Australia had to settle for a draw in the Sydney Test, but the sight of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood hooping the reverse-swinging Kookaburra around late on day five was an encouraging one for the future. In the absence of the injured Mitchell Johnson, and with Ryan Harris tiring at the end of a series, much was required of Starc and Hazlewood.
Both men are 24 and together with others such as James Pattinson and Pat Cummins, will form Australia's pace core over the coming decade. Both men were also named in Australia's 15-man World Cup squad on Sunday and will now turn their attention to the white-ball game for the tri-series against England and India.
Hazlewood has started his international career in both formats especially well, but for Starc the Sydney Test was a trial of sorts after his disappointing effort at the Gabba, where he battled in the heat and was criticised by Shane Warne for his body language.
At the SCG, it was as if Starc had made a conscious effort to be more aggressive in his demeanour, including a send-off for M Vijay when he struck in the first over of India's first innings. Throughout the match Starc collected five wickets and looked a different man to the one who struggled in Brisbane as the third fast bowler behind Johnson and Hazlewood.
"I just wanted to get out there and bowl fast, get a few up there in the 145s and 150s," Starc said. "In the Sydney Test being the guy out there to bowl fast and be aggressive and having that confidence leading into this Test may have helped as well, but when the ball starts coming out where you want it and consistently you have more of that confidence in yourself and that probably came out through the Test in my body language.
"I've been in that situation a couple of times where I've played with Mitch and without him, but being the only left-armer and being given a licence to go out there and bowl as fast as I can was enjoyable and to play in Sydney is always good fun. To play with Joshy and Rhino and trying to win a Test match was exciting. We couldn't quite get over the line but I enjoyed the Test match."
Starc's selection in Brisbane and Sydney continued his in and out trend; he has not played consecutive Tests in the same series since his debut campaign against New Zealand in late 2011. Hazlewood, on the other hand, played three successive Tests at the Gabba, MCG ad SCG, and he said that although his body was sore after the 125.2 overs he sent down in the series, it had been a good introduction to Test cricket.
"The body's pretty sore after a tough Test series on some pretty flat wickets, but the body's pretty good and ready to play some more cricket," Hazlewood said. "It was a pretty dry and slow wicket and that's what you're going to get in Test cricket a lot of the time in other countries as well so it's good to get used to it early on.
"I thought the Gabba wicket was pretty good, it suited me while Melbourne and Sydney were quite flat and hard work but that's what you're going to get a lot of the time so I've got to get used to it."
Hazlewood finished the series with 12 wickets at 29.33 and was the only bowler from either side to end up with an average below 30. During India's chase at the SCG his accuracy was so consistent that his first seven overs cost only one run. He was especially impressive reverse-swinging the old ball as Australia sought a late win, but when the new ball arrived India's batsmen found the going easier.
"I was bowling with the ball when it was quite old and getting a little bit of reverse swing, but once you get down to 8, 9, 10, 11 you just want the extra bounce of that new ball to try and maybe find an edge or get that extra zip off the wicket and knock them over so I think we had to take it," Hazlewood said. "It didn't work, but that's something we have to deal with."
Now Starc and Hazlewood must get reacquainted with the white ball ahead of the tri-series, which begins with a match against England at the SCG on Friday.
"Once you're going you may as well keep going," Hazlewood said. "Once the ball is coming out well you feel like you want to keep bowling, whether that's with the red ball or white ball, it's just changing to that and getting used to the white one again."