And his 10th wicket, albeit gained by the finest of margins and the faintest edge, may well be among those that come to define this Ashes series.
Australia is here to win
Australia arrived in England as clear underdogs, before cementing this status with an implosion in the ICC Champions Trophy that indicated a team in disarray.
If off field disciplinary issues and major changes in the coaching staff left many wondering what kind of shape this team would be in for the first Test, all agreed that -- on paper at least -- it had a long batting line-up.
None, however, would have predicted just how long.
Making his Test debut at just 19, there were few indications that Ashton Agar, taking the field with Australia on the brink of oblivion at 117 for 9, would deliver such a dazzling performance.
But what a performance it was -- full of eye-catching stroke play and stylish shots that reached all parts of Trent Bridge, watched by a gaping crowd that became gradually more appreciative as the records tumbled.
As the highest ever score by an Australian number 11 became the highest ever score by any number 11, McGrath remarked that he thought he'd been presenting Agar's Baggy Green cap to a bowler, not an all-rounder.
As the debutant reached 98, it seemed the whole stadium, as well as most of those observing via Twitter, were willing him into triple figures.
It wasn't to be, as an overly ambitious boundary attempt from the bowling of the Test's soon-to-be pantomime villain, Broad, was lofted into the hands of Graeme Swann; but the standing ovation he received was heartfelt.
Yes, he possibly should have been given out earlier, and it wasn't quite enough to win the match for the Australians, but no one, English or Australian, will forget that innings.
At the other end of the age scale, the veteran Haddin's performance on the final day was no less impressive, aided by James Pattinson he brought his team within a whisker of an implausible victory.
England beware: this team has a whale of a tail and bowlers will need to be at their best to clear the Australian decks.
The Ashes are still worth fighting for
The appeal of the Ashes comes in large part from the fearsome way in which the series is contested.
When England finally reclaimed the tiny urn in 2005 it was a release so cathartic that it elevated the series to new heights in the UK; and made Australia all the more determined to reclaim the prize, which they did emphatically in 2007.
However, recent contests have felt less competitive.
As the Australians struggled to rebuild, and England became ever more proficient and professional, it felt as though this year's series might lack a little of the appeal of recent years.
By Sunday at Trent Bridge, those fears had been dispelled so emphatically that the very idea of a lacklustre Ashes seemed laughable.
This was, it was unanimously agreed, one of the best ever Ashes Tests, and quite possibly one of the best ever Test matches.
New rivalries, fresh controversies and innumerable talking points conspired to ensure that the second Test will be the most hotly anticipated for years.
The fact that much of the UK is currently basking in a heatwave only added to the sense of enjoyment from the home fans, but even in defeat the Australians could draw succour from the fact that their team can clearly make a decent fist of winning the series.
Clarke's dignified speech as he congratulated England spoke of a man well aware he had been part of something special. And best of all, this is just the beginning of back-to-back series in 2013.
Test cricket is still uniquely compelling
By the end of Wednesday those fans with tickets for Saturday's action were justifiably pondering other plans.