When Australia have been in trouble in this Ashes series Brad Haddin has been the fireman, rescuing his team from perilous situations. In similar circumstances two years ago, he was pouring petrol on the fire.
In making 55 to steady Australia on day one at the WACA Ground, the veteran became only the fourth wicketkeeper to make four consecutive scores of at least 50. The first, the West Indies' Clyde Walcott, died in 2006 but the other two were in Perth to see it: Andy Flower (who, remarkably, got seven) as England's coach and Adam Gilchrist for his induction to the ICC Hall of Fame.
Twice when Australia have stumbled on the opening morning of a Test this series it has been the recalled veteran who played vital roles in the recovery, from 5-100 in Brisbane and 5-143 on Friday in Perth. Two summers ago he was one of the main lightning rods in two of Australia's worst losses, away to South Africa in Cape Town and at home to New Zealand in Hobart.
Haddin fell cheaply in the first innings at Cape Town but it was his departure in the second that floored cricket fans almost as much as Australia getting bowled out for 47 did. At 4-15 he backed away, limited overs-style, trying to scythe Vernon Philander through the covers and was caught behind for a duck.
A month later in Hobart his first-innings departure for five, half-heartedly lifting Black Caps seamer Doug Bracewell to mid-off when Australia was 5-69, was derided by former Test bowler Geoff Lawson on ABC Radio for being "careless, verging on reckless".
Haddin compounded that ignominy in the second innings when he arrived at 5-192, with his team chasing 241 for victory. After an expansive drive was put down in slips when he was on 15 the veteran inexplicably tried the same shot from the next ball and departed. Australia went on to lose as a stoic David Warner ran out of partners.
Haddin, publicly anyway, is a defiant character, but for much of his international career he has tried to hit his way out of trouble rather than grind his way out of it – until the past month.
The recall of Mitch Johnson for this series has been hailed as a masterstroke from selectors, but their faith in the 36-year-old has been similarly consequential and rewarding.
Haddin had universal sympathy when he gave up his Test spot in early 2012 to care for his then gravely ill daughter. On strictly performance grounds, however, it was understandable why selectors moved on to Matthew Wade. Across Haddin's 16 Test series as preferred gloveman before this summer he had averaged above 40 in only six of them. Furthermore, between the 2010-11 Ashes, when his influence was secondary only to Mike Hussey, and this summer he had averaged only 23.42 with the bat, only once reaching 40 in consecutive innings.
Haddin's latest innings his taken his series record to 320 runs at an average of 80. While he has retained the best aspects of his technique – his driving in the V is elite – he has complemented it with the restraint to know, and demonstrated, that a straight bat is sometimes preferable to a swinging one.
Vice-captain Haddin might have come back into the national-team fold for his leadership but what has entrenched his preferred status, for well into the forseeable future, has been his ability to deliver with the bat both so unerringly. Even including the winter Ashes series, where he averaged a lowly 22.89, he has been involved in eight 50+ partnerships, a tally exceeded only by captain Michael Clarke for Australia, with nine.
Haddin's form is also vindication for those who watched him excel for years in the Sheffield Shield during the Gilchrist years and were convinced his international career before this summer was not as glittering as it could - and arguably should - have been. He has always been trusted by teammates. Now, that trust is spreading far beyond the boundary.