The moment the entire cricketing world had been waiting for finally arrived today.
After two Ashes Tests, two England defeats and countless column inches dissecting the tourists’ selection policy, Monty Panesar was given the chance to bowl against Australia.
The demands for his inclusion in the side have been frenzied, to say the least, almost to the point that one could be forgiven for thinking England’s 2-0 deficit in the five-Test series could be explained simply by their decision not to pick the left-arm spinner in Brisbane and Adelaide.
Even the Australians have hitched a ride on the Monty bandwagon, adding their unmistakable voice to the argument demanding his inclusion in Perth.
A huge grin as the national anthem rung out before play told everything you needed to know about how much this moment meant to the man from Luton.
The sell-out crowd had to wait less then two hours to see the subject of their affection in all his glory, and the cheer that filled the WACA when Panesar was handed the ball before lunch on the opening day of this third Test spoke volumes for the fondness in which he is held by even England’s greatest rivals.
The spectators had to wait just moments longer to see their own hype justified. Panesar struck with only his seventh ball, beating Justin Langer’s seemingly solid forward defensive and leaving the normally solid left-hander casting puzzled looks back to his broken stumps.
Cue the wild-eyed, leaping celebration which has become Panesar’s trademark.
So full of enthusiasm and unbridled joy is it that even the most cold-hearted of Australians would have struggled to suppress a smile as the young left-arm spinner - playing his first Ashes Test - was embraced by his adoring England team-mates.
If Panesar’s breakthrough was greeted with something resembling affection by those watching the game through antipodean eyes, they were given four further reasons to question their wisdom in championing his cause on a day of unparalleled joy for England in the field.
It is a measure of his supreme talent - and the sneaking suspicion that Australia may have allowed Panesar to permeate their thoughts a little more than they would have liked - that he did not bowl at his best.
Long hops accounted for Andrew Symonds and Shane Warne, both of whom were caught behind cutting, but the scorebook does not reflect the character shown by Panesar - and faith by captain Andrew Flintoff - in maintaining his composure as Symonds launched a fierce assault that included two brutal straight sixes and a driven four through extra cover in an over costing 17.
Adam Gilchrist was beaten in the flight, offering a simple bat-pad catch to short leg as he lunged naively, while a decent stride forward could not save Brett Lee, who was adjudged lbw to one that pitched in line and straightened.
It all added up to Panesar’s third five-wicket haul in Tests, and the best figures by an England spinner on this ground, quite a feat for a 24-year-old playing only his 11th Test, his first in Australia and with the huge weight of public expectation resting on his shoulders.
There may have been uncertainty over Panesar’s omission from the side for the first two Tests, but his performance in Perth left onlookers in little doubt as to his value to the England team.