As they fight to recover from the setback at Headingley and seal the Ashes with victory at Old Trafford, Australia's tourists have called back Steve Waugh to help mentor the team after he was conspicuously absent during the Leeds Test.
Originally scheduled to be with the team for only the first two Tests of the series, Waugh toyed with rushing back from a prior commitment in Australia to be around for Headingley, but in his absence the touring team got to the brink of an Ashes victory before throwing it away in a mad hour up against a rampant Ben Stokes.
It is a measure of how much Waugh's presence was valued, but also how desperate Australia are to finish this Ashes series on the winning side, that he has been flown back into camp, arriving late on Sunday night in Manchester to help oversee the team's preparations for the fourth Test. He will also stay on for the final match at The Oval.
"He was supposed to come until the end of the second Test but he enjoyed it so much and we saw such great value in having him here," coach Justin Langer said. "Guys like Punter [Ricky Ponting] and Steve Waugh, not only do they have a great presence in the group, but they are great psychologists. They've been in the cauldron before, they've seen it all, so to have that those type of guys, we are talking about developing leadership in Australian cricket, to have our guys to learn from people of that calibre is very important short term.
"Longer term there is huge value in that (too). He's been like a kid at Christmas, to come back after such a long time away from the game, his passion and enthusiasm for the game has been brilliant. We asked him to stay for the third Test but he had to go back for a function, he was actually going to fly there, do the function and fly back the next day. That's how much he is enjoying it and we see great value."
"Any chance we have for our guys to rub shoulders with them is a huge benefit short and long term, but whether that's the difference between us winning or losing a Test match like the other day, you can never tell" Justin Langer
Asked whether or not Waugh's presence had been missed at Headingley, Langer said that while it was hard to quantify, he was in little doubt that the presence of great former players alongside the current group was a significant encouragement to the team.
"You can't measure it. Would it have made any difference in those last 60 or 70 runs? Who knows," Langer said. "These things I've always felt throughout my whole time in Australian cricket to learn from the Dennis Lillees and the Allan Borders and the David Boons and the Ian Chappells and the Greg Chappells, the list goes on. So any chance we have for our guys to rub shoulders with them is a huge benefit short and long term, but whether that's the difference between us winning or losing a Test match like the other day, you can never tell.
"Certainly the way we have gone about our business for the first three Tests, there's a bit of steel there and having those sort of people around helps. I don't think he'd do it full time, a bit like Punter, they have got so many other things in their life, but anytime we can have them with the group... If you could have Punter one day a year you would have him because he has such an impact on the group, same with Tugga."
Having Waugh involved, much like Ponting fulfilled an assistant coaching role during the World Cup, was a priority for Langer after he faced many testing moments during his first home summer as coach. Neither Waugh nor Ponting have come cheaply for Cricket Australia, but there is clearly a desire to have them involved in a semi-regular capacity, especially around major assignments such as the World Cup, the Ashes, or next year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.
"We are setting up this mentoring system where we have these great players coming in and being with the guys," Langer said. "It's unsustainable doing it full time, we are seeing that throughout coaching around the world really, but when we can have them we will have them as much as we can.
"This is my chosen profession, you feel it as journalists, it's hard work being on the road all the time but that is our profession, Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting haven't chosen to become career coaches whereas this is my job. You ride the highs and lows of that and you learn along the way, that's why it's important from a personal point of view to have great friends like Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting or any of my old team mates, like the other assistant coaches, they share the load if you like."
Waugh inspired part of how Australia tackled the aftermath of Headingley, as Langer insisted upon a ruthless approach to the tour match against Derbyshire while also keeping the whole squad together rather than allowing for those not playing in Derby to take brief breaks elsewhere.
"Steve Waugh's talked about, we've talked about the great Australian teams have been pretty ruthless in winning games of cricket," Langer said. "Before the toss, we said, 'it's not a practice game, it's not a centre wicket hit out, we're going to play a proper game of cricket; we're going to try and win the game no matter what'. They won the toss and batted, usually it's a bigger challenge to do that (win) in a three-day game. The way our guys won the game in two-and-a-bit days was that's a guide to me they're up.
"They were all together, they trained together, sometimes it can become a bit fractured. It's not going to be fractured here for the next few weeks. I thought the attitude of the last few days was really good. Because on the back of a World Cup, you've got to try and give guys as much mental rest as possible. The physical rest is fine; they're all fit now except for some of the fast bowlers at stages. It's always been a philosophy and theme of my coaching is we've got to do things together as much as we possibly can.
"It might be right, it might be wrong, that's just a strong belief I have. Everyone was in Nottingham. They were all together, we'll stick together. There's only a few more weeks of this tour. It's been a long hard tour, we'll stick together as much as we can. Hopefully it'll give us the right outcome."
The Australians will be without one member of their support staff, though, with assistant coach Brad Haddin returning home to Sydney for personal reasons.