It may have been against a bunch of students, and in a match lacking first-class status, but it does not take much to get England fans excited about a possible return to form for Haseeb Hameed. Having reaching his double-hundred on Friday, Hameed was finally dismissed on the second morning of Lancashire's warm-up match against Loughborough MCCU for 218.
The Loughborough attack had a grand total of 11 first-class wickets between them, but Hameed showed the commitment to ruthless accumulation that marked him out as a teenager, batting for more than six hours and facing 336 deliveries after coming in at No. 3.
Picked by England at 19, Hameed's form subsequently fell away dramatically. After a dreadful 2018 summer, when he averaged 9.70 from 17 innings for Lancashire - with a top score of 31 - his efforts at the university ground in Loughborough will encourage the hope that he can interest the selectors again.
England's Test team remains unsettled, with little certainty around the likely top three to face Australia during the Ashes later this summer. Keaton Jennings, Hameed's Lancashire team-mate, was dropped in the Caribbean, before making an unsuccessful return in the third Test against West Indies, while Rory Burns averages 25.00 and Joe Denly has only played two Tests. Any signs that Hameed could push his case would doubtless be welcomed.
Hameed was seemingly destined for great things when he broke into the Test team in 2016, becoming the fifth-youngest man to debut for England. He scored two half-centuries in six innings against India before a hand injury ended his tour early, but then suffered a prolonged slump that saw him slip out of contention as Jennings and then Mark Stoneman stepped in to partner the now-retired Alastair Cook.
Lancashire are due to open their Championship campaign against Middlesex at Lord's next week, when Jennings will also be looking to hit the ground running against an attack that could feature a pair of potential Ashes candidates in Steven Finn and Toby Roland-Jones.