Has Root's time come?
Joe Root has personified England's woes in this Ashes series. And that's just the way the Australians, who consistently target the opposition skipper, would have wanted it. Break the leader, break the team.
Root is most definitely broken. He has endured a poor series with the bat by his standards - just two fifties when his side desperately needed him to post big tons like his counterpart Steve Smith - and on the field he has, witheringly, looked like a "little boy", according to Ricky Ponting.
It is easy to forget, though, that Root is just 26. And for all the talk that the captaincy has come too early for the Yorkshireman, there were few alternatives when you factor in the game's obsession with ignoring bowlers for the top job.
The burden of captaincy has no doubt affected Root's batting in this contest. But there is a hope that with the pressure of a competitive series gone, he might be able to relax a little and play his shots.
This column is, ordinarily, obsessed with numbers. But cricket is played in the head, too as well as on a spreadsheet and any sports psychologist worth his salt will reckon that Root should rediscover his mojo now expectation has been lifted.
The pressure has, it appears, made Root tight in his arms triggering technical faults. And the mind games have not allowed him to concentrate fully on his batting. In short, he is trying too hard. And when that happens, mistakes occur.
Back to the numbers, though. Root is 4.216/5 on the exchange to top score. With no honours yet in the series there will be a school of thought that Root is due. After all, he has a hit rate of a 3.613/5 chance. And when you consider that Root has now not copped in the last eight first-innings for England then it's a very tempting bet indeed.
Captaincy could be the greater underlying problem of course. His game could be adversely impacted win, lose or draw. Time will tell. On the pure numbers, though, and our pressure theory, he doesn't look a bad wager.
He is 6/5 for a first-innings half-century and that might be an easier way of backing him. But it's not a fair price. In all innings Rot is just shy of being a 6/4 shot.
Lyon to roar
With Mitchell Starc missing for Australia the top bowler market looks like a straight shootout between Josh Hazelwood and Nathan Lyon. Hazlewood has more wickets in the series (15) but Lyon is only one behind.
Hazlewood is 2/1 and Lyon 7/2 with Sportsbook. What interests us here is how the two fare when Starc is missing. Interestingly, Hazlewood really struggles. His strike rate in Tests without his partner in crime is 90. Lyon's is 56.
In the last three years in Tests without Starc Lyon has 113 wickets in 23. Hazlewood 21 in nine. Maybe the wickets have been more conducive. But the MCG track is reported to be so dry England are considering playing two spinners.
Pat Cummins is 9/4 and Jackson Bird, Starc's replacement, 9/2. Neither man can improve on Lyon's strike rate without Starc.
Read Ed's full Fourth Test preview here