The good news from Old Trafford is that Australia will not be whitewashed. They will not lose this Ashes double-header 10-0. The good news is that Australia have stopped the rot of six successive Test losses. The good news is, had it not been for rain, they probably would have won the third Test.
If you believe that they were a couple of blows away from winning the first Test, then the Worst Australian Team ever to leave Australian shores might actually be leading the series now. The bad news is that they still have not actually won a Test. The bad news is that they cannot now regain the Ashes. The really bad news is that Kevin Pietersen might just be finding some form.
But given the depths Australia have scraped on this tour, they will head into Friday's fourth Test with the series still alive at least and they will do so, remarkably, with some positives.
The return of Pup
Michael Clarke has not been out of form in this series, but he has been short of runs. He has looked aloof and distracted not surprisingly, given how much Australia have got going on. But at Old Trafford, he arrived not only in body, but mind and spirit.
It may have been too late to salvage the Ashes urn, but Clarke's 187 was exactly the kind of innings for which Australia have been desperately searching. He was a little flimsy initially, but once he was in, it was the 2012-vintage Clarke, both pretty and purposeful.
It bound together the entire order, building on Chris Rogers's start, building with Steve Smith and then accelerating with Brad Haddin. If he continues to bat well, Australia will compete.
It was only a limited-overs knock on the fourth day of a Test, but David Warner's 41 felt far more significant than that. For a start, this was his big return, after being suspended and then sent away to South Africa for attempting - and failing - to knock out England's Joe Root in a barroom brawl in Birmingham. Much like a footballer reviled by a particular set of fans, he was booed every time he got close to a ball, and on his way in and out in both innings.
He had also asked for a comically bad review in the first innings, after having clearly edged a ball to slip. After all that, to score and look so confident doing so was important; as Clarke pointed out, Warner is the kind to thrive off boos.
Most importantly, he was opening again, his preferred position, and in place of the misfiring Shane Watson, with whom he is said to have a frosty relationship.
If he gets going at the top of the order - and it is still a fair-sized if - England will not know what hit them.
England's wobbling head
It is now nearly official: England's top-order, much the same that ground Australia into the dust in 2010/11, is not in working order. Cast a glance at these six scores so far at the fall of the third English wicket: 102 and 121 at Trent Bridge, 28 and 30 at Lord's and 64 and 27 at Old Trafford.
Jonathon Trott's form is under the most scrutiny, a little technical kink in the angle of his bat breaking through his usually impenetrable bubble. He is averaging just over 20.
Alastair Cook has not been much better, and coupled with Root's strange hesitancy he was dropped early in the Lord's hundred and in the last innings, too it has meant Australia have made early inroads every time.
One of these Tests, it might come back to bite England.
Clocking in overtime
England's bowling attack is a fine one and James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann are largely responsible for their lead in the series. But, as was becoming evident at Old Trafford, in Anderson especially, they are beginning to look a little jaded and overworked.
Anderson has bowled more overs than any fast bowler on either side, over 40 a Test on average. He was unlucky not to have more than two wickets to show for his work in the third Test, but he looked less effective as the game wore on.
Broad has only six wickets to his name, another of those strange periods in his career in which he becomes low-key.
Bresnan and Swann have been good, but the miles are racking up and with little time off ahead of the next Test, it may allow Australia's maligned batting to take advantage.
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