It was just before lunch on the second day of the Test series between England and India, and things could not have been going much worse for the home team.
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were diligently knitting together a response to England’s listless first day effort of 183. They had reached 97 for no loss.
Just beyond the boundary, even worse news. England’s media team were all set to press send on an email announcing Jofra Archer will be out for the rest of this year.
So no trip to the UAE for either the Indian Premier League in September, nor the T20 World Cup which follows it. Neither will the fast bowler be ready for the trip to Australia to help England’s bid to regain the Ashes.
So far, so very, very bleak.
And then Ollie Robinson dropped a ball short to Rohit Sharma, the first bouncer England had tried on a morning which suited pitch-up, let-it-swing bowling.
Yes, The Rohit Sharma. The Hitman. He of the pull shot about which paeans have been penned. This was right in his wheelhouse.
The India opener went for it, as is his style. He middled it, too. Straight to Sam Curran at fine leg.
And from that point on, the skies brightened on for England. Metaphorically, because the clouds actually rolled in to Trent Bridge just then, which suited England, too.
After the lunch break, England remembered how to play. They were vibrant and incisive, and India were rocked.
The over after getting Rohit, Robinson trapped Cheteshwar Pujara lbw, with no shot offered. It looked a fair shout, but Pujara tried his luck with the decision review, anyway.
Rightly so, it turned out, seeing as the ball tracking suggested the ball was rising over his stumps.
Not that his stay of execution last long. Pujara went for four as he was caught behind by Jos Buttler off James Anderson for four.
All of which meant it was Anderson vs Virat Kohli, the old classic, fully updated for 2021.
These two have had epic duels down the years, not least the last time India faced England in Tests in the UK.
Though their meetings were compelling back then, Anderson did not dismiss Kohli’s wicket. In fact, he has not managed it since he did so twice in a Test in 2014.
That was then, though, this was now. It took Anderson precisely one ball to get his man this time around, luring Kohli into playing.
The ball flicked the outside edge of his bat and into the waiting gloves of Buttler.
India’s slump took on England-like proportions when, with the score on 112 for three, Ajinkya Rahane was run out by a direct hit from Jonny Bairstow while attempting a quick single.
Rahane’s demise meant India had lost four wickets for 15 runs in the space of 35 balls, and England were back in the game.