Chris Tremlett thanked the Hampshire fans for their encouragement as he put England in command on a rain-hit first day of the historic third Test.
The former Hampshire star – whose father Tim is still on the Rose Bowl staff – grabbed two wickets for 17 runs as Sri Lanka were reduced to 81 for four in 38 overs of play, as heavy showers swept across the region.
And the 6ft 7in bowler, who left for Surrey two years ago after progressing through the ranks at Hampshire, was delighted with his reception from the home supporters as he turned in a fiery display with the ball under overcast skies.
Tremlett said: ‘I got a good reception, which was nice.
‘I obviously played here for a long time but it has been a couple of years since I’ve been back.
‘It was nice to get that reception and nice of the Hampshire fans to do that for me.
‘I was at Hampshire for nine or 10 years. I’d like to think I offered a lot to the county and gave the fans some good viewing at times. So it is nice to come back, get a good reception and see some familiar faces.’
While Tremlett has seen the evolution of the Rose Bowl from a minefield of a wicket to a Test match venue, he admitted he was a little surprised by the helpful pitch.
He said: ‘A couple of years ago they were pretty low and slow.
‘And talking to a couple of the Hampshire guys, they have been pretty similar again this season.
‘So I was a little surprised to get something so green with that kind of carry.
‘Hopefully we can make the most of those conditions when we get back out there.’
Jimmy Anderson picked up the first wicket before a Tremlett yorker trapped Tharanga Paranavitana to leave the Sri Lankans 23 for two.
And it got even worse for the tourists when skipper Kumar Sangakkara was Anderson’s next victim soon afterwards.
A batting collapse looked on when Tremlett produced an almost unplayable lifting delivery to dispense with Mahela Jayawardene as Sri Lanka wobbled at 39 for four.
But Thilan Samaraweera (24 not out) and Prasanna Jayawardene (10 not out) steadied the ship to avoid further loss before day one came to a close.
Tremlett said: ‘We might have had them six down but at the end of the day we were happy with four wickets.
‘It was pretty frustrating going on and off and it’s tough to keep switching yourselves on but I think we did a pretty good job.
‘Obviously it’s a shame we couldn’t get a full day in but it was nice to get out there and give the fans something to cheer.
‘They were loud and seemed like they had a good day.
‘And maybe me coming back and getting a couple of wickets has made them a bit happier, too.’