ASHES PLAYER RATINGS: England opener Hameed has regressed and should be left out in Sydney

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Australia have retained the Ashes after beating England by an innings and 14 runs before lunch on day three in Melbourne.

Joe Root’s side lost six wickets for 22 runs to be bowled out for 68 – their lowest total Down Under since 1904 – as Pat Cummins’ men took an unassailable 3-0 series lead.

Here, Sportsmail’s LAWRENCE BOOTH assesses the performances from both sets of players following just more than two days of action at the MCG. 

Australia have retained the Ashes after beating England by an innings and 14 runs

Australia have retained the Ashes after beating England by an innings and 14 runs

England

Haseeb Hameed – 1

Has regressed on this tour, and looks an outside edge waiting to happen. England should give him a breather at Sydney – which means they’ll probably pick him.

Zak Crawley – 3

It was a tough ask to airdrop him into the middle of the Ashes after three months without a red-ball game – and the consequences were predictable. Averages 10 in 2021.

Dawid Malan – 5 

Fought hard in the first innings before falling on the stroke of lunch, then got a marginal lbw in the second. But Malan is not the reason England are in this mess.

England opener Haseeb Hameed has regressed on this tour and should be left out in Sydney

England opener Haseeb Hameed has regressed on this tour and should be left out in Sydney

Joe Root – 7

Scores of 50 and 28 were useful in the context of his team’s latest meltdown, but he needed to score twice as many if they were to stand a chance. And now he’s presided over another Ashes defeat.

Ben Stokes – 5

Hasn’t got into this series, averaging 16 with the bat and 62 with the ball. And his scattergun seam has gone at five an over. Outshone by Green.

Jonny Bairstow – 5.5

Batted busily for 35 on the first day until getting into a tangle against Starc, but looked strangely rusty on the third morning, when he was lucky to make five.

Jos Buttler – 3

Played arguably the worst shot of the series when he launched Lyon to deep square leg in the last over before tea on the first day. Scrappy behind the stumps. How much longer can he play Test cricket?

Jos Buttler played arguably the worst shot of the series when he was caught off Nathan Lyon

Jos Buttler played arguably the worst shot of the series when he was caught off Nathan Lyon

Mark Wood – 6.5

Deserved better than figures of two for 71, and inflicted a rare failure on Labuschagne. But he was two places too high at No 8 – part of England’s longest tail for years.

Ollie Robinson – 6

Lacked the accuracy he showed in the first two Tests, and looked down on pace. Must be doubts about his ability to get through the series.

Jack Leach – 5.5

Said much that figures of 15-0-46-1 felt like a relief after his mauling at Brisbane. But bowled a negative line and eased the pressure on Harris and Head after lunch on the second day. 

James Anderson – 8.5

Still got it, even at the age of 39. Removed Warner, Smith, Harris and Cummins, and has conceded just 1.59 an over. Can he bowl in Australia? Yes, he can.

James Anderson proved that he has still got it, even at the age of 39, and that he can bowl in Australia

James Anderson proved that he has still got it, even at the age of 39, and that he can bowl in Australia

Australia

David Warner – 7

Gave Australia a quickfire reply to England’s 185 with an innings 38 in 42 balls on the first evening.

Marcus Harris – 7.5

Seemed to be beaten outside off stump roughly once an over, but somehow got to 76 – a crucial innings that saved his career and gave Australia a useful lead.

Marnus Labuschagne – 2

Marked his first Test as the world’s No 1 batsman by edging Wood to slip. Then again, he was due a failure.

Marcus Harris' crucial innings of 76 saved his career and gave Australia a useful lead

Marcus Harris’ crucial innings of 76 saved his career and gave Australia a useful lead

Steve Smith – 4

Not been himself this series, despite making 93 at Adelaide. Out-thought in this game by Anderson.

Travis Head – 6

Helped rebuild Australia’s first innings from a tricky 110 for four, and now the leading run-scorer in the series.

Cameron Green – 7

Hard to think of a handier fourth seamer in world cricket. Removed Stokes in the first innings, then sealed the Ashes by bowling Anderson. His batting remains a work in progress.

Alex Carey – 5  

Lacked his usual smoothness behind the stumps, and aimed a loose drive at Stokes. But still an upgrade on Tim Paine.

It is hard to think of a handier fourth seamer in world cricket than Cameron Green right now

It is hard to think of a handier fourth seamer in world cricket than Cameron Green right now

Pat Cummins – 8.5

Singlehandedly had England three down by lunch on the first day – a stumble from which they never recovered. His 21 dragged out Australia’s reply too.

Mitchell Starc – 9

His spell on the second evening was spine-tingling – and unplayable. Also took care of Root and Bairstow, England’s two top-scorers, in the first innings. And keeps making handy tailend runs.

Scott Boland – 9.5

Hard to imagine he’ll ever take better figures than six for seven in his maiden Test. The stuff of dreams.

Nathan Lyon – 8

Remains all over England’s batsmen, especially their left-handers. Rarely bowled a bad ball.

It is hard to imagine Scott Boland will ever take better figures than six for seven in his maiden Test

It is hard to imagine Scott Boland will ever take better figures than six for seven in his maiden Test

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