There may have been no play on the first morning at the Ageas Bowl but a former West Indian paceman still chose the moment to deliver one of the finest spells the ground has seen.
Michael Holding did so not with a ball in his hand, but with a microphone. But over four minutes and 45 seconds of spellbinding television he embarked on a near-700 word unbroken monologue that explained perfectly why the England and West Indies players were ready to take the knee in support of Black Lives Matter.
He talked of institutionalised racism and "brainwashing", how the wider public’s ignorance of Lewis Howard Latimer - the inventor of the carbon filament lightbulb - was symptomatic of a lack of education around what black men and women have achieved, and how that absence of knowledge contributes to the anger we are seeing today.
Holding’s voice cracked at the end of his speech but, coming as it did after an accomplished pre-recorded piece alongside Ebony Rainford-Brent on the racism they suffered in their careers, it perfectly set the tone for the wider issues around this Test match and sport in general.
“The dehumanisation of the black race is where it started. People will tell you that's a long time ago, get over it,” Holding said on Sky Sports. “No, you don't get over things like that and society has not gotten over something like that.
“How do you get rid of that in society? By educating both sides - black and white.
“I hope people realise this Black Lives Matter movement is not trying to get black people above white people or anyone else, it is all about equality. When you see somebody react to Black Lives Matter with 'all lives matter' or 'white lives matter', please, we black people know that white lives matter. I don't think you know that black lives matter.
“So don't shout back at us that all lives matter. The evidence is clearly there that white lives matter, we want black lives to matter now as well. It's as simple as that.
“History is written by the conqueror, not by those who are conquered. History is written by the people who do the harming, not those who are harmed.”
Beginning to address the lack of black personnel in the English game has been a major issue in the past few weeks, well before the debate over whether England and the West Indies would take the knee. A fortnight ago Lonsdale Skinner, chairman of the African-Caribbean Cricketers’ Association, told Telegraph Sport he wanted a black QC to lead a ‘root-and-branch review’ of how the ECB have “deliberately excluded” the black community from the game over the past 30 years.
The sport’s governing body are not willing to go quite that far but Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, did say cricket had “very difficult truths to face” about its lack of engagement with the African-Caribbean community as he unveiled a raft of measures to increase black representation at all levels of the game.
Few things they do, though, will be quite as visible as the knee the entire team took shortly before the start of play; openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley out on the wicket alongside the West Indies team, the remainder of the squad and backroom staff around the boundary. Both teams had already agreed to wear logos on the collars of their shirts but the decision to take a knee together, as exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport on Tuesday, aimed to make an even more powerful statement.
“It was a good feeling because we have to make change,” said West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick. “For us it's all about equality. It's all about honesty, it's all about treating everybody equally. And for us, that was very, very important, and fortunately enough we were able to make a statement.
"So we were happy as a group to do it and I thought it was really wonderful to see England supporting us as well in the whole thing. And obviously it came off very, very well.”
For all the powerful symbolism of the day, uncomfortable truths remain. There are questions over whether the ECB's new measures will go far enough. Addressing the decline in black cricketers - the number of black British players in county cricket has fallen from 33 to nine since 1994 - is a long-term ambition. As Rainford-Brent pointed out, grappling with these issues will require greater boardroom diversity - none of the chief executives or chairmen across the 18 first-class counties are black.
“In our world of sport, people say there aren't any inequalities but you start to look around at people in positions of power,” she said.
"Statistics have come out that there are almost zero black people in any boards in our governing bodies. What does that say?"
It says this is a sport that requires profound change. But Holding said a lot - and so, with one powerful action, did the England and West Indies teams.