By Martin Gough
BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl
The weather was unwelcoming, the crowd was tiny, the record book stayed largely intact and the USA fell to an inevitable defeat to Australia.
So what exactly was the point in pitting a member of the second tier of international teams against the world champions?
Australian skipper Ricky Ponting was one man who could not see it.
"I'm not convinced a Champions Trophy or a World Cup is the place for these sides to play," he said after a match which Australia wrapped up before lunchtime.
This is not a knee-jerk reaction from Ponting as his side has faced several upstart sides over the last 18 months, including Namibia and Holland.
In the 2007 World Cup, five lesser nations - more than ever before - will join the big boys, based on their results in next year's ICC Trophy in Ireland.
Ponting's main gripe is not that smaller teams qualify to play but in the way they qualify, as winners of a single tournament that often sees upsets.
"Whoever it is plays well in that one little tournament comes up and plays against the best teams in the world," he complained.
"I'd like to see the teams that play in those qualifying tournaments dominate those tournaments over a longer period of time.
"Then you know you've got a stronger side when it does make its way up into the top level of international cricket."
Such complaints have not gone unnoticed by the International Cricket Council.
A lot has happened since the days when associate members like Sri Lanka played each other at club grounds in England a week before the World Cup.
But the official line is that a place at the top table needs to be on offer as an incentive for the smaller nations.
There is now a pathway for countries as obscure as Norway to qualify through several stages for the world's top tournaments.
"These teams are playing more cricket than ever before," says ICC spokesman Brendan McClements.
To try to bridge the gulf between the Test teams and the lower tiers, the ICC High Performance Programme sends coaches to work with many of the best candidates.
Ironically, USA were not part of that programme and leapfrogged over the usual also-rans - Scotland, Ireland, Namibia and Holland - in qualifying for this tournament.
Holland are among the other minnows Australia has played
US captain Richard Staple would like to see more tournaments for the second tier of countries.
And the ICC has plans for a "World Cup Qualifying Series" in 2006, although they say many of these teams are becoming worried by the number of matches their amateur teams must play.
"If we played more against these teams like Holland, Scotland and Ireland on a consistent basis we would be able to improve more," said Staple.
"But when it's on a once-per-year basis there is a very small scope for development."
For the foreseeable future at least, the US will be dominated by expats, although Staple expects a younger generation to soon replace the current crop of 30-somethings.
And he believes rubbing up against more experienced teams still has a positive effect, even though they are outclassed on the field of play.
"There was a bit more learning from the New Zealand game because it lasted longer but I'm sure we'll learn a lot from [Australia] just by talking to them."
While a tiny crowd headed home, the two sides congregated in the Rose Bowl dressing rooms, and that is where the real learning process occurred.