Australia begin their four-Test series against India in Adelaide on Tuesday. More importantly they begin their rehabilitation following the death of their friend and colleague, Phil Hughes.
Hughes' death will affect some more than others. Some will be grateful for the distraction of a game, others will feel more uncomfortable. But at some stage it is back to work. As Michael Clarke said in his moving eulogy at Hughes funeral "let's dig in until tea".
So cricket must return to as much normality as possible. That is probably one of the greatest tributes the game can pay young Hughes. It may feel strange or disrespectful to be talking about the outcome of a contest which is, essentially, utterly meaningless given the tragic events but everyone has to heal.
Writing and reading about the betting odds and how to win money on a Test series played at such an emotional time is not easy, particularly as it is impossible not to try to second guess the mindset of the two teams.
It is an incontrovertible, and maybe uncomfortable, fact that some gamblers will try to hang a bet on it. To ignore that would be naive.
The Australians, justifiably, could feel underwhelmed at the prospect of playing again. Having just had a reminder of how irrelevant a game is, they could be forgiven for failing to rouse themselves.
On the other side of the coin, they could be fired up to honour one of their brethren in the best way possible: winning a Test. And what of India? Will they be cowed, unsure about how aggressive or competitive they should or shouldn't be?
A wise strategy would be attempt to forget the context of this series and - as harsh as it sounds - treat it as any other. And when you do that you realise the world hasn't stopped turning.
Australia are as short as 1.261/4 for a series win with India 8.07/1 and the draw 9.28/1. The odds are completely understandable considering India's poor record on the road, especially Down Under.
India are terrible travellers. They have a win percentage of just 21 in the last five years away from home and have only three victories in their 22 series attempts outside Asia against top eight sides. That sequence dates back to 1989.
In Australia, they are woeful. It is their worst tour of all and their meagre win-loss ratio of 0.192 is, once again, testament to the rules of the road which all cricket aficionados are familiar. India struggle in Australia, just like Australia struggle in Asia, because the variance of the pitches from home. They will be fast, bouncy and offer some seam and swing.
Their batsmen will be offered stern tests of their techniques. In Adelaide, they should pass it considering the featherbed nature of the surface and they may even fancy a win considering they won there in 2003. But The Gabba and MCG will be tricky while they will hope to turn things on their head in Sydney, venue for the final Test.
Historically there has been spin at the SCG and it represents their best chance of improving that awful win percentage. Australia showed in the UAE against Pakistan how hopeless they were against spin and India's spinners should feel emboldened.
Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja and Karn Sharma, the leggie awaiting his Test debut, will provide the subtlety in a series which will otherwise be all about pace.
India's task looks stiff indeed when you consider it a shootout between the fast men. Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Josh Hazlewood comfortably outgun Mohammad Shami, Bhuv Kumar, Ishant Sharma and the raw Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav.
Preparation, obviously, has not been ideal for either side. India have managed to cram in two warm-ups after the schedule was revised but most curious is the absence of MS Dhoni.
The captain is still at home nursing a thumb injury. He will, according to the BCCI, arrive in time for the first Test but why is he not doing his recuperation with the squad? It smacks of the poor preparation which has blighted India's foreign jaunts under coach Duncan Fletcher. But then again, he doesn't really run the team.
Australia have fitness concerns, too. Michael Clarke, the skipper, is a doubt for Adelaide with a hamstring injury and it would seem daft to risk him with so much cricket coming up in the next few months. Shaun Marsh was added to the squad as cover.
With the measly offerings on the series odds, the correct series score market should reveal some value once the question 'can India win a Test?' is answered.
Since 1991 Indian sides in Australia have lost 4-0 (2011), 2-1 (2007), drawn 1-1 (2003) and lost 3-0 (1999) and 4-0. That's one win per ten Tests. That record suggests they will have to overperform by some margin to win one from four. There have been three draws (at Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide) in the last 12.
A 3-0 home win is a solid favourite at 4.67/2 while 2-0 and 2-1 victories for Australia are 7.26/1 and 6.86/1. India are 17.016/1 to win 2-1.
Australia v India stat pack
- Australia win % at home last five years: 68
- Australia win % at home v India: 65
- Australia have won three of their last five home series
- They have won 12 of their last 15 Tests at home
- They beat India 4-0 in 2011
- India win % away last five years: 21
- India win % in Australia: 12.5
- India have lost six of their last eight in Australia by the following margins: 9 wkts/337 runs/122/122/inns&68/inns&37/298
- With a win-loss ratio of 0.192 Australia is India's least successful tour
- India have won three of their last 22 series outside Asia against top-eight sides. A sequence dating back to 1989.
- Two wins came against minnow-like West Indies teams
Australia: Michael Clarke (c), Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Chris Rogers , Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson
India: MS Dhoni (c), Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha*, R Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron.
*First Test only