When Trevor Bayliss, the England coach whose stock-in-trade is dry understatement, calls your performance 'a shocker', you know you've had a bad day at the office.
His players, duly chastened, took a while to emerge from the Trent Bridge dressing-room after slumping to a 340-run defeat by South Africa that felt like a re-run of the dark days of the 1980s and '90s.
Inside, they discussed – passionately and at length – why it is that they have developed the maddening habit of winning one game and losing the next. It is a habit that will stunt their growth as a Test team. And, for once, it drove Bayliss to distraction.
England head coach Trevor Bayliss did not hold back in his assessment of his side's display
Joe Root's team have lost six of their last eight test matches and have significant problems
I didn’t expect England to get anything out of the game after the first innings but I did expect them to fight on Monday and be batting on Tuesday. Don’t just fall in a heap. It is a lack of respect for what Test match cricket is. England are not willing to do the hard yards.
England want to be the best in the world — and they could be. They have two wonderful batsmen. They have a terrific middle order. But they have three batting areas where they are not very good. They have to get a better attitude.
Graeme Smith (Former South Africa captain)
There is talk about changes but are there better players? Do they need another batter? The top order have been found wanting and Ballance and Jennings look technically like they will continue to be found wanting.
That is one of the worst batting collapses I have seen. These are perfect conditions.
It will be quite an awkward dressing room. They have let themselves and a lot of people down.
'I watched in a bit of disbelief,' he said after England had been skittled for 133 inside 45 overs. 'It was a poor performance. I wish I could explain it, as it has happened over the last few years: we put in one good game and win, and then a poor game and lose well.
'The boys are honest: they realise they have had a shocker. We have to make sure we don't panic.'
For Joe Root, it was an immediate introduction to the realities of life as England's Test captain: glory one minute, gory the next.
And Root's mood was not helped when it was put to him that Michael Vaughan, one of his predecessors and these days something of a mentor, suggested the team's batting had shown a 'lack of respect about what the game is'.
Root was angered by Michael Vaughan's claim England's batting showed a 'lack