Australia have reverted to type by boldly giving tearaway fast bowler Shaun Tait his Test debut at Trent Bridge today - the first Aussie to debut in an Ashes series for seven years.
Normally the most ruthless bunch of selectors when it comes to finishing distinguished careers before the player is ready - Steve and Mark Waugh and Darren Lehmann for example - chairman Trevor Hohns and his committee have untypically pussy-footed about after winning at Lord's.
They stuck with Jason Gillespie for at least two Tests too many, but the last two wake-up calls at Edgbaston and Old Trafford have had their effect, and they have re-adopted their own golden rule: "If he's good enough, he's old enough." Aged 22, Tait is as raw as they come, with a Jeff Thompson-type slingy action which is never going to make him a line and length merchant.
A brief appearance for Durham last year brought a termination of his contract within a month, but an outstanding season for South Australia brought him an astonishing 65 wickets and persuaded the selectors to take a punt on him for this tour.
He completes a quintet of fast bowlers in this crucial Test who can let it go at 90mph and above, and he is certainly not rated bottom of the speed gun list. Brett Lee is top and Simon Jones bottom, but in between England have Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison, so Tait's debut promises a few bruises on both sides, even on a pitch not expected to be quick.
Nobody is sure if he has a slower ball in his armoury, but he roughed up colleague Justin Langer in the nets on Tuesday. He clattered one into the opener's stumps and then let go a beamer which hit him, as the euphemism has it, amidships. Words were exchanged, so it looks as though Tait has a fast bowler's rough and ready approach to batsmen.
Ponting says this about his new gun: "He's an out and out wicket-taker, especially if the ball is swinging. You will see lots of bouncers and yorkers from him because that is the only way he knows how to bowl. He might not have the best control, but when he gets it right he can be very dangerous."
Tait obliged with the sort of quote that Thompson used to describe his own action. "I use a lot of aggression and just let the ball go and let them have it." 'Thommo' used to say: "I run up, wind up and, wang, let it go."
Michael Vaughan had a day full of spin yesterday - not in the nets with bat and ball but behind the microphone at his press conference. Referring to Tait, he said, "We don't know a lot about him, but gather he can be sharp but the pitch might not suit him."
Just another not so subtle putdown - unsubtle and unnecessary.
Vaughan has become full of right-sounding sound-bytes, and has allowed himself to be sucked into the sort of hype from both sides which has become boring.
Just one example yesterday. Asked if he might have done anything different in the last Test, particularly on the last day, he said "It took me a couple of days to recover after such a great game, but I don't believe in looking back. After all, hindsight is a wonderful thing." Question duly dodged.
End of story? Not quite. "What I can do is look back and think of all the positives we can take out of the game. Ian Bell for instance, and Geraint Jones had a fine last day and a half." So, don't look back at any mistakes, but do so for things that went right.
Vaughan thus makes no reference to the tardy overrate on the final day when he should have paced his bowlers to give themselves another dozen overs to bowl at numbers ten and 11.
No mention either of a poorly placed slip cordon through which Matthew Hayden bought another 30 minutes for the tail by edging two fours at catchable height, before he was bowled behind his legs by Flintoff.
Today's weather forecast is the most mixed of the match, so the toss might not be all important.
Beneath the England propaganda lies a core of selfbelief which only this fourth Test match will show if it is dented or not by the Great Escape at Old Trafford.
The key question is whether or not the England pace attack has the edge on Australia's order. Hayden, Damien Martyn, Michael Clarke and Simon Katich owe plenty in this series. Another combined failure and England could go 2-1 ahead.
The series gathers pace with every game. And literally so today with the Tait debut. Fascinating.