Who would dare call Test cricket boring now? In a nerve-shredding denouement to an opening Ashes Test that had already contained enough plot twists to last the entire summer, England sealed a narrow victory in dramatic circumstances.
With Australia requiring just 15 runs to secure an unlikely victory thanks to a heroic last wicket stand of 65, England fast bowler and man of the match Jimmy Anderson claimed his 10th and final wicket – but not before a lengthy delay while the decision was referred to the third umpire, Marais Erasmus, in a Test where the use of technology has become a significant talking point.
Eventually, as the decision was confirmed, the England players in the middle and the majority of the crowd erupted in an explosion of joy and relief.
On the pitch the umpire Aleem Dar was forced to overturn his original decision and confirm that Brad Haddin, who had taken Australia to the brink of victory with a defiant innings of 71, had nicked the ball to wicketkeeper Matt Prior, awarding England victory in a Test match that had swung as wildly as some of Anderson's bowling.
The match had already taken in a teenage debutant, Ashton Agar, who had scored 98 batting at No 11, a controversial incident in which England player Stuart Broad had refused to walk despite clearly being out, and an innings by Ian Bell for the home side that was widely regarded as his best ever.
"I don't think I've played in a Test where the momentum has changed quite so quickly and so often. I'm glad we managed to scrape through in the end," said a relieved England captain, Alastair Cook.
"I always said I would be the only England captain not to go bald in the job but days like this won't help that."
For those England fans among the packed crowd watching in almost eerie silence as fingernails were bitten to the quick and early optimism evaporated, there were unmistakable echoes of the Edgbaston Test during the summer of 2005. Then, during an epic series that ultimately saw England regain the Ashes after a gap of 18 years, the home side had prevailed by just two runs following a similarly unlikely run chase by Australia that fell just short.
After the emotion and drama of last summer's London Olympics and with no major international football tournament, 2013 was supposed to be a quieter sporting summer.
Yet in the space of eight dramatic days, the British and Irish Lions have won their first series since 1997, Andy Murray has become the first British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years and now England have secured victory in the opening Ashes Test of a back-to-back home and away series in thrilling style.
The use of the controversial DRS system that became a huge talking point when Broad refused to walk after edging a ball to slip at a crucial point during England's second innings again worked to England's benefit at the climax of the match.
Australia captain Michael Clarke, who was unable to review the dismissal of Broad because he had already made two unsuccessful appeals during that innings, said afterwards he would have to "get better" at using the system.
In the case of Haddin, who had set England hearts racing as he took Australia to the brink of victory in conjunction with 11th man James Pattinson, the decision was the right one.
Such a nailbiting climax had looked unlikely earlier in the day as Anderson secured three wickets in 24 seemingly game-changing balls, including that of Agar.
But then Haddin and Pattinson began spraying the ball around Trent Bridge as England's momentum stalled. Steven Finn dropped Haddin in the deep and Jonny Bairstow missed a chance to run the same player out.
The Barmy Army fell silent and the Australians began dreaming of just the 13th one wicket victory in Test history.
Australia emerged from lunch needing just 20 to win, buoying the mood of the Fanatics in the crowd and leaving the singer employed to serenade the players with Land of Hope and Glory during the break in danger of looking foolishly premature. But then came one final twist.
After the game Anderson, who bowled 13 overs in an energy sapping spell before lunch before succumbing to cramp, playfully chided Cook for also dropping a catch earlier, off his bowling, that might have helped avoid the need for such drama.
Given all the breathless action so far, it seems scarcely credible that the Test that will begin at Lord's on Thursday is just the second of the summer.
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image: © SmithGreg