By Paul Edwards

3.10am

I look out on Wade Lane from a room a monk might regard as spartan. A man walks briskly down the road and a taxi passes. Other than that, nothing. Lights flicker in distant Roundhay and Seacroft. Even Leeds has to sleep sometime. But it is already the first day of the Third Ashes Test at Emerald Headingley.

Unbidden, my thoughts drift back to a game at Edgbaston in 2012. England Lions v Australia A. It was a rain-plagued affair with both the second and fourth days washed out. On the first blank afternoon I requested an England player for a chat and a fresh-faced 21-year-old turned up. He could not have been more generous with his time or more helpful with his answers. Courtesy came as standard with Joe Root.

On the final morning I asked for an Australian, and the A team’s 27-year-old wicketkeeper arrived. He explained how his career had been affected by a finger injury and showed me a digit shaped like a country lane in the Cotswolds. We talked for maybe an hour and I wished Tim Paine all the best for his future.

It is still the middle of the night in West Yorkshire. I doubt either Paine or Root recalls many details from that game and I’m certain they won’t remember those conversations. But I remember them. Sleep now, perhaps.

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