Today's match between England and Australia will tell us more in 100 overs than the Commonwealth Bank series did in 000's.
It was Imran Khan who uttered those immortal words 'Cornered Tigers' (or something like that - lion, tiger, lynx, crested hyena...) and Australia, today, will be the embodiment of that very sentiment.
Reeling from two huge series defeats in the space of just two months, Ricky Ponting's team have much to prove not only to themselves, but to the world's media. Doubts about commitment, stamina and age have surfaced and even their own players have gone on record as suggesting as much:
"It's not a nice feeling. It's a demoralising loss and probably as low as we've
been." The Huss, AKA Mr Cricket, AKA Don't hassle the huss AKA Mike
For the first time in (my own) living memory, Australia are a genuinely beatable team. The current lack of disparity between the top 8 nations means that Australia's position as 2-1 favourite for this World Cup has never looked more suspect.
In today's 'Warm-up' game, there will precious few rivalries to resurrect from the last 24 months sparring between the two sides. Retirements, injuries and the blooding of new talent on both sides makes this game different in both feel and balance.
A year ago, you could have named both sides before putting a shrimp on the barbie. However in the current cricketing climate, one would struggle to name half the players guaranteed a place in the starting XI's. What it means though, is that today's match is a chance for those on the periphery - Bopara, Hodge, Tait and Mahmood et al to cement those places which currently hang by a proverbial coat of varnish.
This will be much more than a friendly, and at its conclusion, should provide further evidence for, or against, Australia's backing as the team to beat in the WC2007.