Revolution in the head
Adelaide, South Australia
Slumped shoulders. Angry words. Looks that could, if not quite kill, at least leave a rather nasty scar.
While England's batsmen enjoyed another remarkable day, Australian tempers first frayed then tore at the Adelaide Oval.
Ricky Ponting, having been dismissed for a golden duck and watched his side skittled out at bargain basement price on a lovely track, lost his rag with Andrew Strauss on day one. Peter Siddle and Xavier Doherty, impotent all afternoon as England raced to a lead of 72 with eight wickets in hand, stood stony-faced with hands on heads.
Doug Bollinger, reduced to puce rage by the sight of Alastair Cook making it a staggering 1022 minutes without being dismissed, might have torn his hair out if he hadn't paid so much for it.
England, for so long stereotyped as feeble-minded fall-guys in Ashes dramas down under, appear to be remorselessly gaining the upper hand in the psychological stakes as well as the physical battle.
"Friday night showed that Ricky Ponting is ruffled," says Michael Vaughan, former England skipper and watching events at the Adelaide Oval for Test Match Special.
"There's no need to do what he did in public. If he had a problem he could have done it round the back of the dressing-rooms.
"He did it to me in 2005. He wasn't happy with me throwing the ball in to the 'keeper - he thought I was throwing it at the batsman but I wasn't, I just wasn't throwing it very well. After a bad day for your team it doesn't look good to be doing what he did."
Ricky Ponting seeks assistance from a higher power as Australia toil in Adelaide - photo: Getty
Justin Langer, former Australia opener and now the team's batting and leadership coach, sees something else in the body language.
"With all the hype that comes into an Ashes series - we've seen people be written up, written off - there's going to be tension there," he told me. "And if there's tension there, the pressure builds up and stuff comes out. That's life. That's cricket.
"I've got four beautiful daughters. I love those kids more than anything else in the world. But sometimes, if I wake up in the morning and one of the girls spills milk on the counter or drops her cornflakes, I might get a bit grumpy with her and snap at her.
"It doesn't mean I don't love her. It's just a human reaction under pressure. If I'm a bit tired, I haven't had enough sleep, the baby's kept me awake - if one of the girls then talks back, I'll ask her what the hell she's doing."
Saturday was another chastening day for Ponting and his men. It wasn't just another unbeaten century for the transformed Cook, or the way Kevin Pietersen looked like he could repeat that trick from his viral video and bat blindfolded without too much trouble.
It was just as much that Australia, having taken the gamble of dropping two of their big-name bowlers after struggling to take wickets at the Gabba, find themselves no better off. And that would surely worry the strongest of characters.
"You've been told how rubbish you are for the last week, you're determined to do well, you get out or struggle with the ball - of course you're going to be grumpy," says Langer. "This is your life. This is your livelihood.
"What happened with Brad Haddin and Ponting was human beings reacting to difficult situations. Anyone would be the same. They're also tired - we've had back-to-back Test matches on flat wickets.
"There won't be a parent in the world who won't get grumpy with their kids every now and then. But it doesn't mean they're a bad parent. It's the same in cricket. Sometimes, when you're under pressure or a bit tired, you might say something. You're reacting under pressure."
England batsmen have struggled to cope with that pressure on recent Ashes tours to Australia, but since the start of their second innings in Brisbane, the current line-up seem to have dealt with it with previously uncharacteristic aplomb.
"The essence of good cricket is having a clear mind, so the strategy for the fielding side is to get the batsman thinking about other stuff - whether it's the runs he has or hasn't scored in the past, what his feet might be doing, what his head position might be, what the selectors might be thinking about him, what the crowd might be saying," explains Langer.
"As soon as you start thinking about those things, you're away from having clarity in your mind. That's what sledging is for me - sowing some seeds of doubt in a player's mind. But if you're playing well, with that clarity, it can't touch you."
Ponting has lost his rag in an Ashes battle before, when his run-out by Gary Pratt at Trent Bridge in 2005 triggered a furious rant at England coach Duncan Fletcher on the home balcony. Has Andrew Strauss been trying to provoke that temper again?
"When Ricky's batting you say nothing to him," reveals Vaughan. "Maybe the odd little bit, but the way you wind him up is by playing good cricket. Just have a good day. You do your answering on the pitch with runs and wickets, and the language you create out in the middle.
"Most captains get a bit edgy when the team isn't playing as well as it can. They get a lot of stick on the press, there's a lot of talk about your position - it's all pressure. All your energies have to be on performance, and getting your team to produce to their maximum.
"What's important is that your lads stay very tight, so that if there is a confrontation everyone on the team backs each other up. That's what being in a team is all about."
The team that Langer played in - unbeaten in Ashes series for 16 years and utterly dominant in world cricket - had an understandable hold over most England teams of the era. When Shane Warne called Ian Bell The Shermanator, no-one imagined Bell would come back with a riposte of his own.
"With Warnie and Steve Waugh and McGrath you pretty much knew that if you went at them they would have an answer to it," says Vaughan. "I don't think this Aussie team have really got much to chat about.
"Here I see one team in England playing with confidence, and one team in Australia playing without confidence.
"James Anderson's body language and talk just shows his confidence. He feels that he's now the leader of this England attack, and he thrives off that. If he thinks he can unsettle a batsman in any way, with the odd word, he's going to say it."
This series is just a match and two days old. There is a lot of cricket left to be played. There is also, believes Langer, likely to be a lot more psychological warfare.
"It's how cricket should be," he says. "They're men, aren't they?
"Players are actually pretty respectful. I took a catch off Vaughany in the 2003 series here, and I knew I'd caught it. But Vaughany said, 'No no, I want to go to the third umpire'. If you do that they're never going to give it, but we all knew it was out.
"I said to him, 'I promise you I caught it'. And he said, 'No, I'm going to the third umpire'. I was furious. Fuming. I probably swore at him, told him whatever. That stuff goes on.
"But it's what we want to see in sport. We want to see boys going mad when they make a hundred, when they're under pressure.
"That's the beauty of sport - seeing how you react. Sport has to matter, and when it matters, people are going to react."