In the aftermath of defeat at Lord's, it was suggested that future England teams could be selected by the use of video highlights.

This, we were told, would empower the England team management to pick players without the filter of other selectors.

But imagine you were to watch a highlights package of England's batting on the first day at Old Trafford. As well as Joe Root's gorgeous back-foot drives - surely among the most beautiful strokes in contemporary cricket - and Alastair Cook's straight drives - a less characteristic stroke - you would also have seen four sparkling boundaries from James Vince. One of them, a cover drive off Yasir Shah, was as pretty a shot as was seen all day. On such evidence, you could be forgiven for concluding that Vince was every bit as good a player as the other two.

But it's not the good shots that make the difference. Most professional batsmen can put away the half-volley and long-hop. Many boundaries look attractive.

What separates the good - and they're all good players - from those good enough to make it at Test level is the judgment of when to play and when to leave; when to attack and when to defend. As ever with Test cricket, it is as much the shots that are not played, as those that are, that make the difference.

So, a highlights package might not include the many deliveries that Root left outside off stump. They might not show him taking a short ball on the shoulder when he realised that, should he attempt a shot, he risked pulling the ball to the two men out for the stroke. They might not illustrate the extra discipline and patience he showed when he swept or pulled - both shots brought his dismissal at Lords; both shots here were studiously played into the ground - or the fact that both men played straighter than in the first Test, or that, in Cook's case, he played his forward defensive strokes with increased conviction to ensure he did not nick off in the same manner as Lord's. Defensive shots and leaves tend not to make highlights packages.

But they are the moments that make the difference. And as Vince, Alex Hales and Gary Ballance reflect on their performances here, they could do a lot worse than learn from the examples provided by Cook and Root.

Hales, to be fair, was beaten by a fine inswinger. Albeit one that passed through a gap between pad and bat so large you could reverse a Winnebago through it. But perhaps the reason for Hales' reluctance to get forward was an incident a few balls earlier when he had, on 6, sliced an attempted drive to gully and been fortunate to survive. Determined not to be lured into a similar error, he found his feet glued to the crease.

The worrying aspect of Vince's Test experience so far is that he does not appear to be learning. Just as he departed at Lord's, chasing one angled across him and slicing an attempted drive to slip, so he fell here. To make matters worse, he had already survived a chance to slip on 6 as a result of the same loose shot. He just makes it too easy for the bowlers.

Ballance fell trying to chop a back-of-a-length delivery down to third man. Perhaps surprised by the extra pace of the new ball, his angled bat resulted in a deflection on to his stumps. A straighter bat, a more defensive shot and he would be resuming on the second morning.

As it is, Chris Woakes will be the man walking out to bat next to Root. While Woakes' promotion to No. 6 as nightwatchman (the position in which he made his Test debut in 2013) is, on one hand, frustrating - it leaves Moeen Ali batting at No. 9 - it was also understandable. He arguably has the tightest technique of any batsman outside the top three. Almost immediately upon arriving at the crease, he played an identical delivery to the one that dismissed Ballance straight back down the pitch: the benefits of a straight, dead bat might not make a highlights package, but they can make the difference in a career.

Most of all, this was a day that showed England's continuing reliance upon Root and Cook. Both men showed they had learned the lessons of Lord's and both men showed a willingness to accept the responsibility that has been thrust their way and the desire to work for their runs. As Cook put it, they have talked about being the leaders in this batting line-up; here they backed up their talk with words.

"As captain you might talk a little bit more than the other players," he said. "So sometimes it's nice that the actions back up some of the words you've been saying."

Cook will never play a drive with the fluency of Vince. But he now has 29 Test centuries. The message for Vince is pretty clear: Test batting is more about denial than dashing. If he can't tighten up, if he can't demonstrate the patience required to graft for his runs; if he can't learn, much of his future batting will be done at county level.

"The ways I got out last week weren't the best," Root agreed, "So it was nice to speak about things within the group and then actually go out and deliver it. It's one thing saying it, and another going out and proving it to the rest of your team-mates.

"I worked really hard today to graft. Maybe I didn't score at the rate I have done previously over the last couple of years, but if that's what it's going to take to score big hundreds that's what I'm going to have to do. I've felt in good touch all summer, but I've found some stupid ways to get out.

"Looking back at last week, there were two quite reckless shots. You want to learn from that, and make sure you don't make those mistakes again. I was trying to take as much risk out of my batting as possible."

Some caution is required while assessing this England total. This is a good batting surface and Pakistan, in chasing wickets, did not bowl with the discipline required to flourish. England are still at least 150 short of a commanding first-innings total. But they do have a platform and they do have Root and Cook and a whole lot of leaving and defending to thank for it.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo