Hussain: Deja vu, all over again

Joe Root was unable to turn his fifty into a hundred as England let a strong position slip on day one in Sydney. We've seen it all before, says Nasser Hussain...

Joe Root is no fool, he has been thinking about this for quite some time. His failure to convert is not a new thing and the odd thing for Joe is that when he does get a hundred, he invariably goes on to get a big hundred, if not a double hundred.

So it has become a mental issue. Part of me still admires the consistency of the bloke. You look at his stats in the last year and they are phenomenal, he scored half-centuries in 16 of his last 18 Tests - that in itself is something to admire.

But that makes it even more frustrating for him that he seems to be doing the hard part of Test cricket and then, when he's in, getting out - and getting out in different ways. It isn't like he is getting out to a certain bowler at a certain time.

It is summed up by the fact that Root and Steve Smith have got the same amount of half-centuries in the series but Smith has got double the runs. That tells you something about the two captains and what they're doing when they get to fifty.

It used to be that we'd say it was a nice problem to have but I think it has gone past that stage. I don't think it is a nice problem to have anymore because it has become a bit of an issue mentally and only Joe can solve it.

It will hurt him that it has happened again, especially in Sydney, because he got left out at the SCG on the last Ashes tour and it would have been a little bit of redemption to get a big hundred and win the game. Also, he hasn't got a hundred in Australia.

He doesn't want to leave saying, 'I never got a hundred in Australia'. We've seen on this tour and on previous tours that Australia is a seriously good place to bat and he is a seriously good batsman. He has one opportunity on this tour to put it right. He is too good a player not to get a hundred in Australia, that's for certain.

Jonny Bairstow came in after Joe got out and when he nicked off in the last over of the day, people questioned why England hadn't used a night-watchman.

Chris Woakes has been England's night-watchman in this series, he is out injured and whether you use a night-watchman is a very individual thing. Unless England have changed their policy, and when I played the game, it was purely down to the individual.

The only ones who don't have the option are openers - when this comes up Michael Atherton has a chunter in the corner of the commentary box and says, 'we never had a night-watchman, if we had to go out for the last half hour, no one did that for us!' With everyone else, you were given the option.

Someone like Mark Butcher, for example, very rarely liked a night-watchman, others did. I used to like a night-watchman because I didn't want to get out the night before and ruin my evening, simple as that. I wanted to try and bat for the whole of the next day. Jonny must have said he didn't want one and we've seen what has happened when he is left batting with the tail.

As a captain, I always wanted people to have a night-watchman just because there is nothing to gain from that period, all it can do is put a bit of a downer on the day.

That is the difference between Test cricket and one-day cricket. In Test match cricket you can work your socks off for 99 per cent of the day and in the last 10 minutes it can turn around completely. That doesn't really happen in one-day cricket. Mentally it is such a demanding game and Jonny will be sitting there now thinking 'I wish I'd taken the night-watchman option.'

He didn't and having been in such a strong position, England have let Australia back into the game. I don't know who said it but it's like déjà vu all over again, to be honest! It is exactly the same scorecard as they have had throughout the series.

Mark Stoneman and James Vince looking international players until they get out, Dawid Malan showing some grit, fight and character and being 55 not out, the captain getting runs but getting out between 50 and 100, England getting into good positions and letting them slip.

You go back to Brisbane, England were in a good position before the run out of Vince and then the game goes against you. In Perth they were 360-4 and then collapsed, it is the same time after time after time.

What is incredibly frustrating for the batting line-up is that you look at each of those individual batsmen and when they are at the crease, batting, you can't tell me they don't look like international players: Alastair Cook, Stoneman, Vince, Root, Malan, Bairstow, they look international players.

Vince and Stoneman keep doing the same things time and again. It must be incredibly frustrating, not just for them, but for the England fans watching, it's madness doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

I think Stoneman's place is more secure than Vince. He has shown some grit, not only in this series but also towards the end of last summer. I think because the search for Cook's opening partner has gone on for so long - and because the options from the Lions are slightly more in the middle order - he is safer in his spot.

Also, I don't think Stoneman has been as frustrating - James Vince must be one of the most frustrating cricketers of the last decade for England. I was one of the people saying that there was an England player there, even before he was playing for England, but you don't know until they play and react to difficulties and failures.

He's not really reacted and if it was just a one-off tour you wouldn't be too concerned but exactly the same thing happened when he played against Pakistan. There is a very good international player in there and he has got one innings to show people that he is that international player because if you keep getting out the same way, at some stage he's got to say, 'I've got to do something about this'.

He'll be under pressure, as will Stoneman, and it'll be a big second innings for both of them.

Day two will be an important day for Moeen Ali and the first thing I'd say is that I think England picked the right side and I thought Root did the right thing at the toss - even though his hand was forced a little bit by the side that he had with three seamers and two spinners.

I'm actually pleased that they've kept Moeen in the team because what you don't want is to turn up at Sydney and get to day four or five, the ball is turning and you've left one of your spinners out so I'm pleased with the balance of the side.

Moeen is in a difficult place mentally with his batting at the moment and I think he has to attack as he naturally would but not in a reckless way, it is a fine line. What he did in the last game was the innings of a man whose brain is completely scrambled, it was reckless and it was only a matter of time before he got out.

Moeen has to remind himself that sometimes when you bat down the order, you bat like a lower order batsman and he has to realise that he is a proper batsman, he's got to go out there with Malan and play like a proper batsman, trust his natural instinct to attack but not be reckless.