As Matthew Hayden tore apart bowling attacks all around the world, Justin Langer was up the other end using guts and determination to grind his way to success in one of Test cricket's best opening partnerships.
Langer has applied that same workmanlike attitude to turning Western Australia around from a talented-but-troubled team to Sheffield Shield finalists in less than 18 months.
Former Test opener and WA veteran Simon Katich said Langer was exactly what the squad needed, while another Warriors legend, Tom Moody, put it down to Langer leading by example.
In October 2012, WA cricket was plagued by discipline issues as the Marsh brothers, Shaun and Mitch, were dropped for off-field behaviour in the lead-up to a Champions League Twenty20 match in Cape Town. Marcus North stepped down as captain four days later.
Within a month, Langer was signed as WA coach.
As a player, Langer was known for his fierce determination and hard work. It's those same qualities that have helped him turn WA around in a short space of time.
"He was exactly what the squad needed, he's come and right from the word go has changed the work ethic and attitude of the group," Katich said.
"The results are there clearly to see – last year the boys probably should've got to the final, but fell at the last hurdle, and this year they're there.
"I think it's the first time WA has been in the Shield final for 15 years and it's amazing it's been that long given the quality of players that have been there.
"A lot of that's due to his guidance, but not only that, he's got the best out of a number of the boys there."
Former WA all-rounder Moody said Langer had brought his own ethics to the WA team. In the process, he had managed to bring not only WA's young talented players on board, but the experienced players like captain Adam Voges.
Moody said the results spoke for themselves – WA's first Shield final since their historic away win over Queensland in 1998-99, plus the Scorchers' Big Bash League title last month.
He said Langer's use of WA greats had helped tap into the Sandgropers' successful era through the 80s and 90s when they won the Shield eight times.
And he felt WA were a realistic chance of winning this one as well, especially given how close last week's match at Manuka Oval was.
"He's obviously someone with a wealth of experience, having had the career that he's had, but also he's someone who has, not only personally, demanded very high standards," Moody said.
"What he's demanded over his own career, he's applied that into coaching and he expects very high standards from the way they practice to how they behave and this group has responded well.
"Anyone who's had a career like Justin's is automatically going to get the respect.
"Justin takes it to another level in that he's someone who walks the talk.
"It's all well and good being full of hot air, but Justin's always been someone who's backed it up delivering what he's talked about, whether it be values or standards he sets and then he leads from the front."
Canberra-born quick Luke Behrendorff has experienced first-hand Langer's influence and seen how the squad has embraced his mantra of hard work and respect.
As they started to win a few games, Behrendorff said it had a snowball effect.
"He fought really hard and was such a fantastic cricketer when he played, so I think he's bringing that character and resilience into our game and showing us hard work definitely does pay off, and it's definitely starting to pay off for us right now," Behrendorff said.