The Ashes 2023 has been one of the most exciting Test series of the past many years. Even as Australia retained the Ashes Urn after a draw in the 4th Test, heading into Day 5 of the fifth and final Test at The Oval, there is still plenty to play for both teams.
On the last day of the 5th Test, and this series that has delivered on its promise, Australia need 249 more runs with all 10 wickets in hand. A win or a draw for Australia, who currently lead the series 2-1, will help them create history as then they would win their first Ashes series on England shores since 2001, while Ben Stokes’ side would want to take all 10 Aussie wickets to end the series 2-2. Plus, there are also WTC points at stake, lest anyone forgets it.
The majority of the players who have featured in this series across both sides have had their moments that have helped their side significantly.
Ahead of Day 5 at The Oval, we, at The Cricket Lounge, selected our best XI of Ashes 2023 (stats until after the end of Day 4 of the 5th Test).
Here is The Cricket Lounge’s Best Ashes 2023 XI:
The openers are pretty straightforward: Usman Khawaja, who will end up as the leading run-scorer of this series, now has 493 runs at an average of 54 with 1 century and 3 fifties to his name so far and he could reach three figures on Day 5 at The Oval, and to partner him, the second-highest scorer of the series, Zak Crawley, who amassed 480 runs at an average of 53 with 1 century and 2 fifties. Crawley hit the highest score of the series – 189.
For the number 3 position, though it is Marnus Labuschagne who bats at that spot, we have gone with Steve Smith. Both Smith (319 runs with 1 hundred and 1 fifty) and Marnus (315 runs with 1 hundred and 1 fifty) have very similar numbers after the first innings at The Oval, but we have opted for the senior pro.
The middle-order and the wicket-keeper positions in this XI all comprise of England stars: Root, Brook, Ben Stokes, and Bairstow. They are the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th highest run-scorers in this series, all averaging between 40 and 52, with significant contributions throughout the series with 2 centuries and 11 fifties combined among the four. Even with his keeping mistakes that hurt England considerably in the first two Tests, Bairstow has thoroughly outscored Carey by a distance.
Coming to the bowlers, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood changed the course of the series after coming on in the third Test. Both of them have 28 wickets combined in 6* bowling innings so far, and they also made hefty contribution with the bat in the Headingley win.
Starc is the leading wicket-taker with 23, while Broad is next with 20* scalps, though Broad would like to add some more to this on Day 5 which would be his last day in international cricket.
Best Ashes 2023 XI:
Usman Khawaja, Zak Crawley, Steve Smith, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (C), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes, Mitchell Starc, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood