The Investec Ashes 2013 August 27, 2013

Australia's hale and hearty hero

Troubled by injuries, Ryan Harris was not a member of the Australia attack at the start of the series. By the end, he had forever written himself into Ashes lore
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Finally, Ryan Harris was injured. His right hamstring twinged, he had a final word with Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, then trudged from the Oval middle. Harris did not want to leave. Even though he had dismissed Kevin Pietersen, and greatly reduced Australia's chances of defeat by doing so, there remained the sense of a match unfinished. But Clarke insisted that Harris should depart, for he had given all that might have been expected of any bowler. Certainly more than had been expected of Harris, who in his near-34 years had never played four consecutive Tests.

In a series Australia lost conclusively in terms of margin if not the day-to-day run of play, Harris kept England honest. So honest in fact that on the slow, dry pitches of their coach Andy Flower's choosing, the same batsmen who had cut, pulled and driven Ricky Ponting to distraction in 2010-11 were not once able to compile an innings of 400 runs. Words like consistent, repeated, unerring, and persistent have been seldom applicable to the Australia team in 2013 but they are all apt for Harris. In keeping fit across the series and also managing to improve on the handsome Test-match record he had brought into the Ashes, he may even have surprised himself a little.

It would have been easy for Harris to think he was never going to reach the Ashes. The quality of his bowling had been belatedly recognised by selectors at state and national levels after his move from South Australia to Queensland in 2008, and Ponting then Clarke sang his praises generously but accurately whenever he had turned out for Australia after making his Test debut in New Zealand in 2010. But his body repeatedly failed at inopportune times, a long list of injury troubles accruing as steadily as wickets did whenever he was fit.

All told, it was quite a list. There was the knee surgery that forced him home from England in 2010; the ankle fracture that ended his Boxing Day Test later that year; a hamstring strain that kept Harris out of the third Test in Sri Lanka in Clarke's first series as captain; a hip complaint that sent him home from South Africa in Clarke's second; shoulder surgery that ended his hopes of playing any Tests in the 2012-13 summer; lastly an Achilles complaint that ruled him out of the backend of the 2013 IPL. That last ailment left Harris with precious little time to regain fitness and form ahead of the Ashes, and lingering concerns about its effects kept him out of the first match at Trent Bridge.

So it was not until Lord's that Harris entered the fray, and he started as though making up for plenty of lost time. Two wickets in the first hour, three on the first day, and five in the first innings. He had set a cracking pace, and would barely let himself flag again until The Oval. Each Test can be treasured for at least one passage and usually more in which Harris earned admiration among spectators, team-mates and opponents alike. Recalling poor spells from Harris over the series is about as difficult a task as remembering poor shots by Ian Bell. His fielding was equally full-blooded, and his batting stubborn.

All the while, Harris succeeded through methods that were simple yet subtle, thoughtful yet instinctive, and aggressive yet measured. Bluff and bluster are no more a part of Harris' repertoire than fancy footwork and switch-hits are of the indefatigable opener Chris Rogers - all energy, effort and aggression is channelled into his bowling, including a bouncer more venomous than any sledge could possibly be. He excelled in confusing Alastair Cook with subtle movement either way, dragged Jonathan Trott across his crease, and in Durham humbled Joe Root with an away-cutter the equal of anything to flick Clarke's off stump.

English admiration for Harris was near enough to universal. His wickets were applauded warmly, the quality of his bowling recognised without exception by the local writers. A lack of histrionics makes Harris something of a throwback to another time - he is solid, reliable and knowledgeable where Australian cricket has become flashy, flighty and forgetful. The Oval crowd may have directed boos at Clarke on the Ashes presentation dais, but there was nothing of the sort for Harris. In contrast to Mitchell Johnson, it is impossible to imagine the Barmy Army composing a song to belittle him.

Whatever Harris offers on the field, he replicates away from it. Adam Gilchrist has noted previously that as a team-mate he is genuinely interested in hearing the thoughts of others, whether about cricket or life - a quality increasingly rare among the egos that populate international sporting change rooms. A tale emerged from the end-of-series drinks shared by the two teams that summed this up quite artfully. Harris was engaged in discussion with Stuart Broad when Australia's coach, Darren Lehmann, sidled up to the pair, wishing to join their chat. Instantly realising the history between the other two, Harris gave them room, and the timing of his earnest observation "I think you two need a moment" is said to have brought the house down.

Critical to Harris' longevity in the series, and his chances of now going on to inflict more damage on England in the return matches at home, is the decision by the national selectors to keep him and Peter Siddle away from the limited-overs formats. This is despite the obvious temptation created by Harris' ODI bowling average and strike rate, which are likely to remain frozen at an eye-popping 18.90 and 23.40 respectively. Like at The Oval when his hamstring went, Harris is very keen to return to play at all levels for his country, but has grown to understand the wisdom of allowing him to rest.

Once Harris had walked from the field on the final evening of the series, he underwent a quick examination of his hamstring, then sat down for a well-earned break, taking off his boots as he did so. What washed over him at that moment was a bittersweet mix of emotions. Disappointment over the result of this Ashes bout, but pride at the efforts that would rightly earn him Australia's Man-of-the-Series garlands. Most of all, a sense of relief and accomplishment at meeting his own goal of getting through the series without having to fly home early. In recognition of his Ashes exertions, the boots will now be placed on display at Lord's. Fortunately for Australia, Harris himself is not yet ready to become a museum piece.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    @MinusZero

    You're failing to see that Australia is a young team. There is only one player in the Australian squad that has more than 50 tests to his name and that's Clarke. Watson, Haddin and all the others have played below 50 tests.

    You're saying that Australia can't beat an under-performing side. England barely beat a side that can't tell the difference between their ass and head. In a few years most of England's key players will be really quite aged and there doesn't seem a lot England has to offer with youth at this stage.

    By 2015-16, Australia will have built up a formidable side, Clarke will probably be close to retiring. Starc, Pattinson, Cummins would all be great bowlers, with Lyon peaking. And players like Warner, Smith, Hughes, Watson will have stood up. Notice how I didn't say Khawaja, that's because I don't think Khawaja has the fighting quality of Hughes, Smith etc. I expect Wade to fill in Haddin's shoes, Wade who already has a couple test hundreds to his name.

  • POSTED BY Braymann on | August 29, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    Lovely article. As an England supporter he's probably the only Aussie player we'd like to see limp out of the return series before it starts. (Even MC) But I hope he doesn't! Not great news today for him or Oz. Very frustrating to have such players on the sidelines.

  • POSTED BY DustBowl on | August 29, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    Harris and Siddle v Anderson and Broad were the highlights of the series. He was apreciated by all. I hope he carries on, and not stop before 100 wickets as Stuart Clarke.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | August 28, 2013, 21:07 GMT

    Any highlights reel of the series would have to include a hatful of Harris wickets. For me the best was when he bowled Bell in Manchester. Let's hope he stays fit for the return series.

  • POSTED BY tamperbay on | August 28, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    I still don't get this thing about England players "underperforming". Surely they tried their best but just aren't good enough to dominate against a decent opposition. With the exception of maybe Pietersen I think that they don't really believe deep down that they are so superior, otherwise they would try and dominate and also try and win games from difficult positions, rather than trying everything in their power to waste time and eek out draws and use tactics that push the limits of playing within the spirit of the game. This England team at their absolute peak are not good enough to hold the number 1 ranking for any reasonable amount of time. So despite being one of their better England line-ups for a long time, they can never rightfully be considered a 'great' side.

  • POSTED BY Guernica on | August 28, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    @Jeshnil Kumar an article about Ryan Harris is a funny place to be trying to argue that the future looks brighter for Aus than for England. Rhino is one of those players you mention who has played less than 50 tests. But how does that help Australia in 2-3 year's time if he is 34 now. He was Australia's best bowler in this series by a mile, but sadly he's unlikely to still be playing in 2015 (at least to this level). England's best players are all likely to still be playing - the only ones with a question mark are KP and Swann - but that's pure speculation, not based on any evidence.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Harris is brilliant. Let's hope his body stays in good condition.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    @NixNixon

    Nope. I don't think Australia will be better than SA in two years. If anyone is to contest SA in two years it's this new batch of Indians.

    @200ondebut

    Well buddy, If you don't think this series was close and the scoreline wasn't a true reflection of the game. I'm frankly surprised you were capable of posting that comment.

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | August 28, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    Harris's pommie heritage shining thru... the only consistantly good player on the aussie team, they are lucky to have him... as we know he was considering trying to play for Eng a few years ago... well played Harris, you are an example to the aussies of how to conduct yourself..

  • POSTED BY NixNixon on | August 28, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    @Jeshnil Kumar

    Fair comment. One last question I would like to ask you, do you think by 2015 the Aussies will be a better team than the Saffars?

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    @MinusZero

    You're failing to see that Australia is a young team. There is only one player in the Australian squad that has more than 50 tests to his name and that's Clarke. Watson, Haddin and all the others have played below 50 tests.

    You're saying that Australia can't beat an under-performing side. England barely beat a side that can't tell the difference between their ass and head. In a few years most of England's key players will be really quite aged and there doesn't seem a lot England has to offer with youth at this stage.

    By 2015-16, Australia will have built up a formidable side, Clarke will probably be close to retiring. Starc, Pattinson, Cummins would all be great bowlers, with Lyon peaking. And players like Warner, Smith, Hughes, Watson will have stood up. Notice how I didn't say Khawaja, that's because I don't think Khawaja has the fighting quality of Hughes, Smith etc. I expect Wade to fill in Haddin's shoes, Wade who already has a couple test hundreds to his name.

  • POSTED BY Braymann on | August 29, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    Lovely article. As an England supporter he's probably the only Aussie player we'd like to see limp out of the return series before it starts. (Even MC) But I hope he doesn't! Not great news today for him or Oz. Very frustrating to have such players on the sidelines.

  • POSTED BY DustBowl on | August 29, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    Harris and Siddle v Anderson and Broad were the highlights of the series. He was apreciated by all. I hope he carries on, and not stop before 100 wickets as Stuart Clarke.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | August 28, 2013, 21:07 GMT

    Any highlights reel of the series would have to include a hatful of Harris wickets. For me the best was when he bowled Bell in Manchester. Let's hope he stays fit for the return series.

  • POSTED BY tamperbay on | August 28, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    I still don't get this thing about England players "underperforming". Surely they tried their best but just aren't good enough to dominate against a decent opposition. With the exception of maybe Pietersen I think that they don't really believe deep down that they are so superior, otherwise they would try and dominate and also try and win games from difficult positions, rather than trying everything in their power to waste time and eek out draws and use tactics that push the limits of playing within the spirit of the game. This England team at their absolute peak are not good enough to hold the number 1 ranking for any reasonable amount of time. So despite being one of their better England line-ups for a long time, they can never rightfully be considered a 'great' side.

  • POSTED BY Guernica on | August 28, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    @Jeshnil Kumar an article about Ryan Harris is a funny place to be trying to argue that the future looks brighter for Aus than for England. Rhino is one of those players you mention who has played less than 50 tests. But how does that help Australia in 2-3 year's time if he is 34 now. He was Australia's best bowler in this series by a mile, but sadly he's unlikely to still be playing in 2015 (at least to this level). England's best players are all likely to still be playing - the only ones with a question mark are KP and Swann - but that's pure speculation, not based on any evidence.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Harris is brilliant. Let's hope his body stays in good condition.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    @NixNixon

    Nope. I don't think Australia will be better than SA in two years. If anyone is to contest SA in two years it's this new batch of Indians.

    @200ondebut

    Well buddy, If you don't think this series was close and the scoreline wasn't a true reflection of the game. I'm frankly surprised you were capable of posting that comment.

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | August 28, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    Harris's pommie heritage shining thru... the only consistantly good player on the aussie team, they are lucky to have him... as we know he was considering trying to play for Eng a few years ago... well played Harris, you are an example to the aussies of how to conduct yourself..

  • POSTED BY NixNixon on | August 28, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    @Jeshnil Kumar

    Fair comment. One last question I would like to ask you, do you think by 2015 the Aussies will be a better team than the Saffars?

  • POSTED BY Buckers97 on | August 28, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    2015 might look like this; Warner, Silk, Hughes, Maddinson, Smith, Paine (wk, c), Faulkner, Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood. Marsh brothers there and about!

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    Sad that Harris should star in Australia's worst ashes defeat since 1978. Well bowled anyway, shame that it count for little in the end.

  • POSTED BY 200ondebut on | August 28, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    @ jeshnil kumar - I agree. If Australia had been much better than they actual were, and had better players than they actually had, this would have been a much closer series. Similarly if England had performed worse than they actually had, and had dropped the catches they actually held it would have been closer still.

    Similarly if 0 came between 2 & 3 rather than before 1 - Australia would have only lost by one test. Closer still. Hey if we keep going we may even get to a point where they won the Ashes and not England.

    I am sure you know the phrase around your aunt being your uncle .

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    @NixNixon

    Any kind of prediction you make about any team is about ifs. Similarly, you can't guarantee that any young England player will have a prosperous future. I just think that this current batch have enough potential to become a decent side.

    It's still a if, but it's not as big as a if as Kerrigan scoring 401* at the first test at the Gabba this year. So there is some kind of thought placed into it.

    Notice how I didn't say they're going to be like the great West Indian team or the Australian team of a few years back. I just think they'll improve and become a pretty decent side by 2015, they just need time to develop.

    This isn't my main point, just have a look at first comment. The other comments are responses to others.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    Australia doesn't know how to win the key moments but the stats were well and truly in Australia's favour (as they were in 2009). How many of the top six runs scorers were Aussies? Four. Who was the better keeper/batsman? Haddin. Who were the best bowlers? Harris, Siddle and Lyon outshone their counterparts and that is no mean feat against Broad, Anderson Swann and co.

  • POSTED BY mojo101 on | August 28, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    @Jeshnil Kumar

    Root 22 Cook 28 Trott 32 Pietersen 33 Bell 31 Bairstow 23 Prior 31 Bresnan 28 Broad 27 Swann 34 Anderson 31

    Average 29.09

    Rogers 35 Warner 26 Watson 32 Hughes 24 Clarke 32 Smith 24 Haddin 35 Harris 33 Starc 23 Pattinson 23 Cummins 20

    Average 27.9

    Essentially 1 year different when we include all your young (injured) bowlers.

    As the next ashes in the UK are in 2015 any reason why ANY of this England side should be retired? As for offering youth, they are already in the side! Our next batch of young bowlers is in the ODI squad. They are not as good as the current crop but I dont expect any retirements, excpeting perhaps Swann, before the next home ashes.

    "Starc, Pattinson, Cummins would all be great bowlers" how does this happen? They have potential but Cummins can't string 1 match together without injury. Pattinson has a complex injury. I think it very unlikely they would have the opportunity to gain enough experience by 2015 to become great bowlers.

  • POSTED BY NixNixon on | August 28, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @Jeshnil, mate not to be funny, but your whole argument about australia being a great time by 2015 is built around ifs. None of those players are guaranteed to develop into the type of players you assume. Your argument's blueprint can be used in a similar manner to argue that Bangladesh will a great team by 2015, because then Shakib ul hasan wil avergae 50 in test cricket bla bla bla.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    @crockit

    Sure, the key players may still be playing. But that doesn't mean they're going to be as effective. We all know there's a decline in performance once you're on the wrong side of 32. For 2015-16, Swann will be 36, Pietersen will be 35, Trott will be 34, Anderson will be 33 and Ian Bell will be 33, who I'm not sure will be able to carry the team's batting again.

    You're underestimating Hughes. Hughes is a player that in his second test dismantled an attack consisting of Steyn and Ntini. His problem is a psychological one, and he's only young at this stage.

    On Warner, he's learning. I don't think you're aware that one weekend the guy was playing grade cricket in a suburban area then the next he was playing international cricket. He's learning like most of the Australian squad.

    Fast bowlers tend to get injured when they're young and they tend to acquire stronger bodies as time progresses. Cummins is only 20. If not him, there's Bird, Starc, Hazlewood.

  • POSTED BY Charlie101 on | August 28, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Harris had a fine series and is rightly receiving the accolades due to such a good performance .

  • POSTED BY 158notout on | August 28, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    Jeshnil Kumar - sorry mate you are talking rubbish. Who's shoes would I rather be in? Englands who have just beaten Australia 3-0 (would have been 4-0 if just 4 more overs were played) and who stuffed India in their own backyard this winter or Australia's who lost 4-0 in India and 3-0 here? No amount of over-optimistic predicting can make up for that. The difference between England and Australia (and currently India) is that they do have a mixture of older and younger players so they are unlikely to lose them in bunches. It can happen (look at the 2005 side - within months the test careers of Trescothick, Vaughan, Flintoff, and S. Jones were virtually over, add to that Thorpe who was axed immediately prior to that series) but it would be extremely unfortunate. I can't see Clarke being there still in 2015 and possibly not Watson so what will the Aussie batting line-up be? Warner, Hughes, Marsh, Khawaja, Maddison, Smith, Wade? Hardly sends shivers down the spine does it?

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    @5wombats

    Yes, I say that they barely beat Australia. If the rain didn't stop Australia at Old Trafford and if Australian players possessed that killer-instinct they had a few years ago, the first test would've been won by Australia as well. You could even argue that the last test would've been won by Australia had not the rain stopped the 4th day's play. Let's not forget the umpiring decisions, which in my opinion was slightly worse for the Australian's. The scoreline wasn't a true reflection of the game. I'll say it again, England barely beat Australia.

    You mate can't even see my point. I said Australia is a young team that consists of players that have played under 50 tests. There's only one player that has played more than 50 tests for Australia in the current squad. I'm not talking about their age. A player could be 35 and have little international test experience which is the case of Rogers. There's a difference between playing state or county cricket and facing James Anderson

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | August 28, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @Jeshnil Kumar (August 28, 2013, 4:16 GMT) You say "England barely beat a side that can't tell the difference between their ass and head". Curious comment. "Barely beat" eh? 3-0 is "barely beat" is it? Maybe 4-0 would have been a full beating? Your bitterness and denial is barely concealed. And BTW Australia is NOT and young team. Rogers is - how old? Haddin is - how old? Watson (perhaps the most overrated cricketer in all of Test history) - is how old? And Harris - the subject of this article - the guy you haven't mentioned at all - is - how old? And Harris is Australia's best bowler by a margin - when he retires in Sydney after the 5th Test in January all that Australia will have will be a bunch of injury prone rookies, oh and Siddle. Take off your rose-tinted monocle bud - the future is nowhere near as "bright" as you imagine.

  • POSTED BY crockit on | August 28, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    Jeshnil - lets test out your 2015-16 theory. Haddin, Rogers and Harris will probably be gone. On England side all key players may still be there - though Pieterson and Swann may have succumbed to a combination of age and injurry. Watson may be playing more or less as batsman only. As for Hughes, Smith and Warner no grounds to think they will be really good. Granted Smith was OK in this series but I would rather have Root. Despite his two decent contributions Warner had a poor average overall - worse than say Bairstow - and Hughes was dropped. Little coming through in the batting except Robson who may play for England. In English country circuit likes of Ballance, Taylor and Moeen Ali have had great seasons building on strong records. Bowling wise Aus have a lot of fairly decent stock but attack you suggest is probably just a fairy tale given the injury record of Cummins and, to a lesser extent, Pattinson.

  • POSTED BY Liquefierrrr on | August 28, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    Easily the best bowler all series across both sides. Outshone Anderson entirely when they played in Tests against eachother, but that's no surprise.

    He bowled at under 20 runs per wicket for the series, which is Godlike these days, against a side we are constantly told are 'fierce and ruthless and good'.

    A fine player and a great team man, one can only hope he can make it through this next Ashes series. Whatever the result, it'll be closer if he plays than if he doesn't.

  • POSTED BY Wefinishthis on | August 28, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    Daniel Brettig - one of your best articles. Ryan Harris = legend. Such a shame that it took this long for the selectors to recognise his talent as he now has only until the next ODI world cup at most left in his career. This is all just confirmation that the selectors had absolutely NO idea what they're doing. They seriously thought 'haus was better than Harris at one point.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Australia are lucky to have a cricketer like him absolute champion as a player and a human being, through and through. Much better than Anderson and as good as Steyn

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | August 28, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    Some might say that England underperformed, others would say they did enough to win...which they did. Australia still cant beat and underperforming side, they better hope England dont improve for the return leg. Australia still cannot take 20 wickets, the bowler need to be looked at as much as the batsmen.

  • POSTED BY PFEL on | August 27, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    His skill wasn't belatedly recognised in 2008, it wasn't until shortly before then that he even became a decent state bowler, let alone international standard.

  • POSTED BY Rowayton on | August 27, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Agree with Chris_P and others. I am actually hoping that the fact that he has spent so much time off the field in his younger days may prolong his career a bit beyond the age that most fast bowlers keep going. If you work on the theory that any fast bowler, when he starts, has a certain number of overs in him, Rhino might have a few left. Although I will say that I am a bit peeved by posters on other threads who say that he was the only reason Australia got close. In fact, the game we got closest to winning was the one that he didn't play.

  • POSTED BY loki897 on | August 27, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    he mustt play the 2015 ODI World Cup

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | August 27, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    Agree with the first 2 posters. Class act on and off the field.

  • POSTED BY wellrounded87 on | August 27, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    I've said it before and i'll say it again if Harris could have stayed fit for the past 4 years he'd be pushing Steyn for top bowler.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | August 27, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    I said before the series that Harris was the Aussie bowler I rated the most and the one I feared the most. Siddle may have been the highest rated coming in, but while he's no mug either (and much better than many English fans give him credit for) he isn't quite the match-winner Harris is. Daniel mentioned the 2010-2011 Ashes; well at Adelaide, where England rattled along at 4 an over, and even Siddle took a bit of tap (he's a better bowler now, though), Harris went at under 3 and took the crucial wickets of Cook and Trott (as he did quite a bit during this series). And while Mitch got all the plaudits at Perth, Harris took 9-fer too.

    In much the same way as Watson jokingly suggested he was lucky Bresnan couldn't play at the Oval because of injury, Cook and Trott may quietly be hoping that Harris isn't fit for the return series. As a fan, though, I hope he is.

  • POSTED BY whoster on | August 27, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    The consistent high-quality of Ryan Harris' bowling is as big a reason as any that the Aussies made England work so hard for the Ashes series win. He could've been forgiven for throwing-in the towel long before this tour, but his success after coming back from so many setbacks should be seen as an inspiration to other players who've struggled through injury.

    Harris is the type of bowler who just gets on with the job and never complains. He always gave the England batsmen trouble with his pace and hostility, and I'm sure I'm one of many Englishmen who wish him an injury-free final stage of his Test career.

    If he does stay fit throughout the down under series, then England will face a big fight to retain Ashes.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | August 27, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Quality performer on and off the field. We are privileged to see him competing in test cricket. Many in his position would only play one dayers.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | August 27, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Quality performer on and off the field. We are privileged to see him competing in test cricket. Many in his position would only play one dayers.

  • POSTED BY whoster on | August 27, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    The consistent high-quality of Ryan Harris' bowling is as big a reason as any that the Aussies made England work so hard for the Ashes series win. He could've been forgiven for throwing-in the towel long before this tour, but his success after coming back from so many setbacks should be seen as an inspiration to other players who've struggled through injury.

    Harris is the type of bowler who just gets on with the job and never complains. He always gave the England batsmen trouble with his pace and hostility, and I'm sure I'm one of many Englishmen who wish him an injury-free final stage of his Test career.

    If he does stay fit throughout the down under series, then England will face a big fight to retain Ashes.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | August 27, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    I said before the series that Harris was the Aussie bowler I rated the most and the one I feared the most. Siddle may have been the highest rated coming in, but while he's no mug either (and much better than many English fans give him credit for) he isn't quite the match-winner Harris is. Daniel mentioned the 2010-2011 Ashes; well at Adelaide, where England rattled along at 4 an over, and even Siddle took a bit of tap (he's a better bowler now, though), Harris went at under 3 and took the crucial wickets of Cook and Trott (as he did quite a bit during this series). And while Mitch got all the plaudits at Perth, Harris took 9-fer too.

    In much the same way as Watson jokingly suggested he was lucky Bresnan couldn't play at the Oval because of injury, Cook and Trott may quietly be hoping that Harris isn't fit for the return series. As a fan, though, I hope he is.

  • POSTED BY wellrounded87 on | August 27, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    I've said it before and i'll say it again if Harris could have stayed fit for the past 4 years he'd be pushing Steyn for top bowler.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | August 27, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    Agree with the first 2 posters. Class act on and off the field.

  • POSTED BY loki897 on | August 27, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    he mustt play the 2015 ODI World Cup

  • POSTED BY Rowayton on | August 27, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Agree with Chris_P and others. I am actually hoping that the fact that he has spent so much time off the field in his younger days may prolong his career a bit beyond the age that most fast bowlers keep going. If you work on the theory that any fast bowler, when he starts, has a certain number of overs in him, Rhino might have a few left. Although I will say that I am a bit peeved by posters on other threads who say that he was the only reason Australia got close. In fact, the game we got closest to winning was the one that he didn't play.

  • POSTED BY PFEL on | August 27, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    His skill wasn't belatedly recognised in 2008, it wasn't until shortly before then that he even became a decent state bowler, let alone international standard.

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | August 28, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    Some might say that England underperformed, others would say they did enough to win...which they did. Australia still cant beat and underperforming side, they better hope England dont improve for the return leg. Australia still cannot take 20 wickets, the bowler need to be looked at as much as the batsmen.

  • POSTED BY on | August 28, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Australia are lucky to have a cricketer like him absolute champion as a player and a human being, through and through. Much better than Anderson and as good as Steyn