Derbyshire 81 for 2 trail Australians 413 for 9 dec by 332 runs
Brad Haddin wandered out onto the county ground in Derby looking oddly underdressed. There were no wicketkeeper's pads or gloves, and he took up a position square of the wicket at point for the start of Derbyshire's innings. Later in the morning, Haddin chatted jovially to spectators while fielding on the fence: a rare spell away from the action.
For years Peter Nevill had been Haddin's understudy for state and country. Now, however, it looks completely clear that Nevill will be the gloveman of first choice for the third Test at Edgbaston and beyond. For all his contribution to the Australian team over the past seven years, Haddin may well have played his final Test.
There has been a jocular air to Haddin's presence this week that suggests he is relaxed about events. On the opening day he batted without anxiety, and his call for the physio Alex Kountouris to attend to some leg discomfort was among the most light-hearted injury time-outs in memory - even the world weary Shane Watson could raise a smirk.
The regeneration of the Australian team is taking place match by match on this tour, from the retirement of Ryan Harris in Chelmsford to the dropping of Watson at Lord's and now the elevation of Nevill above Haddin in Derby. Another step in the changing shape of the team may yet take place at Edgbaston if Chris Rogers is unfit to resume after his inner ear problems and Shaun Marsh called in to replace him.
Should Rogers be unable to take his place and Marsh excel, there is an argument for retaining the younger man. Certainly the coach Darren Lehmann does not appear wedded to the idea of hanging onto his older soldiers for as long as possible, remarking that Rogers is an important player "for this tour" but not hesitating to indicate that would be as far as it went. Even the captain Michael Clarke, still very much a man out of form, may himself be on limited time.
One of the reasons Lehmann is content to have change running through the side is that the nation's bowling stocks are so strong. With Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood all relaxing in London, Peter Siddle and Pat Cummins made for an international class opening combination against Derbyshire, with Mitchell Marsh, Watson and Fawad Ahmed in support. Cummins was playing his first red-ball match for two years, but by his second spell was already looking fluent and fast. There was even a hint of swing.
"The boys were getting into me a little bit about forgetting what to do, how to prepare, how to warm-up for a first-class game - a few boys were pointing out the red ball saying it was red, not white," Cummins said. "It surprised me a little bit how long it's been, because I feel like I've been playing a lot of cricket and while it was the first first-class game for a while it didn't feel like too long since I've been playing.
"Swing was something I was a little bit conscious of in the last year or so, especially playing a lot of white-ball cricket, but spending those two or three months up in Brisbane I think has been a bit of a blessing in disguise. I've been able to work on that and the last month or two I've really felt comfortable swinging the ball and getting to learn where my wrist and everything is."
As for Haddin, Cummins showed his mischievous side by remarking on the senior man's skills while roaming in the deep. "He did a good job out there," he said. "I think he'll make a good boundary fielder later in his career." Kids these days.