The spectators flooded into Headingley with the sun shining and the expectation that England’s push for victory in the third Test would be a hard-fought grind against an Indian batting line-up that had fought back handsomely on Friday.
Instead they were treated to a cascade of dismissals and England wrapping up a crushing innings win and a 1-1 series scoreline before lunch was even served, the final eight wickets falling for just 62 runs as Ollie Robinson recorded figures of five for 65.
It meant India, having resumed on 215 for two overnight but still 139 runs in arrears, were bowled out for 278 and England have pulled a dramatic handbrake turn on their ailing form following a run of seven Tests without a victory and five defeats.
Joe Root, who delivered a stellar 121 with the bat to help compile a score of 432 in response to India’s 78 all out on the opening day, now has 27 victories as England captain, surpassing the record held by his fellow Yorkshire cricketer Michael Vaughan.
To do so at his home ground made it all the sweeter. Jimmy Anderson lead the attack with four wickets – including three on the opening morning that set the Test on its path – and Robinson’s second five-wicket haul continued an encouraging first summer as an England cricketer despite an overshadowed debut back in June.
Robinson was the executioner-in-chief on the fourth morning, getting the ball rolling for his side in the fourth over when Chesteshwar Pujara, yet to add to his overnight 91, padded up to a ball that nipped back and was out lbw on review.
The wicket of Kohli was the clincher, however, the Indian captain successfully overturning a caught behind off Anderson on 45 and registering his first half-century of the series, only to feather an edge to Root on 55 off Robinson.
Kohli has now gone 51 international innings without a century and the problems witnessed in 2018 appear to have returned – not that Robinson cared much as he peeled away, arms stretched in celebration at a ground he briefly called home.
At 237 for four the plug was out and from there the bathwater took little time to disappear. Anderson nicked off Ajinkya Rahane in the next over and Robinson followed the drinks break with his fourth victim of the innings when the skittish Rishabh Pant tamely guided a ball to Craig Overton to slip.
A fifth looked like it might evade the 27-year-old, Mohammad Shami successfully overturning an lbw on review and then bowled neck and crop by Moeen Ali second ball of the morning when the off-spinner got one to rag out of the foot holes.
But Root persisted with the now tiring Robinson and was rewarded when Ishant Sharma edged behind. Then came the breather, with Craig Overton replacing him at the Kirkstall Lane End and completing his encouraging return to the side with the final wickets of Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj in the space of three balls.
It meant the Test match was done and dusted with 18 minutes of the morning remaining and just 19.3 overs bowled. A 50% refund will follow for the Saturday spectators, who will still take away memories of a special performance from England that, after a dismal final day at Lord’s a week earlier, shows momentum is an overused word in cricket.