Though his squad seemed to remain much the same, there were only six survivors in Roy Hodgson's starting line-up from the team that lost their UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-final to Italy on penalties in Kiev.
Lampard might have come in quite handy on that night. After all, when he drilled home from the spot after only four minutes this evening, the Chelsea man was converting his eighth penalty for England, a record.
Hodgson could take some satisfaction from the knowledge one of his surprise selections created the opener. Preferred to Manchester United team-mate Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley was eager to make a positive impression on his first competitive start.
He did exactly that by meeting Milner's far post cross perfectly, only for Semion Bulgaru to block it with his hand. Referee Paul van Boekel gave England the benefit of the doubt and Lampard gave them the early advantage they craved.
In truth, though Moldova tried hard, they lacked the finesse to do any damage at this level, or the defensive solidity to keep England out. Goalkeeper Stanislav Namasco was unconvincing as he dealt with efforts from Defoe, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Glen Johnson before he was beaten once more by Lampard midway through the half.
Again the delivery came from the right, this time from Johnson, and Lampard was perfectly placed to convert. Within three minutes, England had another.
Defoe adds another
Selected ahead of Danny Welbeck for his first competitive start in two years, Defoe's lively display was too much for Moldova to cope with. And when Oxlade-Chamberlain rolled a pass through a static defence, Defoe found the net with a first-time shot.
On as Steven Gerrard's replacement, Carrick kept the ball ticking over as Hodgson would have wanted, even if some of the intensity had disappeared from England's overall performance in the second period.
A fourth goal eventually arrived courtesy of Milner after both Cleverley and substitute Welbeck had declined opportunities to shoot themselves. And ten minutes from time, Baines completed the victory, with, remarkably, England's first goal direct from a free-kick since David Beckham scored against Ecuador in 2006.