What are England and the West Indies looking for ahead of the three-Test series starting Thursday at Lord's?
Visiting coach Ottis Gibson was circumspect when he said: "If we can take this Lord's Test to four days, that will be great."
While not being totally serious, Gibson was acknowledging the reality of this contest. Each team will be working to small gains on different agendas. Weather permitting, the outcome is a foregone conclusion.
For Gibson the task is to keep putting bricks in the wall. By all accounts the Windies have made progress during his two-year tenure, though not without upsetting one or two people along the way.
Chris Gayle, absent for the Tests, though scheduled to return for the ODIs, will not be embracing the coach on arrival. Ramnaresh Sarwan, excluded altogether, thinks he has been left out for his role in the WIPA union's war with the WICB.
For Sarwan, like Gayle, there are doubts about his commitment to the Gibson-Darren Sammy regime but it is not only ill-discipline that Gibson has to deal with.
While most teams visiting England in May land understrength at Heathrow, the lure of Lord's normally brings the stars running before the first Test. Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo are in India rather than England by choice this week. The few talents that the West Indies are currently producing are easy prey for the easy money Twenty20 leagues.
In that context Gibson has done a fine job. The fast and clever Kemar Roach is the best bowler the region has produced since Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh - and has the average to prove it. Darren Bravo has been mentioned, albeit dubiously, in the same breath as his second cousin Brian Lara. If the progress continues there may soon be other players who need no comparison by way of introduction alongside the inimitable Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
The coach's contract finishes at the end of the year. It is fanciful to think that he will achieve a spectacular turnaround in results in that time; indeed given their many handicaps it will take a long time to restore the West Indies to competitiveness. Gibson deserves more years to prolong the upward trend.
For the hosts this is a strange series. The Windies always took undisguised delight in destroying England through the 1980s and 1990s, but the reverse sentiment has never really caught on here. That a home win by 2-0 or 3-0 can be backed at odds of 3/4 raises an eyebrow. Surely only the weather, which limited England to a 1-0 win over Sri Lanka in the corresponding series last year, can prevent that outcome on home soil.
The little things for Andy Flower to work on include restoring Ian Bell's confidence, assessing new number six Jonny Bairstow in whites and weighing the merits of Steven Finn against those of Tim Bresnan.
But like most early-season series it feels like a dress rehearsal for the main event, which makes the three-three format this English summer all the more ridiculous.