It was the kind of day, perhaps, that Peter Moores might have suspected he would witness sooner or later as his scratch bowling attack encountered a true examination of their skill and temperament. You could not say that England bowled especially badly, save for a few passages when frustration got the better of discipline. Yet against a batting line-up with the experience and acumen possessed in abundance by India it was clear that the special factor, the capacity to produce the moment of brilliance that might change the course of a match, simply was not going to come.
Ryan Sidebottom, eager to confirm to his own home crowd that his place in the side is fully justified, ran in stoically. James Anderson, who had allowed his aggression to stray towards a loss of composure on Saturday, made a better fist of harnessing his emotions and could argue perhaps - apart from the moment at which the umpire Simon Taufel generously handed him Sourav Ganguly's wicket - that his luck might have been better. But neither they nor Chris Tremlett, very competent but still inclined to look unexcited by it all, suggested there was any real magic in the offing.
Monty Panesar, for once, found his charms were not working and Paul Collingwood, the other man to benefit from Taufel's faulty judgment, looked what he is: a bowler with three wickets in 26 Tests. Naturally, thoughts turned towards the bowlers who were not there and whom England plainly miss. On that matter there is news.
Andrew Flintoff, having made his first competitive appearance since May against Sri Lanka A for Lancashire in Liverpool yesterday, playing only as a batsman and making 25, is likely to have more cricket this week, in the Championship match against Sussex at the same venue, starting tomorrow, or even on Twenty20 finals day at Edgbaston on Saturday. It is still possible he will play some part in the one-day internationals against India.
Steve Harmison, who might have featured in these Tests had England not, with slightly baffling reasoning, decided to put off surgery on the hernia he discovered during the …