An Ashes Five-fer: Day 4 at Brisbane

1) WAKING UP LIKE IT’S 1999:  Going to bed with Joe Root on 50 and waking up a few hours later to the words: “Australia won’t ask for the extra half-hour to finish this”, is like being transported back to the days when dozing off came with a public health warning. When England start to go, they disintegrate.  Steve Smith’s unbeaten 141 tilted the balance, but the disappointment of losing big tomorrow morning,  after competing hard for three and a half days, is troubling for the camp.

2) PROACTIVE NOT PASSIVE: Root and Mark Stoneman started the day in relative comfort.  This was the reward for their survival of the fittest cameo in the cauldron last night. However, Stoneman became stymied by Nathan Lyon until the Australian found the inevitable edge. England will need to find a way of quashing Lyon’s confidence rather than giving him any more content for his phoney PR war.

3) GETTING IN, GETTING OUT: Trevor Bayliss said 160s win matches, not 60s. He didn’t cover 30s, 40s and 50s of which there were plenty from the England camp. If there is a lesson to be learnt, it is not giving it away. Root’s irritating habit of not converting half-centuries into tons was a worry anyway.  Losing his wicket the ball after reaching 50 was just too much to swallow.

4) ENGLAND  TOO FLAT TO FIGHT: Traditionally, Australia have struggled to chase down small totals in the Ashes, so technically there was a chance.  Chris Woakes and Jake Ball could not produce any real pressure after Broad and Anderson threw everything at it. Moeen only bowled four overs after struggling with a cut on his bowling hand in the first. The tourists were too inward-looking to make a contest of it. Coming back for the last rites will be hard.

How’s stat?!

Andrew Samson BBC Test Match Special statistician: Australia have been bowled out chasing scores of 170 or less nine times in Test history. Six times it has been against England.

5) THAT ENGLAND TAIL: It wasn’t quite the runless nightmare of the Mullally/Tufnell/Giddins axis of 1999,  but the tail was knocked over far too easily which was like a horrible throwback. Losing three for one at the end after Bairstow and Moeen had given England a sniff meant Australia didn’t have to waste any mental energy in seeing that target rise over 200. Even Ashley Giles at eight wouldn’t have been enough…

By Tim Ellis