Come the earlier than usual time of 10:30, the terraces of Edgbaston’s Eric Hollies stand will be bouncing in Birmingham as England’s Test team get set to play India.
They haven’t played since last summer but tomorrow is the beginning of the deciding match of a five-Test series.
India lead 2-1 after four Tests – the fifth was postponed due to Covid-19 issues – and are looking for their first series win in England since 2007.
England come into this match off the back of a whitewash series result against New Zealand which has kickstarted the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum era.
But today presents a different challenge for the duo. England are behind and in need of a result – a draw is worth so much more to the World Test Championship than a series loss.
This can’t be a fresh start for Stokes, it’s unfinished business – even though he was not part of the series last year.
England have named an unchanged team from the side that finished the third Test at Headingley against the Black Caps but their top three – Zak Crawley, Alex Lees and Ollie Pope – are different to the openers who last played against India – Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan.
In the four matches played thus far in this series, 30 of England’s 77 batting knocks concluded for five runs or less – that’s 39 per cent.
Ben Stokes’ side can go unbeaten in his opening four Tests as captain, and should they win at Edgbaston across the next five days, his side will have salvaged a draw against a quality Indian outfit. It’s all to play for as the Test circus enters a summer fun.