Whether he is the best or marginally second in Australia's legacy of fast bowlers is inconsequential, what matters is that Glenn McGrath has been outstandingly good for the most successful side that ever played Test cricket.
No team have turned in the results over a sustained period of time that the Australians have managed with McGrath, now one of only four men in history to have taken 500 Test wickets, at the helm of their attack.
Dennis Lillee's graceful brutality, almost mythologised over the years, has left him the impregnable holder of the title of the No 1 fast man Australia has produced but even the man himself is not so sure.
Last year when McGrath returned from a seven-month injury lay- off, Lillee addressed him as the best fast bowler of his generation, if not in history.
It was perhaps a gee-up to another member of the fast bowlers' union amid suggestions that McGrath, in his mid-30s, would not emulate performances of old.
Ominously, since that return he has - and then some. His statistics improved markedly, and there is enough fuel in the tank to reach the 2007 World Cup, according to McGrath, the first paceman to wear the baggy green cap in a hundred Tests.
What has elevated McGrath so high has been his single-mindedness on the field; like a seasoned hunter he selects his prey and moves in ruthlessly, without distraction.
More importantly the victims he chooses to pursue most rigorously are not idle fancies but ones he believes will undermine the opposition most.
During the majority of his Ashes contests to date he has gone after Michael Atherton, the truest of competitors and the cornerstone of the English batting, and bagged him 16 times, his No 1 scalp in a 12-year career.
Second in the list is Brian Lara, the most destructive batsman of his generation, dismissed 13 times.
The tactic of attacking the point of strength is one intrinsic to the general Australian gameplan: psychological questions are not only asked by those targeted but by their less experienced colleagues and, as if counterbalanced on scales, any decrease in opposition confidence naturally increases one's own.
This time he has publicly plumped for Andrew Strauss, England's player of the year, and Michael Vaughan, England's captain and Ashes hero three winters ago.
Marcus Trescothick was victim No 500 yesterday.
McGrath armed with the new ball has been the undoing of some as much mentally as physically, relying on hostile body language more than clever quips.
Sledging is one thing, backing it up with something just as menacing is quite another and McGrath has been a master of just that.
It has been the excellence of McGrath's bowling, getting close to the stumps, relying on great accuracy and a welldirected bouncer, which has given little respite to batsmen of his age.
He does not jag the ball around viciously, but from wicket-to-wicket a little is enough.
Two yards of pace have been lost since his awesome 1997 Ashes - Atherton might have noticed the loss of one yard in 2001 - but McGrath's attention to accuracy and ability to extract bounce have not diminished.
When a bone spur, like the one Andrew Flintoff has successfully returned from, ruled McGrath out between August 2003 and the following February, he briefly contemplated retirement.
When he did eventually come back he was warned that a bad series could conceivably be the end of his Test career.
Pride, heart, desire, call it what you will, would not allow it and the prototype pace bowler employed his height, miserliness and nous like never before.
His next 14 matches reaped 69 wickets at a cost of just 18 apiece, putting him just one short of the magical 500, fittingly reached at Lord's yesterday.