Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar gave England something to be cheerful about in their drawn match against the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI.
Swann and Panesar claimed seven of the eight Chairman's XI wickets that fell at Traegar Park, however there will have been concerns over the fact England's pace bowlers struggled to make an impact.
Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin and Ben Stokes did little to enhance their Test hopes as they lacked cutting edge in Alice Springs.
Finn was too expensive, conceding 61 runs off his 15 overs, and although Rankin picked up a late wicket he was targeted late on to finish with 1-52. All-rounder Stokes, who has been touted as possible inclusion in the side for the second Test, bowled tidily but never really troubled the Chairman's XI.
And to make matters worse for the tourists, Joe Root fell cheaply in the final hour's play after the hosts had declared on 254-8.
England eventually finished the game on 47-1 - a lead of five - with a draw always the likely result for a game played over just two days.
It took the introduction of Swann and Panesar to finally get England moving in the right direction after the Chairman's XI had threatened to dominate.
Swann, who had suffered badly at the hands of the Australia batsmen during the first Test defeat, claimed three quick wickets in the morning session before combining with Panesar to good effect.
Swann removed the dangerous Marcus Harris just shy of his half-century before picking up the scalps of Michael Hill, Alex Keath and Jake Doran at Traegar Park, while Panesar dismissed Steve Cazzulino, Luke Robins and Josh Lalor.
Resuming on 16-0, Harris and Cazzulino had batted well to frustrate the tourists with a stand of 78 for the opening wicket.
However Harris (49) finally departed as his attempts to smash Swann out of the attack only succeeded in finding the hands of Finn at mid-off.
Hill fell in identical fashion for 13 with Finn taking another good catch.
And Swann (4-56) claimed his third wicket of the morning session as Stokes took a sharp catch at mid-wicket to remove Keith for four.
Panesar, making his first appearance on the tour, got in on the act as he claimed the prized scalp of Cazzulino for 48 - with the opener clean bowled after being beaten by the flight of the delivery.
The two spinners were working brilliantly together to turn the screw and Doran, having survived a good shout for caught behind, finally cracked under the pressure as he edged Swann to Gary Ballance at short leg.
Robins' stay lasted just five balls, with Jonny Bairstow stumping him after he was bamboozled by Panesar (3-41).
Ashton Turner and Lalor stemmed the flow of wickets, though, as they shared a stand of 64 for the seventh wicket.
However it was the return of the Swann-Panesar combination that finally broke the partnership. Lalor had looked good as he reached 45 but he tried one big shot too many and was caught at mid-on off Panesar.
Turner (39no) and James Muirhead (29) added some quick runs after the introduction of the new ball, scoring 48 off 32 balls before Rankin had the latter caught behind to bring about the declaration.
Trailing by 42 runs, it looked like their might be some fireworks in the last hour as Michael Carberry smashed the first ball to the boundary.
However it was the hosts who were celebrating after Root (1) gloved a cracking delivery from Simon Mackin behind.
That gave Gary Ballance another chance to impress at No 3 and the Yorkshire batsman, who scored a half-century in the first innings, was once again content to take his time at the crease, with his eight runs coming off 39 deliveries.
With Ballance dropping anchor, Carberry was happy to play his shots to reach 37 off 43 balls - and a boundary in the final over moved England back in front.