England are sure of themselves. Very, very sure of themselves. The players are brimming with confidence, the coaches have reason behind their expectation and the fans are already considering the scoreline of the series rather than the result.
'I'm going for 3-1'; '4-1 for me'; 'It will be a whitewash!'; 'The Aussies won't win a match against us all year'. The certainty with which England supporters are predicting a comfortable win over Australia in the Ashes series that gets underway at Trent Bridge on Wednesday is startling, but understandable.
England, ranked comfortably above Australia in the world Test rankings, have beaten the old enemy in the last two Ashes series - home and away - and have won three of the last four series. Do Australia really have a chance of winning their first series since 2007?
There is substance behind the hype; there are statistics that reassure those making sweeping judgments. Eras of dominance have swung back and forth over the years and England have won 30 series compared to Australia's 31 since the historic series began, but Flower's men have been the powerful force of late.
The manner in which the two squads - and backroom staffs - have come into this series is in stark contrast: England are settled, united, with continuity at the backbone of their recent success; Australia, meanwhile, sacked their former coach Mickey Arthur just weeks ago and no one is able to predict their line-up with any confidence.
Equally, the two coaches that will be in opposing dressing rooms on Wednesday are very different: Flower is studious, determined and thoughtful; Darren Lehmann is brash, uncompromising and controversial.
Flower has described his side as being "match-hardened", "united" and with "clarity and confidence", but Australia's decision to take the proverbial sledgehammer to their set-up and axe Arthur to bring in the charismatic Lehmann has received a mixed reception.
Some have called the frantic appointment of the former Australia batsman and chain-smoking, beer-loving 'Boof' a "masterstroke" and "inspired", while others have branded it "desperate" and "a product of muddled thinking".
But what is it that the man nicknamed 'Shrek' and 'Boof' will bring to the table? How will he look to turn a chaotic and inconsistent team in apparent disarray into Ashes-winners?
- By forging a cohesive unit of players who enjoy their cricket and give their all.
Simply put, the players clearly adore playing for Lehmann. They always have done. Wherever he has gone as a player and a coach, the 43-year-old has garnered an obvious respect and admiration from those around him, generating in turn a tremendous team spirit. Batsman Shane Watson summed up the general feeling of the squad when he said on Tuesday: "He's a fun-loving guy... He's brought that into our team and I know that's exactly what was needed. It's been a lot of fun. I certainly love playing under him."
- By not being a big fan of unnecessary discipline or 'homework'
It is no exaggeration to say that the spirit within the Australia camp was toxic at times under Arthur. The South African's effort to create a 'new culture' within the ranks went down exceptionally badly with his side lurching from one PR disaster to another. Beyond the infamous 'Homework-gate' when Watson and team-mates were disciplined on the tour of India for failing to cooperate, to David Warner using Joe Root's face as a punch bag in a Walkabout bar earlier on this trip. Lehmann said when asked about such matters: "It's important to talk about the game, whether it's with a beer or a diet coke." No wonder the players love him so much.
- By giving players freedom to play their natural games, uninhibited by other factors
For aggressive, gung-ho batsmen like Watson and Warner, Lehmann is the perfect man to play under. He prides himself on letting players "express themselves" without fear of making mistakes or ruining the team's chances with rash strokes. When asked what his approach to the game is as a coach, Lehmann simply said: "If the ball is there to be hit, hit it! If it's not, block it." It's another reason why he was installed as coach just before this series: because he will enable Australia's talented stars to play their own games without worrying about being disciplined or castigated. Conventional logic would suggest that Warner - who has been banned from the warm-up matches due to his Walkabout indiscretions - should be nowhere near the team for the first Test, but Lehmann has hinted otherwise. He could end up providing the belligerent hitting required to stun England.
- By giving players confidence, by giving them real belief in themselves
Cricket may be a simple game between bat and ball, and Lehmann treats it as such in his coaching. But the most obvious thing lacking from Australia's play in recent times has been a lack of belief. England know that they are taking on the old enemy at a good time, and Clarke's men have been utterly devoid of confidence for a while now at the highest level. Lehmann will ensure that his players are confident, motivated and ready to cause a genuine upset away from home on English soil. As he said himself, "We've got to let them play the game of cricket. It's a tough enough game at the best of times, so my role is to make sure they're enjoying themselves on and off the field."
- By having an edge as a former player who was not afraid of confrontation
Lehmann may be keen to create a relaxed, convivial atmosphere for his players, but he also has an edge. As former Australia batsman Damien Martyn said: "With Darren, his coaching has been 'we are going to have fun, we are going to enjoy it', but he has sent guys home who are five minutes late for training. They can't train. He gives them a tongue-lashing as well." As a player, Lehmann was feisty, determined and 'on the edge' all the time; he had an impressive mixture of power and dexterity as a batsman and was a larger-than-life character within the team set-up. He has certainly not gone into his shell as a coach, and will tell his players if they are not doing themselves justice, just in a less-corporate-speak manner to Arthur and his powerpoint presentations.
- He has an X-Factor that Australia badly needed for this Ashes series
"Even though it's an off-field appointment ... they suddenly haven't inherited a Sir Donald Bradman in the batting line-up or a Dennis Lillee in the bowling line-up ... they have have secured a mentor," said former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody. Lehmann has a persuasive pedigree and an amazing ability to inspire and to liberate as a coach. England coach Flower is widely regarded as the best in the world, but he may well come away from this Ashes series - and indeed the second Down Under later in the year - having felt as though he has finally met his match.