jos buttler batting
Jos Buttler’s 32-ball 39 helped England save a potential follow-on (Getty Images)

When the lunch break was taken on Day 2 at Trent Bridge, England seemed to have seized control of their third Test against India. With the openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings overcoming the early nerves, they looked settled. The scoreline 46/0 in 9 overs was reassuring.

The scenario changed dramatically after they returned for the second session.

Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah removed Cook and Jennings withing two deliveries. And the stage was set for allrounder Hardik Pandya to weave his magic. In a six-over spell, the much criticised medium pacer swung the ball in a way that left England puzzled and soon they had collapsed to 161-all out. A stunning turnaround but not an unfamiliar territory for the hosts.

They have lost 10 wickets in a session before. In fact, this is the third time in the past two years that it has happened – against Bangladesh in Dhaka (2016) and New Zealand in Auckland (2018). Jos Buttler doesn’t know what ails their batting but he does admit it’s happening far too often for their liking and they need to find a cure.

“Obviously not, if it keeps happening. Rightly people say it’s been happening too often – which it has. Guys have got to improve. We know that as a side to get to where we want to go we need to eradicate these collapses,” Buttler said after the second day’s play.

“The key is trying not to make the same mistakes. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again, whether that’s as an individual or as a team. If there’s an obvious weakness as an individual, you need to work on it. As a team, is there a similar thing we need to make sure it’s not happening?”

For the first time in three Tests, India have taken a commanding position with a performance worthy of their top ranking in the format.

While Pandya was running through England batting, England were staring at the ignominy of a follow-on. It was thanks to Buttler’s 32-ball 39 that the hosts managed to wave off that outcome before handing the visitors 168-run lead.

Buttler admits England were the second best on Sunday but vowed to come back stronger on Day 3. “We’ve had a poor day today, very disappointing, but we’ll dust ourselves down and come back hard tomorrow. It’s important we can recognise why it’s happened and improve.”

“When we’ve got that momentum, when we’ve been bowling, it felt like we were going to take a wicket every ball. It comes down to how can you wrestle back the initiative – maybe with a counter-attacking style or someone trying to sit in and be a bit of a limpet for an hour and ride that session out. But obviously we weren’t good enough to do that today.”