The players warmed up earnestly for an hour only to go back inside and stay put for two more. The covers were on more than they were off as the rain teased throughout the morning. The rest of us watched on in anguish, wondering when that first ball would be bowled.

These were familiar feelings of discontent for cricket fans the world over. But those emotions, so often the bane of sport, were as welcome as that overdue hug of a loved one. Coronavirus has seen life as we know it put on hold and this was another step to clawing a little bit of it back.

Of course, it was all very different. The first Test match is often the most sought after, regardless of the opposition, and what was supposed to be a packed house at the Kia Oval became 300 people at the Ageas Bowl – all Covid-19 tested, temperature checked and carrying biological passports.

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