Posted: 13:09 GMT, 5 February 2021 | Updated: 18:16 GMT, 5 February 2021

At 345 on Friday morning, fans who set off an early alarm were greeted with the unmistakable sound of Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5 spoiled on channel 4

And while it was a teasingly short break from the one-time soundtrack for our summer, the theme tune was as nostalgic as it was significant, heralding the return of live test cricket to terrestrial television for the first time since 2005

The meaning was not lost for host Rishi Persad, who greeted the audience with the echoes of his radio idol Richie Benaud with the words: “Good morning, everyone How nice it is to hear this melody again 16 years after England’s famous Ashes win is test cricket back on channel 4 ‘

Persad then put the free-to-air blackout of live cricket in stark context by introducing his only studio guest, Sir Alastair Cook, as someone who “made his test debut, becoming England’s top runscorer Retired and since Channel was knighted “4 last had rights

For Cook, whose record of 161 test appearances was actually all behind a paywall, this was a TV expert debut whose broadcasting experience has been limited to radio since his retirement in England in 2018

And after a nervous start to his new innings, the earlier opener soon got his peek inside and looked more comfortable by the end of the game

In seasoned Persad, Cook and Channel 4 had the perfect presenter – his friendly and humble approach relieved his guest as well as all cricket viewers for the first time

Sir Alastair Cook evolved into his expert role as the day progressed and provided fascinating insights

Cook made his television debut – he usually appears in the BBC’s Test Match Special

“The most enjoyable aspect for me was that Alastair and I got on well,” Persad told Sportsmail after getting out of the air, admitting he only slept two hours before starting. p>

“I’ve met and interviewed him before, but this is the first time I’ve worked with him”I think being England’s top scorer is good workout for television in terms of nerves, but he seemed pretty relaxed when he got there, and we had a giggle before we went on the air

“I didn’t want to think too much about the purpose of the occasion, so it flooded my thoughts and feelings – but I wanted to give it some kind of credit”

“When I said how nice it was, Mambo No. 5 hearing it again, it was real. Like everyone else, I remember that series from 2005 more than anything

“I haven’t got my name yet, so I don’t want to act like an expert”But I think I’m a real cricket fan and I feel like I can watch a game and understand what is happening to a certain extent

Persad was first informed of the presentation 10 days ago but had an “anxious wait” before Channel 4 finally won the rights to the series on Wednesday

The broadcaster then cleared its Come Dine with Me reruns schedule to split up the cricket and set up a small studio in west London around 5000 miles from the action in Chennai

With such a quick turnaround, this was an outrageously no-frills production, although the outdated and dimly lit set with its brown carpets and armchairs resembled a 1980s living room

“I think if I wasn’t that excited about the whole experience it was comfy armchairs that were easy to drift off with,” joked Persad, who is best known for racing but has previously hosted cricket highlights on the BBC

In a combination of time, budget and coronavirus constraints, comments – as well as pictures, graphics and fake audience noise – were recorded by host broadcasters Star Sports in India, where former English players Mark Butcher and Nick Knight at least did used pleasantly well

It meant reruns at the base were in short supply, so there was nothing like Simon Hughes and the Analyst truck from yesterday’s Channel 4 coverage, let alone Ian Ward in front of the Sky car with all of his Things and things gadgets

But it was a great day of action when Joe Root was in his 100th Test match struck a century

There was the bonus, however, that no commercials were interrupted in the early hours of the morning. And while Sky undoubtedly lacked Sky’s forensic details, Cook interfered in the middle of the session and periodically analyzed the highlights, taking himself based on his experiences with Indian conditions and his relationships with many English players

The social media-averse chef even replying to viewers’ tweets during tea break as the tone was adjusted to cater to more mass audiences who might switch to cricket at breakfast

With enough time to fill, even without rain delays, the coverage would have benefited from a second studio guest or a line to an expert on the ground in Chennai

But when England’s Captain Joe Root and England celebrated a successful first day, so did Channel 4, which ended its program with a much welcome longer version of this famous theme tune

Live coverage of India v England will continue live on Channel 4 and All 4 at 3:45 p.m.

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World News – UK – REVIEW: The return of Test Cricket to Channel 4 was unfussy nostalgia