It is tempting to suggest England’s woes on the opening day of the Test series against India were symptomatic of a lack of first-class cricket of late.
Only that would avoid the fact that it was scarcely any different to the majority of their recent past in Test cricket.
Having won the toss on the opening morning at Trent Bridge, the home team were bowled out for 183 by India.
Sure, England’s players have been light on red-ball cricket of late. Plus, they were up against a couple of masters of swing, in Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, in conditions that were helping.
But this was just same old, same old for the home side. In the past 11 innings since they last won a Test, England have passed 300 just once.
A number of their players had not played in whites at all since the start of June, when they were soundly beaten by the soon-to-be world Test champions New Zealand.
Jos Buttler was one. Little wonder, then, that he looked entirely out of sync in making an 18-ball duck, before he was finally put out of his misery by Bumrah.
Ditto Jonny Bairstow and Sam Curran. At least they managed 29 and 27 not out respectively, but that was hardly convincing.
Of the England players, only Joe Root resembled anything like a Test match batsman of substance. The captain made 64 in 108 balls, but his was a lone furrow.
Root was the seventh wicket to fall, with the score on 155. That came in the middle of a terminal collapse that saw England’s last seven wickets fall for just 45.
As limp as the home batting was, India’s attack was searingly good. Bumrah started it, with the wicket of Rory Burns in a brilliantly probing first over, with no score on the board.
It is a mystery that Shami’s record in England to date has been meagre. The fast bowler, whose skills – a bolt upright seam position, and canny control of swing – are ideally suited to the UK, was taking his wickets at an average of 44 in the country before this tour.
He is clearly keen to right that wrong this time around, given how he started this game.
Shami’s three for 28 included the wickets of Dom Sibley, Bairstow and Dan Lawrence.
Bumrah went one better as he ended with four, and was unplayable at times, most strikingly in the way he finished the innings.
India’s openers were already mentally preparing to start their effort after Bumrah trapped James Anderson lbw – only for England’s No11 to be spared on video review.
Both Anderson and Bumrah were moved to wry grins on the very next delivery, after it cannoned into the stumps following a precision yorker.
Given the way the ball was swinging, at least England’s bowlers would have been expecting to make an incision when the sides swapped round.
No joy, though, as India’s openers navigated the remaining overs to take their side to 21 for no loss by the close.