Birmingham: Having batted for almost 13 hours, making his highest score in any form of cricket and virtually ending India's chances of staying alive in this series, the first question Alastair Cook was asked was whether he had felt satisfaction or disappointment. "It's mad, isn't it, how you can still be disappointed when you score 290-odd," he said. "I suppose only cricket can do that to you."
Every cricketer understands, knows and senses this; this game produces strange, twisted events in the careers of men. "Tell me about it", several of the Indians might well respond as they nurse aching limbs. For all the usual merits of his carefree cricket, Virender Sehwag will be one of them; his Test series has so far involved fielding for 12 hours and 47 minutes, batting for precisely eight minutes and receiving, for all his labour, the first king pair of his Test career.
In the space of two balls, Sehwag has gone from being the turbo-engine the Indian team needed to get moving, to an advertisement about how not to approach any series in England, never mind the one that has been labelled 'marquee', 'big ticket' or 'clash of the titans'.