London: It is not even a month ago, but that magic Monday at Lord's now seems so distant. The series was alive, a Test match was on the line, tickets were going for a song, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were at the crease, there remained the prospect of Sachin Tendulkar's 100th hundred, and the crowd streamed in like they never had in a hundred years. From that day on, the series has grown progressively more surreal.
What do you make of England sauntering to 710 for 7 and India sinking to 130 for 7? Have England somehow managed to combine the might of the West Indians of the '70s and the Australians of the noughties? Or have India turned into the new Bangladesh? Bangladesh might take offence at that suggestion: they did manage to drag a Test to the final session last season in England, and scored 382 in only their second innings of the tour.
Exaggeration aside, this series has suspended our sense of reality. Have England really become awe-inspiringly good, or has India's awfulness made them look so? Conversely, have India, undefeated in a Test series since August 2008 before this, become utterly appalling in a matter of months, or have England dragged them there with the force of their performances?