What an amazing turn-around by both England and India, in the past few weeks, albeit is opposite directions. Gotta love sport for that.
Just a few short weeks ago every expert was baying for Cook's blood. And now he is back, with a team that can do no wrong. England outplayed India in all departments at Old Trafford, wrapping up the game in less than three days.
India showed that they can find new lows.
The batsmen demonstrated that they can make any bowler a hero, even a part-time finger spinner on a seaming track, if they decide. Taking absolutely nothing away from Moeen Ali, who has made very significant contributions to his team's cause with bat and bowl in this series already.
England were also kind enough to run a master class (on the side), on how to stand properly in the slips. Yes, crouching low, not like royalty, hands resting on knees when the ball is bowled. A simple basic that has been forgotten by the Indian slippers throughout this series.
It was an appalling all round performance by India. That is the only way to sum it up. There were sparks of brilliance from England, with ball and bat. Anderson, Broad, Root, Moeen all sparkled in spells and stints, but it was how India responded which was decisive.
Selection errors and batting first irrespective of the overhead conditions were the early mistakes, but then India demonstrated inabilities in all departments through the two and half days. India pretty much handed over the game to England on a platter, with a total absence of grit, application, determination or consistency.
The worst part was that several Indian batsmen seemed to believe that mindless aggression could get past a tough situation, like in a T20 spurt, turning the game around. I've never really agreed with the view that T20 was doing harm, but I'm reluctantly changing views now. There is merit in different leadership and personnel for the test format. Australia, England and South Africa have got it right.
Well, like me, if you thought it couldn't get any worse than the 2011 tour of England for Indian test cricket.....it can, and it just did. This series has rapidly dwindled to a non-contest. The quality of Indian batting, catching, bowling, pretty much all the big and small things, exhibited by the Indians have been quite appalling. The absence of DRS only adds further frustration, thanks to the terms of the series agreed by the BCCI.
And there seem to be no easy answers in sight either. The return of Ishant in the next game will not be adequate to inject the nerves and determination required to bounce back. If India want to rebuild, serious rethinking and big change will be required. Change of leadership must be on the cards too.
More power to Cook and his men for achieving the amazing turnaround, and putting the absence of their star players of recent past well and truly behind them.