Michael Clarke does not recall being booed by sections of his own crowd at the SCG when marching into the teeth of Ashes humiliation two years ago, but his memory was clear enough to reserve some sympathy for his England counterpart, Alastair Cook, on the eve of what might be a similarly humbling experience on Friday.
Clarke, like Cook on this tour, had struggled for runs and Australia were already 2-1 down in the series when he walked out to bat on his home ground. He had captained the team in Melbourne, in the absence of the injured Ricky Ponting, and had even had a "late-night nightclub incident" to cope with as an Australian side better than this one on paper succumbed to artful English seam.
"I got booed at the Gabba [in a one-day game] but I never remember being booed in my home ground, but I remember that fondly," Clarke joked.
"It sums up the game we play. There's tough times and you need to find a way to get through that and then there's the other side when you perform well and the team does well and the same people that boo you stand and applaud.
"I've been very lucky through my career. I've copped a fair bit of stick but even through that time I had a lot of support from family and close friends. That's what makes this series so special to the team and to me personally: it’s as much a thank you to the people who have supported us through the tough times as it's for us players."
As for England's captain, Clarke said: “Alastair Cook is a wonderful player and his statistics certainly show that over a long period of time. I think they've got a lot of class players in their team. I think they'll turn it around.
"It's not a nice feeling any time you're criticised for not performing well personally, but also when the team's not going well – a lot of that accountability rests on the captain. It wasn't too long ago, that within six months we've gone from the worst Australian team to ever tour India to [achieving] one of the best Ashes wins of cricket's history.
"It's the up and down rollercoaster ride you go through as a player and it's no different as a captain. I think your beliefs and the person you are don't change. As long as you stay true and stay strong to those beliefs then I think you find a way to come out of it.
"I'm certainly in no position to sit here and give advice to England. I think they've been a very successful team over a long period of time. They were No1 in the world not too long ago and I'm sure they'll find a way to turn it around and get back to having some success. I just hope it's not in this Test match and hopefully not when we play against them."
Clarke did not know if there would be any changes to the Australian side, although he was "very confident" Shane Watson and Ryan Harris, who carried minor injuries through the fourth Test, would be fit.
He described the notion of going through a five-Test Ashes series with the same side as "extremely romantic" adding "but I think you've got to pick the best 11 players to help you have success in the conditions you're playing. If conditions turn out to be similar to what they have been in the past four Test matches then I think selectors will go that way."
The reason for slight caution about selection is the green tinge the curator Tom Parker has left on the pitch. The SCG is traditionally a place where spinners do well, and the pitch will be rolled out to a more batsman-friendly straw-colour by the start of play, but the coating of grass encourages the belief there will be something there for the seam bowlers.
Parker, who has been tending Test pitches for nearly 18 years, said, "I anticipate it's going to be very similar to what we've seen here last year. I would be looking for good, consistent carry to the keeper, and we should see a bit of bounce as well, given the amount of mature grass that's on this pitch. It will be different to the tour match pitch here earlier in the season [between England and an Invitational XI, when it took decent turn], as we were changing over from AFL and we didn't have as much time."
Parker even hinted Clarke might be tempted to bowl first again if he wins the toss, as he did in Melbourne.
"If it's overcast – and the forecast is for some possible light showers or drizzly rain – you may well bowl. You've seen here in the past when it's overcast and cloudy the ball does move around a bit."
So the pitch conundrum remains one of many at the end of an Ashes tour, although the more difficult choices over bowling options would seem to still reside with England. Clarke has the luxury of having an attack that seems incapable of performing with anything less than nagging efficiency.
"I want to see it again in the morning," Clarke said. "I think [with] a day of sun today and a lot of rolling it might whiten up a bit. But that's as much grass as I've seen on an SCG pitch. It feels pretty hard at the moment. I think it will certainly suit the fast bowlers. But in saying that I think the forecast is pretty warm for the week as well. I still believe spin will play a part throughout the Test match."
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk