1. Jonathan Trott
England’s No 3 has been a linchpin of the team since his Test debut in 2009 but he faces his biggest challenge yet. Trott appeared at Brisbane not to be able to handle the short-pitched assault from Mitchell Johnson. If he cannot sort out his problems quickly, the future looks worrying for him.
2. Graeme Swann
Unable to find much turn from the Gabba pitch, the off-spinner also struggled to contain the Australian batsmen. In a four-man attack, if he cannot take wickets Swann must be able to play a containing role, to enable the seamers to take a breather. The Aussies have made their intentions clear.
3. Matt Prior
There is nothing wrong with Prior’s glovework but he has not made a Test half-century since the tour of New Zealand last spring. His runs at No 7 have been crucial to England in the past but at the moment his confidence looks low and his technique flawed. Australia will be encouraged by the struggles of England’s vice-captain.
4. The third seamer
Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled well enough at The Gabba; Chris Tremlett was far less effective, often failing to bowl at much more than 80mph. With neither Steve Finn nor Boyd Rankin looking convincing in the warm-up games, England may regret their decision to leave Graham Onions at home.
Verbal sparring is all very well but England would do better to ignore most of the on-field barbs. If Australia want to make this personal, let them. The tourists should follow the example of their captain, Alastair Cook, who simply turned his back on Johnson when he tried to sledge him.