Flat out embarrassing: Time to drop Warner?
Steve Smith has done his best to paper over the cracks all series, but there remains a major issue for Australia at the top of the order.
The last-gasp win at Old Trafford retained the Ashes on English soil, and could encourage selectors to show faith with those who contributed to the victory - but it won't stop the team's openers from being the major talking point at the selection table ahead of the fifth and final Test at the Oval.
Twin failures in both innings for David Warner and Marcus Harris at Old Trafford ensured Australia's opening partnership numbers make for flat out embarrassing reading.
Warner and Cameron Bancroft, dropped after two Tests, twice reached 13 - but that's as good as it has gotten for Australia, who have been given a return of just 7.75 for the opening wicket.
On seven of the eight occasions Warner has been the first man out, as you might expect from somebody who has made an alarming seven single-figure scores from eight innings.
Chopping and changing opening partnerships is typically a sign of instability. But Australia can't ignore the horribly out of form pair that have failed in the past two Tests.
Career: 6442 runs @ 64.01
Series: 79 runs @ 9.87, best: 61
In the worst series of his career, Warner has hit rock bottom.
At Old Trafford his first ever pair - among three ducks this series - cemented a disastrous comeback to Test cricket that has rendered the once powerhouse to little more than a walking wicket.
Working in his favour is his position as a senior player in the team, with 6442 Test runs to his name and an abrasive, backs-to-the-wall attitude. He also hit a gutsy 61 in horrid conditions at Headingley to suggest there is some juice left in the tank.
But outside of that, never before has Warner looked so out of his depth. At the start of the series the thought of dropping would've been crazy to suggest, but the numbers are against him.
Career: 373 runs @ 26.64
Series: 46 runs @ 11.50, best: 19
Thoroughly deserved his call-up to the Test team as reward for three excellent Shield seasons - capped off by last year when he led all scorers with 1188 at 69.88 in a banner summer.
Unfortunately he's not been able to translate that form into the Test arena after a productive debut series against India and has been found wanting in England - admittedly a tough ask in the most troubling conditions and against exceptional pacemen.
Harris has shown a willingness to attack and, at Shield level, a fondness for big centuries, so he'd rightly feel hard done by if jettisoned two Tests after returning to the XI.
Career: 446 runs @ 26.23
Series: 44 runs @ 11.00, best: 16
The forgotten man of Australia's returning Sandpaper trio, Bancroft came from a long way back to win inclusion in the Ashes squad - and then the team for the opening Test.
The selectors' faith was hardly rewarded as he and Warner were worked over, and Bancroft was axed after the Lord's Test with 44 scratchy runs to his name from four innings.
However Bancroft has shown a willingness to fight for his wicket and has faced 162 deliveries - eight more than Warner, despite playing two fewer Tests.
Protecting the middle order from the dangerous new ball is a valuable asset - so is being right-handed, with Stuart Broad's current reign of terror of Australia's lefties, and he also brings world-class fielding close-in catching to the table.
Career: 2887 runs @ 40.26
Series: 122 runs @ 20.43, best: 40
Khawaja has had the most productive series of the four candidates, with starts in each of the first three Tests - albeit from the relative comfort of No.3, though he was still joining the fray in the first handful of overs most innings.
The only non-specialist opener on this list, Khawaja has enjoyed success at the top of the order and averages 96.80 from seven innings, including two centuries.
However those centuries were scored on Australian soil, and his record in England - where he averages just 19.67 from six Tests - is less generous.
And could Australia really recall the fall guy from their shock defeat at Headingley after just one Test? It would be a remarkable change of heart.
Career: 1123 @ 40.10
On paper Burns appears to be the ideal candidate.
Burns is right-handed, has a four Test centuries to his name and, in his most recent outing in the baggy green, notched a career-best 180.
At 30, he's more confident in his game now than at any point in his 16-Test career and has before done well when thrown into the melting pot at the last minute - scoring 42 against South Africa just days after getting off the plane having been flown in to replace the banned Sandpaper trio.
If not for the fact that he's over 16,000km away from the Oval, Burns would certainly be putting the heat on Warner and Harris.
However, he was the cruellest cut of all when selectors whittled the squad down to 17 after the intra-squad battle, losing out to Bancroft - and as such he's at home in Australia and unable to be called on.