An English pitch. A cloudy sky. A Dukes ball. An accomplished bowler. A raucous crowd willing you to fail. An honoured team-mate no longer in the XI beside you. An article that annoyed you. A coach who challenged you. Family matters. Your own expectations. Your own doubts. Ashes pressure.
All these things and many more flashed through the minds of the Australian batsmen at Edgbaston, presenting obstacles both perceived and actual. Their response was undeniably dire, leaving the team's coaching staff to pick up the pieces between now and the fourth Test in Nottingham.
In the opinion of the batting coach Michael Di Venuto, Birmingham saw too much hazy decision-making by batsmen unused to the vagaries of English conditions and perhaps unprepared for the heightened atmosphere of Edgbaston, famously home to the loudest crowd on these shores.
Suggested remedies include better technical adaptation. But there is also a barb that should spur the visitors for the remainder of this tour. Di Venuto believes Australia's batsmen were not tough enough in the third Test, and they will need to be in order to prevent the series being decided in England's favour by the end of the fourth.
"It's hard to get 30,000 people screaming at training," Di Venuto said. "And I'm not too sure Stuart Broad and James Anderson want to come and bowl to us at training. So it's obviously hard at training to do that sort of thing, but we've all been in those situations before out in the middle.
"That's where the two guys in the middle have to take responsibility and get through. It's up to the two in the middle to counter-punch that. When you have a crowd like they were at Edgbaston it's quite noisy but a wonderful opportunity to quieten them down and get some runs.
"It's hard work, nobody's saying it's easy especially with way they bowled. Steven Finn coming into the side bowled really well, Anderson in the first innings, Broad bowled really well and they only used three bowlers in the first innings so we didn't get to their spinner or Ben Stokes.
"So in that first innings when the rain kept coming and they were on and off, they had a chance to stay fresh and they could bowl longer spells, sometimes that happens in the game. As a batting team we've got to counter that and we've got to be a little bit tougher."
During the match, David Warner observed that the Edgbaston atmosphere was more redolent of football than cricket, something Mitchell Johnson could concur with by the time he ended his contribution to the match, with a bizarre ball delivered from level with the umpire, apparently in response to constant taunting.
"Especially over here, you look at the football," Warner said. "The crowds, the home teams - you hear all the songs and chants. Then you come over here and you're playing the Ashes and it's the same thing. The crowd is singing and they're always going to be behind the English. Sometimes it is hard.
"I don't know what it is like as an incoming batsman when a guy is bowling a really good spell. But I know when you're out there you do feel that pressure. In your self you feel that little bit of pressure. It is helpful, especially when they've got their tail up."
Australia have been spooked by Birmingham's hordes before, most notably in 1981, when Ian Botham turned a probable victory for the tourists into a riotous steal for the hosts with a 5 for 1 spell of reverse swing that was spurred on by a Midlands tumult. Di Venuto wants his batsmen to put that out of their minds and make faster, better decisions in the fraction of a second after the ball is released.
"It's decision making at this level, and we have to be really precise with our decision making at this level," he said. "Whether you're going to play or leave the ball, or attack the ball. You certainly don't want to lose your intent to score because when there is a bad ball you want to be in a position to put it away.
"But as soon as the ball is released it's up to the batsmen to make a decision - is he going to play at it, is he going to leave it, is he going to attack, is he going to defend. We saw some indecision in a couple of our dismissals, a couple of bad shots, so again poor decision making, but again there was some good bowling as well. So there was a lot of pressure from an attack that worked well as a combination."
The best inspiration can be drawn from the performance put in by Peter Nevill, playing his second Test in controversial circumstances as Brad Haddin was overlooked. On day one, Nevill had been filleted by James Anderson's swing and seam, leaving alone a ball that tilted back off stump. But in the second innings, at a time when the atmosphere, bowling and match situation could not have been more adverse, he found a way.
What Nevill found was that gradually those other issues - the English pitch, the cloudy sky, the Dukes ball, the accomplished bowler, the raucous crowd willing you to fail - were able to recede from view. In their place was a scoreboard mounting slowly but steadily, and a ground no longer so intimidating. Nevill showed the toughness Di Venuto spoke about. Others must follow his example.