Ashes 2013-14: Ben Stokes credits Australia's Brad Haddin
England all-rounder Ben Stokes said they were at a loss as to how to stop Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin's Ashes rescue acts.
"Haddin is my player of the series. It is just about possible that Australia would still have won the Ashes without Mitchell Johnson, but they could not have done it without the consistent contributions of Haddin at number seven."
Haddin scored 75 off 90 balls as his side recovered from 97-5 to post 326 on the first day of the fifth Test.
England, who trail 4-0 in the series, were 8-1 at stumps in Sydney.
"When he came in and started hitting it back over your head, you stand there scratching your head, thinking, 'this isn't meant to happen'," said Stokes.
"He's taken every chance to get runs."
Stokes, who took a Test-best 6-99, added: "It's just the way he comes out and plays his natural game straight away, whatever the situation is.
"We started really well. Then Haddin and Smith counter-attacked and I think they probably ended up getting about 50 or 60 too many, more than we'd have liked.
"When a guy is playing like that, I guess you have to hold your hands up to him."
Haddin has scored at least a half-century in all five Ashes Tests - the first player to achieve the feat in an Ashes series since Australia's Keith Stackpole in 1972.
His counter-attacking innings have been a feature of the series and Friday in Sydney was no different as he carried the fight to England's bowlers.
He added 128 for the sixth wicket with Steve Smith, who went on to score 115.
"Brad was great to bat with," said Smith. "I sort of just took a back seat and just watched him go and the way he played his shots today was brilliant."
Haddin's Ashes scores
Brisbane: 94 & 53
Perth: 55 & 5
"In tough circumstances, he just comes in and tries to switch the momentum of the game - and he's done it on numerous occasions this series. He's played beautifully."
England's situation was not helped by the fact Boyd Rankin, one of three debutants along with Gary Ballance and Scott Borthwick, twice limped out of the attack after feeling his left hamstring.
Rankin was sent for a scan, which revealed little, and according to Stokes was suffering from nothing more than cramp.
"He's fine," said Stokes. "It was just a bit of cramp, which is pretty normal in Australian heat - so I think he'll be good to go in the next bowling innings."