Watson stakes surprise claim
Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson were probably aware of the fact even if they might not have wanted to acknowledge it.
The second day of the Lord's Test between Pakistan and Australia should have been all about these three Aussie fast bowlers, each with points to prove. Their Ashes berths are not entirely secure, with Ryan Harris and - if he can be fit in time - Peter Siddle ready to lay down challenges of their own.
But, like an uninvited party guest who arrives late and goes home with the prettiest girl, Shane Watson ruined their special day.
To describe Watson as the fourth seamer in Australia's attack might have been a generous remark before Ricky Ponting tossed him the ball shortly before tea on Wednesday.
Watson was Australia's trump card on Wednesday
It must have crossed Ponting's mind that the debutant leg-spinner Steve Smith might deserve a chance first.
Then it happened. Watson took just three balls to strike, sending back Umar Akmal, one of the most dangerous of all international batsmen, almost immediately.
In a devastating burst he took 5-40 in 7.5 overs, even weathering a Shahid Afridi onslaught that - to judge by previous occasions - should have seen him slinking back into the shadows praying the skipper would say, "Cheers Watto, have a blow, mate."
Hilfenhaus was not able to display the knack for moving the ball both ways that Pakistan's seamers demonstrated on Tuesday, but importantly he picked up the first two wickets with two intelligent pieces of bowling.
Bollinger, unlike his name, was flat and ordinary to begin with, though he cashed in later when Pakistan's ship had already been mortally holed.
Johnson was about a thousand times better than he had been 12 months previously in the Ashes, but took just one wicket.
And it's prescient to reflect briefly on the 2009 Ashes, because if there was one bowler in that series who was more disappointing than Johnson it was Watson.
Not that it was entirely his fault. He was brought in when Phillip Hughes was dropped after the Lord's Test, ostensibly to plug the gap left at the top of the order, and he bowled gingerly in a brief three-over spell with Andrew Flintoff at his most imperious and the Edgbaston crowd at its most partisan.
He bowled five more overs in that series, in the first innings at The Oval, and though Ricky Ponting needed seven bowlers in the second innings, he decided he did not require Watson at all.
Despite a problem converting fifties into hundreds, Watson's batting performances in Tests have been strong enough to guarantee his place for the foreseeable future.
As for his bowling, in the seven Tests he has played between that Oval match last August and this, he has made himself nothing more than handy, chipping in with 13 wickets in all.
So one felt this five-wicket haul was as bewildering to him as it was to his team-mates and the Lord's spectators.
Watson's fourth wicket was his most impressive since it removed the one Pakistani batsmen who had made sense of the conditions, Salman Butt. There we were wondering when the last Pakistan player to carry his bat in a Test match was when Watson bowled one that swung late on a full length to splatter Butt's stumps.
After celebrating the wicket he went down to his fielding position at first slip at the start of the next over - to find Ponting and Marcus North slapping his back in a manner that said: "I can't believe you just did that, pal."
Australia had hoped Watson's big breakthrough season would be the 2006-07 Ashes series, after a string of untimely long-term injuries had confined him to only three previous Test appearances.
But his body broke down again - and his fourth match with a baggy green cap perched atop his blond locks did not come until October 2008, at the age of 27.
This Test is only his 18th and it is not surprising that he has occasionally bowled, as he did in England last summer, with the look of a man worried that he is about to twinge another hamstring or pull another groin muscle.
We saw a different Watson at Lord's on Wednesday. Now it's up to him to make sure it was not a one-off performance. If he can turn into the genuine Test all-rounder Australia are always searching for, this coming winter's Ashes series will be a tough proposition for England.