Joe Root’s latest inability to convert a half century into a ton has thrust the England captain firmly under the spotlight during the fifth Ashes Test.
Root fell for 57 on an opening day where the hosts rallied after losing 6-96 to finish 8-271 at stumps thanks in large part to Jos Buttler's stunning late heroics.
The England captain was handed three opportunities to make a big score and once again failed to go on with it after making a fortuitous half century.
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Root's first lifeline came when Peter Siddle dropped a regulation catch in the deep from a wayward Root hook shot.
The second saw his Aussie counterpart Tim Paine spill a chance after diving in front of David Warner at first slip off the bowling of Pat Cummins.
Root survived for a third time when he nicked one wide of Steve Smith at second slip that the diving Aussie just couldn't manage to grasp.
However, it was an all too familiar story for the England captain when he was bowled by Cummins for 57.
Root's failure to convert a 50 into a century means he now has 46 half centuries as opposed to 16 tons.
Those figures are in stark to Smith, who while trailing Root considerably in the half century figures (26), has 10 more centuries in 18 fewer Tests.
The England skipper's latest failure to convert another decent score into a big score wasn't lost on viewers.
Fans offered reasons to try and explain Root's struggles, with many suggesting that alleviating him of the captaincy could be an option.
Another 50 odd and out for Joe Root, his conversion from 50 to 100 is dreadful. He is a good player, but not a great. He is certainly not in the same class as Williamson, Kohli or especially Steve Smith. 🇦🇺#Ashes— Warren Barker (@wozzauk1) September 12, 2019
And that's the difference between Joe Root and the world's best. His conversion rate is just not good enough at test level for a man of his ability #bbccricket— Neil Boughton (@boughtersdx) September 12, 2019
Yep that's true, tbh he had a much better conversion rate before he was captain, that must have something to do with it— i-pools (@ipoolsHQ) September 12, 2019
Joe Root - 50 and out yet again. Nowhere near the likes of Kohli, Williamson, Smith etc. No conversion whatsoever #nobottle— Bradley Wells (@BradleyWells05) September 12, 2019
Are there any top batsmen with 50 to 100 conversions worse than Root?— Alex (@HardyMCFC1) September 12, 2019
@bbctms #bbccricket Root failure to convert 50's into 100's is more than a worry it shows a serious flaw in his psyche. Would be interested to see a comparison of his conversion rate before he was captain against when he has been captain #bbctms— Paddy Emmerson (@Padster77) September 12, 2019
Don’t want to be too critical of Joe Root but his conversion rate of 50s into 100s is rather concerning— Gareth Wharmby (@gazwharmby90) September 12, 2019
Root fails to convert another 50. 43 half centuries to 16 centuries. The best don’t have conversion rates that low.— Matthew Sabin (@MattBrumSabin9) September 12, 2019
Big-hitting Buttler comes to England’s rescue
Jos Buttler hit England out of trouble on day one of the final Ashes Test and declared the series decider to be "in the balance" at stumps.
England lost 56-5 in the evening session, including Root for 57, and would have been in dire straits were it not for a late onslaught from Buttler.
He hit six boundaries and three handsome sixes on his way to 64 not out in a final score of 8-271.
It was his first half-century of a difficult English summer of Test cricket and helped keep England's hopes of a 2-2 draw alive.
"Having lost the toss we got into a very good position and it's a shame to not quite be able to capitalise on that," said Buttler.
"Maybe it's a little bit in the balance. There's a bit in the wicket for both batters and bowlers and if you play well and apply yourself there are runs to be had.
"There's not many times Australia bowl first so we were a little bit surprised - it showed there was a little bit of indecision with the way the wicket looked."
England should really have done more to make that uncertainty count against Paine, and they were ultimately grateful for Buttler's best performance of the campaign.
With only the tail for company he was allowed to let his instincts take over and finally left his mark on the Australian attack.
"I've found batting hard this summer and it was nice to relax and have some fun," he said.
"That style of batting comes quite naturally to me, I've spent a lot of my career trying to bat like that, so I enjoyed it.
"In the last couple of games I haven't necessarily felt great at the crease but I've tried to scrap my way through it."