An Ashes five-fer: Perth, day 5

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1)ENGLAND ESCAPE PLAN LEAKED BY COVERS: Of all the things that could have delayed the start of day five, leaking covers were probably the most unlikely.  Three hours were lost after Perth decided to mirror the rainfall of its Scottish namesake. Trevor Bayliss talked darkly of dangerous damp patches on a length and while Steve Smith hung around the umpires like a stalker with a restraint order an army of leaf blowers tried to accelerate the drying out process..It obviously got to Jonny Bairstow, who dropped his bat on finally arriving at the crease and then was castled by Josh Hazlewood.

2) MOEEN NEEDS TO FIND HIS MOJO: English fans must hope that Moeen stops dragging himself around as if he’s been told to clean beer glasses at the Avenue. Those summer smiles when he rolled South Africa over  and then backed it up with swashbuckling 50s seem a long time ago. Nathan Lyon claimed his bunny again and poor Moeen just seems transfixed by this losing treadmill of a tour.

3) SINKING FEELING BUT NO SLEDGING: After the nonsense that went on in Adelaide, it was good to see a match where skill sets rather than fruity language made headlines. As Australia closed in on Ashes victory, Jimmy Anderson took a nasty blow from Pat Cummins and sank to his knees. Not for the first time, the opposition rushed to show their concern.  Fortunately, Jimmy came up smiling. This series doesn’t have the antagonism that underscored part two of the 2013/14 double header.

Former England batsman Ed Smith on TMS: “Cricketing pain, physical pain, psychological pain. The blows keep coming for England.”

4) JOSH WINS DUEL WITH ENGLAND’S LAST STAND: It was fitting that Josh Hazlewood broke through the defences of Bairstow to create the quick sprint for the line. Cracking helmets may get the dramatic headlines but Hazlewood has really come to the party in Perth, taking eight wickets in the match.  His consistency here on a flat deck has turbocharged him to new heights.  He hustled out a well-set Dawid Malan with a short one to open the trapdoor which England’s tail obligingly fell through.

5) THE CONTRAST OF THE CAPTAINS: Steve Smith could not hide his emotions. It helps if you’ve just won the Ashes. The Australian skipper was positively bursting at the seams with smiles. He was giving everything away for a change.In comparison, Joe Root could barely absorb Mark Nicholas asking post-match questions, grunting back answers in a haze of barely concealed distress.  It is good to see those twin imposters called victory and defeat are as important as ever

By Tim Ellis