Australia fielding coach Brad Haddin has taken the fall for the hosts' poor fielding effort on day one of the third Magellan Ashes Test in Perth where they dropped three catches to hand England the ascendancy.
Recalled allrounder Mitchell Marsh dropped a routine first slip’s catch to gift England opener Mark Stoneman a life on 52. An over later Nathan Lyon grassed a tough, looping chance diving full stretch at gully to give the same batsman a reprieve. Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood was the unlucky bowler on both occasions.
And with the first delivery of the second new ball bowled by Mitchell Starc, local lad and third slip Cameron Bancroft moved to his right in front of skipper Steve Smith and dropped Dawid Malan on 92. The left-handed No.5 finished the day unbeaten on 110.
Haddin said after play he’d take the bullet for his players after Australia’s quicks bent their back all day on a pitch which offered good pace and bounce but little sideways movement.
"I’m happy to take the responsibility, but I think just today what was really disappointing was the times we put them down, especially the one there at the end, the first ball with the new ball," Haddin told Optus Sport’s Stumps.
"We know if we can get into the England tail, especially with that new ball, it can happen really quick.
"It was disappointing to put those ones down especially the way our quicks worked, I thought they did a really good job.
"They hit the wicket hard, there were some uncomfortable times for the English batsman to get through, but we’ve just got to catch better behind the wicket."
While the Stoneman spill only cost the Australians four runs, Malan’s miss could prove costly.
The 30-year-old has already added 18 to his score and has looked as comfortable as one can be when facing three express fast bowlers hitting speeds in excess of 145kph.
What was perhaps most surprising was who the clumsy culprits were.
Marsh and Bancroft are regarded as excellent catchers, hence their employment in the slips cordon, and on their home track they would be familiar to the unique pace and carry the WACA Ground wicket provides.
But Haddin says playing at home might have hindered and not helped on a pulsating opening day.
"Maybe they got caught out with the pace of the wicket but it was the two WA boys, so they should be used to what the wicket does here,"Haddin said.
"(It’s) just one of those days.
"Test cricket does funny things, they’re two younger players, maybe they got a bit nervous about playing at home, but it’s just one of those things.
"We’ve just got to sit down, assess what happened today and quickly move on and get ourselves back into this game."
While the slips fielding was not up to scratch, Haddin praised the efforts of wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
Paine, who said after play he’d been working on his vertical leap, was at his acrobatic best on day one.
He reeled in a one-handed classic high above his head to remove Stoneman and was impeccable throughout the 89 overs.
Not only has his glovework been exemplary, Haddin acknowledged his work in the dressing room too.
"I think he’s made a real big difference,” Haddin said.
"I think his glovework’s been first-class. He’s tidied a lot of stuff up and as we know with keepers, if they go unnoticed they’re doing their job.
"What he did today with that one-handed catch is just reward for what he’s done throughout this series.
"He’s keeping well but the character he’s brought to our change rooms – he can shut those fast bowlers up pretty quickly when they get annoying!
"He’s been a really good asset to the team."
Despite the hard task, Paine said he enjoyed his time behind the stumps.
“It was good fun,” Paine said.
“I prefer not to be diving around as much as I was.
“It probably showed we were bowling two sides of the wickets at times.
“I wicketkeep to be in the game and I certainly was today.”
2017-18 International Fixtures
Magellan Ashes Series
Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.
England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard
Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets
Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21