Even the greatest of players have form slumps, but those in their 36th year have to withstand greater scrutiny and field endless questions about eyesight and reaction time, especially against shorter and faster deliveries. They are not easy questions to ask of someone of Ponting's stature. Nor are they easy for him to answer.
Marcus North is a worse starter than pea soup and will be hard-pressed to retain his place in Hobart. Brad Haddin's counter-attacks have lacked conviction. At present, it's not so much an order as a disorder.
The first time a man trod on a garden rake and was struck in the face, one imagines it wasn't that funny. The second time it happened there was the odd guffaw (think the Ashes). By the third time the audience could see it coming and the laughs were rising from the belly as the handle rose towards the hapless comic's nose. It's all the funnier because you know it's coming. When Watson hits the 90s, Australians flock to television sets and seats in the outer. For most batsmen, such a migration would be in anticipation of the approaching ton. Not here. This is theatre of the cruel. Bad home video show stuff. You just got to watch.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here