Andrew Flintoff will lead England into the Commonwealth Bank Series finals after Michael Vaughan’s injury jinx struck again.
While England take on Australia in the first final at the MCG tomorrow, Vaughan will be preparing to return home after aggravating his torn left hamstring.
Vaughan aggravated the injury in the 14-run victory over New Zealand on Tuesday which sent England into the best-of-three encounters against the hosts of the triangular tournament.
The 32-year-old missed five matches after incurring the problem in the tour-maiden victory over the Kiwis in Hobart, and aggravated the condition twice: firstly in practice in Perth and again in his Gabba comeback.
England’s medical team have advised 10 days rest and insist his participation at the World Cup next month will not be effected.
It has been a real stop-start affair for Vaughan since returning from a career-threatening knee injury.
"It has been very disappointing on this tour to have no problems with my right knee and then a hamstring comes about," said Vaughan.
"I am desperate to play but we have to look at the future and certainly the next few weeks with the World Cup in mind.
"The medical staff have told me there is absolutely no doubt I will be on the plane for the World Cup."
Although he was out to his first legitimate delivery against the Blackcaps, his influence in the field was monumental.
Flintoff now inherits the captaincy once more, hours after coach Duncan Fletcher revealed that the star all-rounder plays with more freedom when not carrying such responsibility.
Back in the ranks he inspired the rest of the attack - perhaps more than at any time since the first Test on the same Gabba ground - with some bursts from the Stanley Street end on Tuesday night.
"From our point of view we feel when he is not captain he probably feels a little bit more free in his batting and bowling," said Fletcher. "He feels as though there is a weight off his shoulders.
"He seems a lot more relaxed and anyone who is not captain of a side is a lot more relaxed.
"He has got a presence about him: he is a big man, when he goes out to bat it’s exciting to watch him, people want to see him bat and bowl.
"He influences everyone, not just the players, the crowd, the public."
Ricky Ponting, Flintoff’s opposite number in the 5-0 Ashes humiliation, also pointed to the fact he is a key man no matter which role he undertakes.
"There has always been talk over the years of different people who have found the extra responsibility of captaincy has not sat well with them," said Ponting.
"I said right through the summer that Andrew has always seemed to me to be a fairly laid back and relaxed sort of guy that probably doesn’t spend all day and night thinking about the responsibilities of captaincy.
"Whether it consumes when he is out on the field I don’t know.
"But he did bowl very well the other night and was one of the main reasons they got across the line.
"We all know how good a competitor he is with both bat and ball and we are going to have to pay a lot of attention to him tomorrow if we want to win the game."
Influenced by some woeful England displays earlier in the competition Ponting had been preparing to meet Stephen Fleming’s Blackcaps at the 95,000-capacity ground tomorrow.
But a shock 92-run victory over a Ponting-less Australia coupled with the clinical end on Tuesday increased England confidence, and the length of their tour.
"One-day cricket is that sort of game," said Ponting. "If you have a couple of good individual performances throughout a game results can go your way.
"There’s no doubt they’ve played some good cricket in the last two games.
"I must admit halfway through the New Zealand innings I thought they were going to get home but England kept fighting at vital times, did enough and they will no doubt take some confidence from those games.
"I have noticed they’ve been talking themselves up a fair bit after winning two one-day games in a couple of days.
"Now they have to come out and do it against us, a team that have dominated them all summer."
With poor weather blowing into Melbourne this week, Australia will delay naming their XI until shortly before the toss.
But given the struggles of the fast bowlers on the same pitch on Sunday, when New Zealand were downed by five wickets, spinner Brad Hogg could make a rare outing at the expense of a fast bowler.
All-rounder Shane Watson would offer an extra pace option, as well as bolstering the middle-order.