In a day in Sydney of unparalleled heat (58 degrees Centigrade being recorded on the pitch and Sydney the hottest place on the planet) Australia batted on and on and only a rain storm can now save England.
To win a Test you need at least 6 convincing performers with bat and ball. The three Australian quickies have intimidated the English tail, David Warner – and above all Steve Smith – have supplied the runs and Nathan Lyon has spun wonderfully to left handers.
By contrast for England only Dawid Malan has been a source of regular runs, there has been no barrage of wicket-taking pace and Mooen Ali and Mason Crane have been expensive.
When I asked a member of the group what he thought of the day’s play, he replied “A slow death”. None of us are going to the final day. It will be a relief to avoid the crush of leaving, walking 15 minutes to the pick-up point and the generally poor amenities I have already mentioned.
To this you can add another. You can take a bus directly outside the stadium to the city centre but you need the equivalent of an oyster card – neither cash nor credit card is accepted on the bus. Does anywhere in the stadium supply the oyster card? Of course not.
In Steyn and Morkel they have a genuine pace threat, they have a wicket-taking spinner in Keshev Maharaj and they also have the return of AB de Villiers. Dean Edgar has been a prolific run-maker in 2017.
Home advantage has proved telling in most series these days too. Though much better than England and worthy winners of the series the Aussies are not a great side and their weaknesses may well be exposed in South Africa.