When new managing director Rob Key told England fans last month to “buckle up and get ready for the ride”, surely not even he could have expected this.
First came Lord’s. A mere 277 to beat New Zealand on the final day? “Not a chance with this batting line-up,” most people said.
Joe Root serenely guided them home.
Then there was Trent Bridge. How about 299 in 72 overs? “OK, they’ll give it a go but it’s going to be a draw.”
Knocked off with 22 overs to spare.
And now comes Headingley.
Top-order wickets tumbled with such regularity and England batters fell over in such crooked fashion on the second day of the third Test that you could be forgiven for thinking you had rewound to a time when Gareth Southgate was still a national hero.
With England 55-6 in reply to 329, had their careering approach under the new Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum regime appeared to have suffered its first shuddering reality check?
Pundits were already grumbling.
“Rubbish,” was the cry from former captain Michael…