Having lost the Ashes after going down in the first three Tests, England will play for pride, and their future when they take on a we-are-currently-in-unbeatable-mode Australia in the 4th Test in Melbourne starting on Boxing Day.
Usually a Boxing Day Test in Australia is arrived upon with the series on a knife's edge; but this time for essential purposes it is a dead rubber, with the series nicely gift wrapped for Australia, and the Ashes urn an early Christmas present for the home side.
Australia captain Michael Clarke, who oversaw 4-0 and 3-0 defeats at the hands of India and England, before this magnificent comeback, has promised not to let up against a we-just-want-to-go-home-and-lick-our-wounds England.
"I aim to win this Test match, probably because I've seen both sides of this game," Clarke said. "I know how quickly you can be praised by the media and I also know how quickly you can be criticised. I'm not silly enough at 32 years of age to look past tomorrow to be honest because I know a couple of ducks and my job's on the line or a couple of losses and I'm under the same pressure.
"That has been my advice to a lot of players who come onto the international scene. It's very easy to say don't look too far ahead. But it's so crucial in this world, and that's where we sit as a team now. Two months ago, we were the worst Australian cricket team to ever tour India.
"Two months on, I think Ricky Ponting might have said, in an article the other day, it could be the greatest ever Ashes win by an Australian cricket team. So two months, things can change. I'll make sure I stay focused on this Test match."
For England it is all about changes now, with the era of the side that played so wonderfully well and won three straight Ashes series, slowly but surely coming to an end.
Jonathan Trott has left the Ashes tour due to a stress-related illness, while England's best spinner over the past five years - Graeme Swann - announced his retirement on Sunday.
Skipper Alastair Cook admitted he needs to bring to the fore his leadership skills, which have been somewhat lacking when England have come under pressure. "When you win games of cricket it papers over some of the cracks that have been developing lately," he said. "And when you lose it hits you with stark reality exactly what you think needs to improve. There is no hiding place because you can't hide behind the fact that you are winning.
"So yes, I do believe [this situation] it is a chance for me to really stamp my authority. I think it will take time, as always. I've always tried to do the best job I can do, and maybe, by losing 3-0, I've really had to look into myself and see where I need to improve as captain.
"Previously, before that, we had won against New Zealand, we won the Ashes at home and won away in India, which is a great achievement but maybe that papered over some of the cracks in my captaincy as well.
"After these two games we have a bit of time off Test cricket - I think five months - and it's a real good chance to get very clear about exactly the direction I want the side - or we want the side - to go.
"When you lose games of cricket, you have to look at yourself first and what I could've done better. As a captain, I haven't had too much captaincy experience before I got the England job. There's always going to be a huge amount of stuff to learn and I've always said that, but we've always managed to win, so you always tend to look at yourself even more after losing games of cricket and see where I need to improve."
Team news: Australia: Clarke and the selectors will go with the same 12 that have been a part of the series since Test one, and it remains to be seen whether James Faulkner, 12th man for the first three Tests, can force his way into the side in Melbourne.
England: With Swann retiring, Monty Panesar will get a chance to prove to the selectors he can be England's number one spinner for the foreseeable future. England have called up spinners Scott Borthwick and James Tredwell following Swann's sudden departure, but Panesar is sure to be given the chance to prove himself.
Jonny Bairstow is also likely to come in for the I-have-forgotten-how-to-keep-wickets Matt Prior, who has had a torrid time with the gloves, with his batting not too much to write home about either.
Expected lineups: Australia: Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Steven Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon.
England: Alastair Cook, Michael Carberry, Joe Root, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Ben Stoke, Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.
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