So this is it. This is the time we see just how far we've come as a team.
We walk out at the Gabba tonight arguably in better shape than we were in during summer 2005. Some say Michael Vaughn's and Simon Jones' absence will make a huge difference, but who knows and frankly if we're to prove that we're now world beaters we need to be able to do it without key players. We will always have injuries and the test of a great team is having players who can step up and make a significant contribution.
I'm not going to make predictions. Mainly because I think it's just too close to call. My one hope is that the English player's hold their nerve. If the frail psyche's of Harmison, Mahmood and Bell can hold up when the bullets start flying we're in for an absolute stormer of a series again. I for one can't wait.
A short speech for those boys out in brisbane that's close to my heart and I feel is appropriate at this time:
Act IV Henry V
''This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks, That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.''
Ok so it'd be nice if the Ashes could have started on October 25th and the Australian's were French but heh it'll do.
Let battle commence.