As one-sided series go, England's bagelling of Australia in the fifth and final ODI at Old Trafford on Sunday was about as fraught as they come - a low-scoring epic, sealed by a high-achieving white-ball wizard at the absolute peak of his powers. Jos Buttler's refusal to be beaten while his team-mates were being skittled around him was inspiring to behold, as he sealed a one-wicket win that felt as far removed from a dead-rubber contest as is humanly possible.
Australia desperately wanted to get themselves off the mark in a dismal tour; England desperately wanted to hone their killer instinct, and capitalise on a rare opportunity to leave their most consistent cricketing tormentors with no place to hide. It meant that there was a cup final vibe in evidence throughout the day, and the fact that England held their nerve in extreme adversity - regardless of the strength of their opponents - has to augur well for next year's defining challenge.
So how should we read the runes going into Australia's final, final opportunity to make an impression on this tour? Clearly, a one-off T20 at Edgbaston lacks the context of what has gone before it, but as Alex Carey warned in the build-up to the match, Australia are ready to give it a "red-hot" go in a format that they have found infinitely more favourable in recent months.
They are, after all, the reigning T20 tri-series champions - having put England emphatically in their place in the round-robin stage of February's tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
Unlike in the 50-over format, in which Australia's batsmen have seemed reluctant to give full rein to their instincts for fear of making a mistake, there's less reason to be reserved across 20 overs. And with a team that's been honed in the competitive environs of the Big Bash, there's plenty to suggest that this one could also go down to the wire.
Nevertheless, Australia's T20 squad cannot have been immune to the general sense of chaos that has enveloped their set-up since the events in Cape Town in March - not least because their captain during their recent run of short-form success was none other than David Warner. In a parallel universe, he might currently be sharpening his credentials as the obvious hard-nosed choice to lead his country into next year's World Cup. How quickly things can change.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
For a man who has now scored more one-day hundreds (six) against England than any other batsman, Aaron Finch endured a curious ODI campaign. He was a victim of his team's shortcomings elsewhere in their line-up, as he was shunted down the card in mid-series to provide ballast to the lower-order, before returning to his rightful opening berth for the latter stages. And now he is captain - and that in itself offers an intriguing subplot, given that Tim Paine, the ODI captain, more or less conceded that his position was untenable after the whitewash. If Finch can be the man to deliver Australia the victory that a nation craves, who knows where that may lead?
England's man of the moment, Jos Buttler, displayed the finishing skills of a master carpenter as he repaired his team's run-chase in the fifth ODI on Sunday. But he's tasked with a different challenge at Edgbaston after it was confirmed by Paul Farbrace, the interim coach, that he will be opening the innings. It's a no-brainer really - Buttler was a revelation at the IPL in May after being pushed up to open for Rajasthan Royals, and it's not as if England are short of men who can tonk it at the death.
With Buttler opening alongside Jason Roy, Alex Hales is expected to come in at No. 3, which could mean Jonny Bairstow dropping to the middle order. Chris Jordan looks set to pip Sam Curran for the final berth in a five-man England attack, though Joe Root has been getting plenty of offspin practice of late.
England (probable) 1 Jos Buttler, 2 Jason Roy, 3 Alex Hales, 4 Joe Root, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Eoin Morgan (capt), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Liam Plunkett, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 David Willey
Paine makes way as wicketkeeper as well as captain, with Carey taking over the gloves, and assuming Glenn Maxwell recovers from his shoulder injury, he will slot back into the middle order, from where he gave England quite the schooling in Hobart in February. Andrew Tye's variations are likely to have more mileage in the shorter format than they found in a chastening ODI campaign. And given the heat, and the prospect of a dry surface, the leggie Mitchell Swepson might well find a way into the starting XI.
Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 D'Arcy Short, 3 Travis Head, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Nic Maddinson, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Marcus Stoinis/Mitchell Swepson 9 Kane Richardson, 10 Andrew Tye, 11 Billy Stanlake
Pitch and conditions
Perfect weather, belting pitch, full house. It'll be loud. The ground is expected to open early to encourage people to watch the World Cup (Mexico v Sweden and Germany v South Korea, kick-off 3pm) on the big screen.
Stats and trivia
Australia won all five of their fixtures in the aforementioned tri-series, making it six out of seven victories (plus one abandonment) since February 2017.
England, by contrast, have rather lost their mojo since reaching the final of the World T20 in April 2016. They have won five and lost eight of their last 13 games.
They did, however, hold their nerve in their most recent outing, defending a total of 194 to win by two runs against New Zealand in Hamilton.
"He will open tomorrow. In 120 balls in an innings, you want to get your best strikers facing as many balls as possible. The form he's in, the way he's playing, it makes sense to get him at the top of the order."
Paul Farbrace, England's interim coach, confirms Jos Buttler's opening role
"In the one-day format the confidence was definitely affected, England put us on the back foot from the word go and we weren't able to catch up. But we've had success in this format ... The confidence took a hit in the one-dayers but I don't think there will be anything to worry about in this format."
Aaron Finch thinks a change of format can change Australia's fortunes