The once-hapless Mitchell Johnson, who often seemed to better threaten the slip cordon rather than the stumps, was worryingly accurate at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday as he undermined the home side's attempts to reach Australia's 315 for seven.
Adam Voges, the Australian all-rounder, believes the quick bowler will respond to the inevitable jibes of the crowd today simply by taking more wickets at Edgebaston. "The crowd don't miss him, do they?" he joked. "Every opportunity they get, even in Scotland. I think he relishes it. He's been outstanding. When you're bowling 90mph plus and swinging the ball, that's a challenge for any batsmen. If he can do that consistently throughout the series, I hope that will go a long way towards us winning it."
Johnson dominated England's openers with a devasting new-ball spell, and he could easily have been better rewarded than by figures of two for 36. The brute of a delivery he produced to dismiss Jonathan Trott for a duck was a warning blast across England's boughs, and a far cry from some of the wretched displays which have blighted the left-armer's career.
There is a caveat to all this, though - namely the absence of England's top-order grinders, as well as the first-string bowling attack which would certainly set lower targets to chase, relieving pressure on their batsmen.
That decision to rest their best players was criticised recently by former captain Michael Vaughan, but Ashley Giles, the England coach, said he believed his former teammate had tweeted harshly and hurriedly that a partial ticket refund should be due to short-changed spectators.
"It's harsh - I think it was said in haste by Michael," he said. "This is an exciting side to come watch."
It will also be a side containing young players - like all-rounder Ben Stokes - hungry to stake their claim for a place in the team. "This exposure is crucial," insisted Giles. "It's hard on these young guys at times because we're asking them to do a lot. But we're asking them to do because we believe we can."