A landmark day for Test cricket in this country ended up being pretty significant for England captain Joe Root, too, as his side took a stranglehold of this opening match of the series against West Indies.
The first day-night match in the UK, and fifth anywhere in the world, was always going to be an historic occasion.
But Root’s magnificent 136 and a 31st Test hundred for Alastair Cook were the real stories of a day that saw the hosts close on a dominant 348 for three.
Records tumbled during the pair’s 248-run stand that settled England’s nerves after top-order failures for debutant opener Mark Stoneman and No3 Tom Westley saw them slip to 39 for two in the eighth over of the day.
The first significant landmark came when Root brought up his half-century early in the second session. It was the 11th successive Test in which he had posted a 50-plus score, beating an England record of 10 established by John Edrich 46 years ago.
As the runs flowed thereafter Cook and Root then set about amassing the highest partnership for any wicket in day-night Tests and then the record third-wicket stand for any team on this ground.
It was an alliance that was only broken as the floodlights begun to take over from the natural light – the dangerous twilight period.
Root fell at 8.23pm after he was bowled playing a tired shot to Kemar Roach. By that stage, with England 287 for three, this match already looked beyond the West Indies.
To rub salt into the tourists’ wounds, Dawid Malan then saw off the second new ball under the lights, reaching the close unbeaten on 28 – his highest Test score after four failures in his first two matches against South Africa.
Cook was alongside him unbeaten on 153 when the lights finally went out on this ground-breaking day at 9.30pm.
Now just 20 behind Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 51 Test centuries, could Cook, still only 32, beat the Little Master’s landmark?
Time will tell but he looks good to plunder plenty more runs against outclassed opposition who may find the remainder of this three-Test series an increasingly uphill battle.
Despite all the distractions surrounding this pink-ball Test, England are still searching for answers ahead of this winter’s Ashes series in Australia.
The hosts certainly hope Stoneman can finally be the answer to the biggest selection headache of the age, the Surrey batsman’s debut making him Cook’s 12th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012.
Stoneman, 30, is England’s oldest Test debutant this century. And even though he looked good during the six balls he faced, striking Roach for two sublimely-timed fours, he faced only six balls.
That was because Roach, in the third over of the day, produced a near-unplayable delivery that swung a fraction and kissed the top of off stump.
It wasn’t the start Stoneman would have wanted. But at least the very early signs are that he may have what it takes to stop the revolving door at the top of England’s order.
That early wicket, that reduced England to 13 for one, brought Westley to the crease. The Essex batsman has been tasked with solving another problem position at No3 and despite showing positive signs in his first two Test appearances against South Africa he needs runs to establish himself in the team for the Ashes.
That they did not come on the first day of this match is entirely Westley’s fault, the 28-year-old trapped lbw on review after missing a straight ball from Miguel Cummins. It was a poor dismissal and his score of eight was decidedly underwhelming.
Indeed, he must have been kicking himself in the dressing-room as he watched his county team-mate Cook and Root make hay during a second session that saw them plunder 107 unanswered runs against an increasingly clueless West Indies attack. Cook and Root’s stand was worth 61 by lunch, taking England into the interval on 108 for two.
Root, on 40 by then, was to reach his record-breaking half-century early in the second session when he cut Jason Holder, his opposite number, for four down to third man. Cook had already got to 50, in 74 balls, shortly before lunch, a misfield from Kyle Hope at midwicket allowing him to run through for a single.
With the early swing provided by this pink Dukes ball gone, England’s third-wicket pair made hay in the afternoon sunshine to help their team to 215 for two at tea. Root has already brought up his 13th Test hundred by then, sweeping the part-time spin of Roston Chase for four to reach his landmark in 139 balls.
Yet even his departure could not stem the flow of runs.