joe Denly – 4 & 53 – Opener, number 3, opener. It is difficult to understand why England aren’t giving their champion opener Ollie Pope a go, when this is the alternative, but, for his part, Denly did his part, at least in the second innings. It wasn’t wonderful but it was okay.
4 – Jason Roy – 22 & 31 – He shouldn’t be in the test team, as has been painfully obvious in all 4 tests, but these middling just getting started scores might just be enough to keep him in the side, even though Ollie Pope should be there in his place. Hopefully he goes anyway. He shouldn’t be there. He’s an ODI player not a test player.
4 – Johnny Bairstow – 17 & 25 & 2ct/1ct – Not a great effort but not completely awful.
4 – Jofra Archer – 0/97 & 3/45 – Jofra had a rare awful day in the first innings but then came back a little bit, but it was still a pretty bad game overall. He can’t be amazing every game, though. Credit to him, he did come back.
3 – Jack Leach – 2/83 & 1/58 – He at least took a wicket. Actually, he took 3, which wasn’t completely awful, but most of the time he was. This was not a good performance. While he is something of a cult figure right now, he’s nowhere near test level.
2 – Craig Overton – 2/85 & 0/22 – Why was he in the team when Sam Curran was available? There was some hunch there but it just made no sense. Sam Curran should have been there. The selectors are idiots. Something something.
2 – Ben Stokes – 26 & 1 & 0/66 – Oh how the mighty have fallen. One of the best test performances of all-time in the 3rd test down to this abysmal effort in the 4th is the Ben Stokes we all love to hate. Ugh.
10 – Steve Smith – 211 & 82 – This was possibly better than his twin 140s in the first test. At least the scores were higher. His second-innings 82 was his lowest score of the series, but it was still better than anyone else of either side did. It was just phenomenal. It had felt like a dream while he was away, and now he has come back we realise it was all true, and more. If anything, he is better than he was before the ban, and he was the best in the world then. Just like when he was dumped for two years from 2011 to 2013 and came back much better, it feels like he has come back better again. What can he do in the 5th test?
8 – Tim Paine – 58 & 23 not out, 1ct/1ct – Not the best effort behind the stumps, he nonetheless had a great return with the bat.
8 – Pat Cummins – 3/60 & 4/43 – A big improvement from a poor 3rd test, Cummins was back to his best here, which is best in the world level. It was incredible.
7 – Marnus Labuschagne – 67 & 11 – Labuschagne’s first failure of the series hurt Australia’s second innings, but Steve Smith was still there to rescue Australia. Most importantly, when he batted with Steve Smith it was simply amazing and it felt like Australia were always going to win when you saw them batting together.
7 – Josh Hazlewood – 4/57 & 2/31 – Hazlewood has been incredible since returning to the side, suggesting that he should have played every test, and probably the World Cup to boot. He was slightly down this test, but he was still pretty good.
5 – Mitchell Starc – 3/80 & 1/46 – There were times when he was all over the place, times when he was steady, and times when he was ferocious. Overall, his involvement was important, in that he was “the mop”, someone who stopped tailenders from getting away. He used to be good at the start of the innings too but he wasn’t used in that capacity. Looked below his previous level and might be considered to be let go for the 5th test but he was a vital cog in the wheel.
4 – Matthew Wade – 16 & 34 – Matthew Wade, the king of easy runs, did it again, scoring 34 of the cheapest cheap runs after Smith had put Australia into a winning position and the runs didn’t matter too much. He probably should be dumped for the 5th test, but those 50 runs might just be enough to keep him there.
3 – Travis Head – 19 & 12 – A rare poor effort from Head on what has otherwise been a pretty good series. It wasn’t the absolute worst, but certainly below par.
2 – Marcus Harris – 13 & 6 – It wasn’t good, but it was at least better than his opening partner David Warner’s pair, and it might be enough for him to keep his spot, unless the selectors decide to experiment with the dead rubber.
1 – Nathan Lyon – 0/89 & 2/51 – Sure, so Lyon got a couple of wickets on the 5th day when it was easy, but he didn’t bowl too well leading up to it, and his spot in the side must be in serious danger. With a dead rubber coming up, there is every chance he will be let go.
0 – David Warner – 0 & 0 – There’s no coming back from this. Warner is gone. He must be dumped now. There’s no way around this. He was utterly hopeless on the back of a long period of generally terrible performances. We can’t blame this on Cameron Bancroft or a long layoff or even Stuart Broad. He’s just not currently at the level required for test cricket.