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Graham Onions conquered his nerves and controlled his emotions to take three Test wickets on his "second debut" for England on Saturday.
Onions has admitted many times that he feared he might never set foot on a cricket field again, as a professional player, when he was at his lowest ebb with a serious back injury.
The fast bowler's eighth Test was in Cape Town at the start of 2010, and for much of the intervening two-and-a-half years the prospect of one day winning his ninth cap was a distant dream.
That day has come at last though, after career-saving surgery, many months of rehabilitation and a string of outstanding performances for Durham this season.
The 29-year-old completed his uphill struggle when the third Investec Test finally got under way, after two washouts at Edgbaston, and he duly finished with figures of three for 56 in West Indies' 280 for eight.
"A couple of years ago, I genuinely didn't think I was going to play cricket again," said Onions.
"That just made today even more special.
"Today when I put that shirt on and my cap on, it added to the nerves a little bit.
"I was pretty nervous this morning. But it's good nerves, and I really, really enjoyed it.
"It's like a second debut really."
There were still a few more moments of anguish to suffer before his first comeback wicket, thanks to a drop in the slips by Ian Bell and then an lbw decision narrowly going against him on DRS.
"I was thinking 'I've waited two years for that - just for that one moment there', and Ian obviously dropped it," said Onions.
"But the amount of catching we do, it was a matter of time to get another opportunity - which I was sure he would take.
"That first wicket back was special. Any Test wicket is, but to be playing for this England side is even more so."
Onions' and England's joy was unrestrained when he had Adrian Barath lbw, and all those memories of pre and post-operative pain and anxiety could be cast aside.
Onions had to have a five-inch titanium screw inserted near in his spine.
"I had a stress fracture which needed to be closed," he said.
"But because it was kind of wobbling - imagine a broken polo mint - and starting to crack, I just needed that vertebra to be stabilised.
"Before I had the operation, all my dedication was to try to get myself to Australia. I had a central contract; I was loving life and wanted to be part of the Ashes.
"Once that didn't happen, I was thinking I had to do my coaching badges, potentially teaching, whatever ... but deep down, I just love this game.
"The lowest point was probably the build-up to the operation because having it was the worst-case scenario.
"But once I'd actually had it, I knew all I needed to do was train as hard as I could and get myself in the best possible shape.
"Then until I bowled that first ball, I didn't know if I was going to be fit or not.
"But sitting here today, after all that, just puts a massive smile on my face.
"All the hard work I did in the gym was literally just to play one more Test. So today was really, really special."
He can now focus on a new challenge - how to somehow retain his place against South Africa, a series for which first-choice pair Stuart Broad and James Anderson are sure to return.
"It's going to be tough. There are some quality performers," he said.
"But I'd like to think Steven (Finn) and I have shown today that we've got some skills that England miss a little bit as well.
"The selectors, captain and coach, have some hard decisions to make really. We've got to try to make them as hard as possible."
Onions' most awkward opponent was Marlon Samuels (76), who more than stood his ground both in verbal exchanges and with bat in hand.
"I can't even remember what I said. But it obviously touched a very raw nerve," Onions said of his minor spat with West Indies' number five.
"There are no hard feelings at all, on my behalf. It brought out a couple of loose shots from him, so I suppose you could say it worked."
Samuels saw things a little differently.
"He has a few things to say, but I'm not interested," he said of Onions.
"I don't like onions - I don't use it in my food.
"I guess Onions is not learning, because I have said in the press before that I enjoy it when people talk to me.
"I have a lot of, maybe you could call it rude things, to say - so you motivate me to stay out there.
"I guess he wasn't listening, so I hope this time he listens.
"It's still fun. It may be rude, but it's fun!"