Twenty years ago, Australia's drought-busting defeat of the West Indies at home was rivalled in significance by the emergence of the man who would do as much as anyone to ensure that victory was far from the last. Glenn McGrath arrived in the Caribbean as an auxiliary paceman and left it as Mark Taylor's spearhead, his combination of accuracy and bounce transcending the vagaries of overhead conditions and pitch type.
Now it must be said that Australia in 2015 are a lot more sure of Josh Hazlewood than their 1995 forebears were of McGrath. It must also be acknowledged that the West Indies are nothing like the talented and cocky if not quite united ensemble they were back then. Nevertheless, Hazlewood's performance on day one of the series in Dominica was the centrepiece of the visitors' dominance and a bold pointer to the future.
By setting the tone for Australia's attack with a pair of exacting and incisive spells either side of lunch, Hazlewood demonstrated the problems he will pose for batsmen over the next decade and also the many benefits he will provide for other bowlers around him. He did so by utilising bounce and discipline in a manner that will give many a retired batsman flashbacks to the many indignities they suffered at the hands of McGrath.
Of course there have been comparisons drawn between Hazlewood and McGrath almost from the moment the younger man first played for New South Wales, in a tour match against New Zealand as far back as 2008. But it is fair to say they must now leave the realm of hyperbole and enter that of considered judgment, for the trends are long-running and the evidence solid.
No one had been quite sure what to make of the pitch, as reflected by the fact that a week of talk about spinning decks and tandem tweakers gave way to team selections that included only one slow bowler in each XI. Subtle furrows of green on an otherwise dry square did not suggest seam movement, swing or spin so much as variation in bounce, and it was for this reason Michael Clarke opened up with Mitchell Johnson and Hazlewood after Denesh Ramdin had won what appeared a handy toss.
Early on, Hazlewood was exploratory, figuring out his optimum lengths on this surface. The delivery that found Kraigg Brathwaite's outside edge for a simple catch to Brad Haddin was perfect, on a tight line while neither too short to pull nor too full to drive, but others varied on that theme. An initial joust with Darren Bravo was fascinating, the batsman struck on the helmet by a short one, the bowler relieved from the attack after a pair of boundaries zoomed through mid off and midwicket.
Elsewhere, the Australians were being taken for too many runs as Johnson and Starc offered latitude outside the off stump. Without the slowness of the outfield, the hosts might easily have run up their hundred inside the day's first 90 minutes. As it was, the West Indies were rolling along at four an over when Clarke summoned Hazlewood back to work at the Botanic Gardens End. Wickets had fallen but not in a manner suggesting Australian dictation of the game's tempo.
What followed were three overs for two runs that scotched local momentum and gave Clarke more licence to attack at the other end. Neither Marlon Samuels nor Shane Dowrich could make anything of Hazlewood's jamming length and Spartan line, the merest variation in pace and bounce adding further difficulty to their task. Nathan Lyon was given an over before the break and Hazlewood finished the morning with only one wicket, but he was rewarded immediately in the afternoon when Dowrich aimed a frustrated forcing stroke and dragged on.
Hazlewood's next over rivalled McGrath's famed six-ball examination of Nasser Hussain at the Gabba in 2002. Jermaine Blackwood faced five balls in the off stump channel, lengths varying subtly, bounce steepling or skidding a little. The accumulation of pressure told on ball six, as Blackwood prodded at another ball asking pertinent questions and skewered to Clarke in the slips - 87 had struck.
As often happened for McGrath, Hazlewood's work opened up avenues for others, and when Starc induced a haywire hook from Samuels, it was the tall Tamworth native who plucked it at fine leg. Samuels' stay of 39 balls for seven runs had been largely becalmed by Hazlewood, something doubtless acknowledged by Starc and the rest as they huddled in celebration of West Indian wicket No. 6. Hazlewood's agile movement to claim the catch also spoke another truth of the day, for Clarke's men showed brilliantly safe hands all innings to correct a fault that had emerged against India at home.
Both Starc and Johnson were liberated by the tightness Hazlewood provided. Where earlier they had looked unsure of exactly how to attack the batsmen, they were by now "going hard at" the West Indians in a manner somewhat reminiscent of the 2013-14 Ashes. On a pitch offering up variable bounce, this was wretchedly difficult to counter, and a ratio of two helmet strikes to one ball creeping under the bat to splay Ramdin's stumps rather vindicated the decision to choose pace ahead of spin.
Bounce was something else that Hazlewood provided, of the kind that has long been known to confound the very best of batsmen. To watch him here was to wonder whether Australia might have fared better in the UAE last year had it been Hazlewood rather than Peter Siddle who served as the right-arm counterpoint to Johnson and Starc, causing balls to zip through at varying heights as well as speeds. Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, both old enough to have faced McGrath in his pomp, will be glad to have avoided his heir.
Australia would not have been able to round up the West Indies for so meagre a total as 148 without Hazlewood's precision, in a display that merited a wicket or two more than the eminently bankable figures of 3 for 33 from 15 overs. The value of his efforts would be put into context when Australia's batsmen stumbled in the evening, as might be expected from a group with precious few first-class innings between them since January.
That of course was another McGrath trait worth following - saving the batsmen's blushes.