One senses a cheeky smirk when Nathan Lyon's mentor is asked how he fared when the pair went toe to toe in Canberra's north-west.
"Not too bad," former ACT Comets coach and Queanbeyan all-rounder Mark Higgs said. "He got me out a couple of times but I got him a fair share as well.
"I used to try to upset him when I used to play against him as a young kid. I'd try and attack him pretty heavily, then I'd take him to the nets and work on why I can attack him and if we get the shape right, why it makes it more difficult."
Being the 13th is a somewhat humorous twist. The superstitious Lyon's former housemates will tell you if he pulled his car into the driveway with his odometer on an odd number, he would reverse out and drive far enough to change that.
The 33-year-old is four wickets shy of joining Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath as the third to take 400 Test scalps for Australia.
On the surface it makes Lyon's rise from Manuka Oval curator Brad van Dam's second in charge something of a surprise. Scratch a little and you unearth an ultra competitive cricketer, a born trier, and simply, a country kid done good.
"If I'm perfectly honest, I reckon there are kids who have come through the program who have shown a higher skill level, but maybe not a higher mental capacity to improve," Higgs said.
"It's one thing having the physical skills, but the mental aptitude and attitude you need to have to bowl spin in particular, it's rare you see it as good as Lyonsy has got it.
"I reckon for the first three years [of Lyon's Test career], he was the main talking point about being dropped, he had to fight everyone off.
"There was always talk about potentially wanting to play the four quicks. He was fighting that, and then [Ashton] Agar came on the scene as well and he had to get past him. [Brad Haddin] was a good older brother for him, if you like.
"I'm absolutely stoked for him. He has worked hard, he has had to overcome a fair bit, proud as punch."
Lyon is a great survivor who has become one of the greats. Never prodigiously talented, a move to South Australia in 2010 to work on the Adelaide Oval turf would change his life forever.
"I was saying 'make sure you've got a job first before you go to Adelaide, make sure you've got a stable income and then see what happens with the cricket after that'," van Dam said.
"There were no real massive expectations on the cricketing front at that stage, there was always that hope. Suddenly he was thrust into the Big Bash world and six months later he was playing for Australia."
It blossomed so quickly ACT cricket great Cade Brown remembers Kerry O'Keeffe declaring "we were watching a Test player bowl last night" in the wake of his Big Bash debut.
That came as little surprise for a batsman who crossed paths with Lyon in Canberra first grade finals more times than he could care to remember, perhaps given he "used to struggle facing him to be honest".
"People maybe underestimated the talent he had," former Weston Creek Molonglo batsman Brown said.
"One of my final memories of him in Canberra was in a grand final when we played Wests. He broke his hand whilst fielding which actually changed the game, because he couldn't really bowl, but he did come back and bowl late in the innings.
"Then the game was all but over, we had them nine down and they were 100 runs or more behind, and he still came out and batted.
"You'd play against him at Kaleen, he'd be taking the covers off, he'd be rolling the wicket, he'd come out and toss the coin, and he'd bowl most of the overs.
"It's the ultimate dream, the boy from the country comes good and wears the baggy green."
Australian selectors searched far and wide for a man to fill Warne's shoes following the legendary leg-spinner's retirement in January of 2007.
Stuart MacGill, Brad Hogg, Beau Casson, Cameron White, Jason Krejza, Nathan Hauritz, Bryce McGain, Steve Smith, Xavier Doherty and Michael Beer were tested.
MacGill added just four more Tests as Australia said goodbye to a golden generation. Smith traded spin for centuries. Hauritz lasted longest with 17 Tests.
When a gangly tweaker was thrown the ball in Galle in 2011, he struck with his first ball and never looked back.
In the years that followed doubters wondered if a man relying on few variations would be the answer.
So it is somewhat fitting this week presents another tough assignment after Australia failed to break India in Sydney despite toiling for more than a day in search of 10 wickets.
"That's the beauty of Test match cricket, I've been very grateful to play in some amazing Test matches," Lyon said.
"Even last week provided some great learning curves for the Australian cricket side and for me personally as well.
"Now we get this opportunity to come out here and put into play what we've learnt over the past little while.
"Me personally over the past 99 Test matches, I've learnt so much and grown in confidence. Hopefully we can put it into play come Friday."
So much of his impact this week may well hinge on Australian captain Tim Paine's fate at the toss, though one thing is for sure.
"I'd love to see him bowl last at the Gabba," Higgs said. It could set up yet another stirring chapter in an unlikely fairytale.