BBC Sport runs the rule over both Ashes teams after one of the greatest Test series of all time.
Michael Vaughan (captain) - 8: The captain who won England the Ashes. Out-manouvered Ricky Ponting with his inventive field positions and led his troops with authority and coolness - no mean feat in arguably the most tension-fraught series of them all.
His batting was once again inconsistent - he seems to find new ways of getting himself out - but a classical 166 at Old Trafford reminded the world what a glorious stroke-maker he can be.
Batting: 326 runs at an average of 32.60
Marcus Trescothick - 8: Finished as England's second-leading run scorer and can justifiably claim to be world-class after his first series success against Australia.
Will be hugely disappointed not to have converted one of his half-centuries into a first Ashes ton but his aggressive 90 at Edgbaston got England back on track after a woeful start at Lord's.
Batting: 431 runs at 43.10
Andrew Strauss - 7: Struggled on occasions against Shane Warne, but didn't everyone? Came back well when Warne called him a 'walking wicket' after the Edgbaston game and went on to score two lovely centuries.
Had his moments in the field too, making up for a couple of dropped catches with one of the greats - a one-handed, diving screamer to dismiss Adam Gilchrist from second slip at Trent Bridge.
Batting: 393 runs at 39.30
Ian Bell - 4: The selectors placed a huge amount of faith in the 23-year-old and, despite a succession of poor scores, kept him in the side for the entire series.
Two brave half-centuries at Old Trafford showed Bell at his dogged, stubborn best and his fielding from short leg was impressive. But a long way from cementing his place in the team.
Batting: 171 runs at 17.10
Kevin Pietersen - 8: Quite simply played the innings that brought the Ashes back home. England were wobbling at The Oval when he came to the crease and his sensational 158 took the game beyond Australia.
Showed the same maturity and guts in the first innings at Lord's to help England reach near-respectability after being 21-5, the only blemish on his debut series being the six catches he dropped.
Batting: 473 runs at 52.55
Andrew Flintoff - 10: A truly monumental series from the world's finest all-round cricketer. 402 runs and 24 wickets tells only part of the story as the big Lancastrian put cricket firmly back in the nation's consciousness.
His 62-ball 68 at Edgbaston swung the momentum England's way and the way he removed Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting in one over of the Australians' second innings in the same Test almost defied belief.
Yet showed his true sportsmanship by commiserating with Brett Lee after the nail-biting finish, a touch of real class.
Batting: 402 runs at 40.20
Bowling: 24 wickets at 27.29
Geraint Jones - 6: Came under severe criticism for some dropped catches and missed stumpings, not to mention his rush-of-blood dismissal at the hands of Shane Warne in the Trent Bridge run chase.
But it should not be forgotten that he took a stunning reflex catch to dismiss Ricky Ponting at Old Trafford and struck a gutsy 85 in tandem with Andrew Flintoff at Nottingham. Just needs to be more consistent in both aspects of his game.
Batting: 229 runs at 25.44
Ashley Giles - 7: Not his best series of recent times, but Giles played his part by dismantling Australia's top order in their first innings at Old Trafford and holding his nerve to hit the winning runs at Trent Bridge and stick around with Kevin Pietersen at The Oval.
The pitches have not helped him and he was never required to bowl in two innings, but he did a job when needed by his captain and showed why he is such a valuable member of the team.
Bowling: 10 wickets at 57.80
Batting: 155 runs at 19.37
Matthew Hoggard - 7: Started slowly after his pre-series criticism of 'ageing' Australia was rammed back down his throat by Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath at Lord's, but came to the party with some devastating swing bowling in the last two Test matches.
His key moment of the series, however, was probably with the bat, as his cover drive for four off Brett Lee at the death at Trent Bridge helped England knock off the runs required for victory.
Bowling: 16 wickets at 29.56
Batting: 45 runs at 6.42
Stephen Harmison - 6: Not as consistent as he would have liked and failed to again reach the heights of Australia's first innings at Lord's when he took 5-43 in a devastating exhibition of pace bowling.
But his wonderful slower-ball yorker to remove Michael Clarke on the third evening at Edgbaston was Harmison at his best and set England up for their dramatic victory.
Bowling: 17 wickets at 32.29
Batting: 60 runs at 10.00
Simon Jones - 9: Suffered the heartbreak of injury ruling him out of the final Test after four magnificent matches in which the Welsh wizard was arguably England's best bowler.
Jones mastered the art of reverse swing to mesmerise the Australians, never more so than at Old Trafford and Trent Bridge and had a host of catches not been dropped off his bowling he would have snared more than 18 victims.
Bowling: 18 wickets at 21.00
Batting: 66 runs at 33.00
Paul Collingwood - 7: After a summer impressing on the county scene, the Durham star replaced the injured Simon Jones for the last Test and was unlucky to be given out lbw in the first innings.
Showed his class in the field and hung around for 51 balls in the nerve-wracking second innings but with a settled XI his chances of regular selection appear to be limited at the moment.
Batting: 17 runs at 8.50
Ricky Ponting (Captain) - 6: Has been widely criticised for his at times disappointing captaincy and will go back home devastated to have handed back the Ashes after 16 years in Australia's possession.
Scored the bulk of his runs in a hugely courageous century that saved the Old Trafford Test, but lacked his usual consistency and the decision to bowl first at Edgbaston will forever haunt him.
Bowling: 1 wicket at 9.00
Batting: 359 runs at 39.88
Matthew Hayden - 5: Suffered a disastrous summer until his last innings, singularly failing to make a significant score until his magnificent 138 at The Oval.
That innings may have saved his Test career after calls for him to be replaced in the side, but a disappointment nevertheless against a team he usually fares so well against.
Batting: 318 runs at 35.33
Justin Langer - 7: Will leave England battered and bruised after a tortuous time at the hands of Stephen Harmison, but showed plenty of bottle to stick it out and make some crucial scores including a well-deserved century at The Oval.
However, his decision along with Hayden to leave the field for bad light on the second day at The Oval left Australia too much to do on the final day and ended up costing them dearly.
Batting: 394 runs at 43.77
Damien Martyn - 4: Went in to the series as one the world's premier batsmen, but had a nightmare run with the bat and a couple of dubious umpiring decisions hardly helped his cause to get back into form.
Martyn's body language was unusually subdued both when batting and in the field and despite a brilliant year before the Ashes he rarely looked like causing England any trouble.
Batting: 178 runs at 19.77
Michael Clarke - 7: Scored over 300 runs in his first Ashes series and the talented right-hander looks to have a very promising Test career in front of him.
Hit a brilliant 90 at Lord's that took the game away from England and his fielding was electric throughout, but in the end the consistent failures of others around him meant he had too much resting on his young shoulders.
Batting: 335 runs at 37.22
Simon Katich - 6: Like most of the Australian middle order, Katich made several starts but could not go on and only scored two fifites in nine innings, a disappointing effort for the sturdy left-hander.
His fielding at short leg was very impressive, showing fabulous reflexes, but Katich's place in the side could be about to come under real threat.
Batting: 248 runs at 27.55
Adam Gilchrist - 5: England knew all about the threat of Gilchrist but he failed to score a fifty in nine innings despite getting a host of starts and his keeping was unusually erratic at times too.
Became Andrew Flintoff's bunny after the big Lancastrian got rid of him on four occasions and his continual failures piled more and more pressure on the Australian tail-enders.
Batting: 181 runs at 22.62
Shane Warne - 10: It will surely take Warne a long time to come to terms with the fact that, despite taking an incredible 40 wickets at less than 20 each, he ended up on the losing side.
His deliveries to remove Andrew Strauss at Edgbaston and Marcus Trescothick at The Oval defied logic and he can surely now make a justifiable claim to being the greatest bowler that has ever played the game.
Warne also scored valuable runs down the order, hitting two fine fifties - all round a fitting end to his Test career in England.
Bowling: 40 wickets at 19.92
Batting: 249 runs at 27.66
Brett Lee - 8: Hard to imagine that Lee came to England out of the Test team, but having won his place back he then won a place in the hearts of English fans with some heroic displays of bravery and sportsmanship.
Lee took wickets while bowling at express pace and took a battering from England's quick bowlers as he dug in time after time down the order, while his continual banter with the crowds ensures he leaves with a much-enhanced reputation.
Bowling: 20 wickets at 41.10
Batting: 158 runs at 26.33
Jason Gillespie - 4: The big seamer endured a torrid time in the first three Tests before being mercifully dropped, possibly signalling the end of a fine career in the baggy green cap.
Gillespie's wayward bowling picked up three wickets at 100 each and his haphazard fielding was roundly cheered by the home spectators, overall an embarrassing finale for a man who has over 250 Test wickets.
Bowling: 3 wickets at 100.00
Batting: 47 runs at 7.83
Glenn McGrath - 8: Perhaps his injury at Edgbaston was the decisive moment of the summer. McGrath was rushed back both for Old Trafford and The Oval and could not quite get into top gear for either.
Showed his true class by reducing England to 21-5 at Lord's and it was a great shame for the neutrals that he was not bowling at 100% for the whole series.
Bowling: 19 wickets at 23.15
Batting: 36 runs at 36.00
Michael Kasprowicz - 5: Came in for the two matches at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge and received the same sort of treatment England's batsmen had dished out to Jason Gillespie.
Lacked his usual rhythm and consistency and was attacked from the start as the hosts tried to unsettle him - a tactic that worked and in the end piled more pressure on the likes of Brett Lee and Shane Warne.
Bowling: 4 wickets at 62.50
Batting: 44 runs at 11.00
Shaun Tait - 6: Looks to have a promising future for Australia having been plunged into the thick of the action with his Test debut at Trent Bridge.
Got Trescothick out with an inswinging yorker and moved the ball around at express pace which will always make him dangerous.
Bowling: 5 wickets at 42.00
Batting: 8 runs at 8.00
England's quick bowlers worked the Australians over time and time again and the visitors simply could not cope with the continual pressure Michael Vaughan's men put on them.
Shane Warne and Andrew Flintoff were both sensational - neither deserved to be on the losing side and Warne will be devastated to see The Ashes handed over to England.
But the Aussie batsmen failed to deliver and they can have few complaints about losing to the better team.