Graeme Swann sounded a warning to Australia's batsmen before the second Test but the bulk of his teammates will fly to Adelaide with faces red as the desert sand after an underwhelming effort against the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in Alice Springs.
The second Test may be the more pressing goal for Andy Flower's squad but the coach had every right not to see his team fall behind on first innings against a team consisting of players shunned by their states.
Certainly, he would not have been waiting until the final ball of the innings and the 85th over for his reserve pacemen to pick up their first wicket.
No matter how much faith he has in Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin and even Chris Tremlett, who sat out the game, to come good this tour there can be no doubting how heavily invested England are on senior pace duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Rankin and Finn lacked penetration with the new ball, falling into the trap of bowling too short, and the unheralded opening pairing of Steve Cazzulino and Marcus Harris, who have three first-class centuries between them, were able to see out nearly 27 overs.
"The leg side is a strength of mine so I didn't mind them bowling there too much," Cazzulino said.
Their stand of 78, better than anything England could manage, and the efforts of their lower order, led by 45 from Josh Lalor and an unbeaten 39 to Ashton Turner, enabled the home side to pass England's declared total of 7-212 with just as many wickets spare.
The home side declared shortly after on 8-254. England were 1-47, losing Joe Root for 22, in their second innings when play finished.
Finn was particularly concerning for England. On a pitch where runs have not flowed freely, he leaked four an over and was treated with disdain by the tail.
Rankin collected the only wicket by a paceman though the hollowness of his achievement was indicated by his subdued celebrations, while all-rounder Ben Stokes was marginally better than the frontliners though hardly eyecatching.
But it was not all doom and gloom for the embattled tourists.
A week out before playing on the wicket expected to suit him most this series, Swann made a timely return to form, capturing four wickets.
On a pitch baked dry by scorching heat, Swann and Monty Panesar proved too cunning for their inexperienced opponents though the chances of them playing any Test together this summer are only slim.
Together, the pair claimed seven of the eight wickets though it would take a major departure from Flower's conservative style should England line up with spin twins at the Adelaide Oval.
But it could be a ploy well worth considering for England's brains trust particularly after Australia's nightmare tour of India when they were completely befuddled by the finger spin of Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
The Chairman's XI batsmen were clearly eager to follow the game plan implemented with such success by Australia's top seven in Brisbane though lacked the skill to execute the strategy.
At least three of Swann's met their demise trying to hit over the top rather than through the guile and deception of the bowler.
But Swann, who prefers bowling to left-handers, removed only one right-hander, which could be a worry for England given Australia's top seven contains only two South Paws.
Panesar, the forgotten tourist, showed signs he was ready to answer his country's call if required, claiming 3-41 from 19 overs.
His dismissal of Cazzulino was a beauty, bowling the opener after luring him down the track with a well flighted delivery which spun between bat and pad.
Sixteen-year-old Luke Doran did not seem out of his place during his time at the crease. Playing predominantly against the spinners, Doran survived for 48 minutes to make 17 before edging Swann to short leg.