Former Australian opener and head coach Justin Langer feels Australia dearly missed Nathan Lyon's services in the final three Tests and believes it cost them a chance to win the Ashes series.
Lyon injured his calf muscle during the second Test at Lord's and had to miss the remaining Tests. Australia did try different bowling combinations, but Lyon's absence created a void they just couldn't fill.
"Australia were on the backfoot when England’s batters married together ultra-aggression with batting smarts. From afar, this ‘Bazball’ style of batting was exciting to watch. Not only is it entertaining, but it is intimidating for any opponent, and that includes for Australia’s world-class attack. There is no doubt Australia missed Nathan Lyon after Lords. Injuries are a part of the game, but he is such an integral part of this Australian team that his absence was costly."
He further added:
"Australia will look back on this series and ask themselves what changed after the second Test at Lords. From ball one they had a plan to wear down England, through defensive field settings and old-fashioned Test match batting. Mitch Marsh and Travis Head aside, the strategy seemed to be that they wanted to tire out England’s ageing bowlers and capitalise on this at the back end."
Justin Langer on the series scoreline
Justin Langer believes a 2-2 scoreline was a fair reflection of how the two teams fared over the period of the five Tests. At no stage did any team look like running away with the series.
On this, Langer stated:
"In the end, a two-all result is probably fair. The series has been so close, it would be a brave person to declare a clear winner."
Although England lost the Ashes, they would be delighted that they could give Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali a send-off with a win to save the series.