Hussain: Aussie attack relentless

Nasser Hussain says Australia's varied bowling attack gives England no let-up - and that the tourists must take some scalps on day five of the Ashes opener as they look to avoid an implosion...

The big difference between the sides in the first Ashes Test has been that Australia's star player, Steve Smith, has played a world-class innings that wins you games.

England had their warnings from Trevor Bayliss before the series when he said pretty fifties would not be enough and that has become apparent, with Smith's 141 not out for Australia the main reason they are now only 56 runs away from a 1-0 lead.

It is also linked to the bowling - after James Anderson and Stuart Broad there is a massive drop-off in England's attack so Smith knows that if he sees the first two off he can bat long.

When England are batting they get to 30 or 40 and there is absolutely no let-up at all - Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon are a consistent threat.

They are also different - Starc is the left-armer who pitches it up and swings it; Hazlewood is the line bowler; Cummins has that extra pace; and then Lyon comes on with his spin. Smith always has options.

That makes it harder for Joe Root but what is a concern is that he is getting out in a similar way - he's been dismissed twice lbw in this match but also quite a bit like that in the last year.

He is just falling across his crease a little bit in Australia and losing his balance - what Australia are doing is pushing him back and making him go off-side and then unleashing the sucker-punch with the full ball.

That's something for him to work on, as is his conversion rate - if he brings big hundreds then he can turn around to his team and say "there you go". At the moment he is as guilty as anyone of getting out after passing fifty.

Jonny Bairstow fell for 42, uppercutting Starc to third man, but I think he is caught between a rock and a hard place, as he knows the tail will be bombarded with bouncers and they are likely to be blown away.

It is difficult for him and Moeen Ali to work out which way to play, which is another area where England are missing Ben Stokes - him not being there has unsettled the batting order a bit, with Moeen now at 6 after becoming used to batting at No 8.

I have no complaints with Ali being given out stumped - the line belongs to the umpire. The most frustrating thing, as Moeen said afterwards, was that he didn't get his foot behind the line.

It's alright getting stumped coming down the pitch but to do so playing a perfect forward defence is frustrating - I remember Duncan Fletcher used to get annoyed when that used to happen to Andrew Flintoff. Against spin you should probably be half a foot inside your crease.

That said, Lyon has shown his class in this game - his talk beforehand rather side-tracked from how fine an off-spinner he is and how good he is against left-handers. Bowling off-spin in Australia is not easy, as Ali is finding out, especially with a cut finger. That is also a concern for England.

I don't think there's too much England could have down to disturb David Warner and Cameron Bancroft more in the final session, albeit that the body language looked a bit low.

What England need to do on day five is take a couple of scalps with them - perhaps Usman Khawaja if he gets in by bowling Ali and Root against him as he obviously has problems against spin.

They need to go to Adelaide with something as from now on, it's about their mental strength - the tailenders, for example, will turn up every time knowing they will get lambasted with short-pitched bowling. England must ensure this tour doesn't implode because there have been positives.

They were 145-2 before Lyon ran out James Vince in the first innings and they had Australia 209-7 before Smith and Cummins' excellent partnership got Australia a lead. Even bowling Australia out for 328 was an achievement - Anderson and Broad bowled very well in that innings.

So there are things for England to build on but if they are not careful they could go in the wrong direction.