Graeme Hick, Zimbabwe-born but who played 65 Tests for England between 1991 and 2001 and finished his prolific first-class career with 136 hundreds, is coaching Australia A against the tourists in the ongoing match at the Bellerive Oval.
After a second-day washout here, Hick - employed by Cricket Australia as a high performance coach - made it clear he does not expect England to have anywhere near as easy a time over the next two months as they did last summer.
Alastair Cook's tourists were prevented by rain from adding to his and Michael Carberry's unbroken stand of 318 on day one, frustrated by damp bowlers' run-ups even after the bad weather relented in mid-afternoon.
England may therefore have limited opportunity, in whatever remains of this match with an uncertain forecast for the next two days, and then in Sydney next week to assess the merits of those pushing for the undecided places at number six in the batting order and as third seamer.
Irrespective of that inconvenience, Hick believes Australia will be tougher nuts to crack on home soil as England eye a fourth successive Ashes series victory.
"I think Australia will certainly be a different team, even if it's the same personnel," the 47-year-old former Worcestershire batsman said.
"I think they'll definitely have more of a go and certainly give England more of a challenge.
"I'm certainly expecting it to be a lot closer."
Hick could not help but be impressed, however, by what he has seen in Hobart from Carberry - 153 not out at stumps on day one, to Cook's 154 - as the journeyman left-hander continues to state a compelling case for a Test comeback after a solitary cap more than three years ago.
"He had an opportunity, and he certainly took it," he said.
"I thought he left the ball very well, and was certainly very disciplined, got himself in well and capitalised on it."
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior is intent on doing exactly the same, once his luck changes after his lean summer with the bat.
Prior, who averaged only 19 in England's 3-0 Ashes win, has wondered at times whether he used up a season's worth of good fortune in his brilliant match and series-saving century against New Zealand in Auckland at the end of March.
Either way, once he gets the chance, he is preparing some payback - preferably against Australia.
"You need a bit of luck, and you can't over-estimate how much that plays a part," he said.
"At Trent Bridge I batted brilliantly, then toe-ended one straight to a bloke twice - when does that ever happen?
"You compare that with Auckland where the ball went off my lid, hit the stumps twice and the bails didn't come off!
"You do sometimes just need that nick to fly through the gap rather than fly straight to the man.
"But just hang in, stay true to yourself - and it will turn round."
At that point, he will make sure he cashes in properly.
"When it does turn round someone is going to pay," Prior said. "When I get that opportunity, I am going to be very hungry to make it count.
"There are times when you are having a good patch that you get a bit lazy when you get to 50 or 60, and you take your eye off the ball a little bit, but the importance of me scoring runs down the order is not lost on me.
"Certainly if I get that opportunity I will be hungry."
Prior is at a loss to explain his run of moderate scores.
"It is a strange one," he said. "All summer I felt I was hitting the ball well.
"I haven't changed anything technically; I haven't stopped practising or working hard. If anything I am probably trying too hard.
"One of the dangers is you can suddenly start trying to reinvent the wheel, and you actually take away one of your strengths.
"Mine is positivity and the fact that I can put pressure on bowlers by being attacking, so I wouldn't want to ever lose that.
"But you have to get it right - you can't just go out and be reckless."
He knows there is no sense in brooding about his batting away from middle too.
"You want to do well and succeed - it is important - but the minute you start putting too much importance on it and losing sleep at night you are in trouble.
"You have to make sure you put it to bed and go away and do other things.
"If you start beating yourself up away from the cricket ground it is going to take longer."