Stunned Portsmouth & Southsea went from dismissing Test batsmen to being shot out for just 30 in the blink of an eye as they crumbled to a humiliating defeat inside 75 minutes.
Some of the Southern Electric division three side’s bowlers had a dart at England’s top order batsmen in net practice at the Ageas Bowl on the eve of the Test match at the venue.
And they enjoyed success as Kieron Dunstan picked up three prized scalps – Sam Robson (twice) and Moeen Ali, while Jono Willey picked up Ian Bell’s wicket.
But while their bowlers had their confidence boosted, they had little opportunity to take that form into their clash with Tichborne Park as they were left to defend the paltry 30 runs that their batsmen had mustered.
The total was the second lowest in the history of the league – with Portsmouth II’s 29 all out in 2009 still holding the dubious honour.
And it was Tom Allam’s extraordinary spell (seven for seven) that did the damage after Portsmouth & Southsea had put on 12 for the first wicket before the procession started.
Skipper Lewis Russell said: ‘They had one bowler who took us apart.
‘He was just too good for us. He was a very, very good bowler and was almost unplayable.
‘He was swinging it away and hitting the perfect line and length with every ball.
‘Sometimes you have to hold your hands up.
‘A few of us got very good balls and there were some in there that we probably didn’t need to play at.’
Bowled out in less than 15 overs, Jack Davies and Matt Benfield were joint top-scorers with six – unless you include extras, who hit 10.
And unsurprisingly, Tichborne Park reached the target in four overs as the players trooped off at 2.15pm, after starting the game at 1pm, and before the teas were ready to be served.
Russell said: ‘I haven’t been involved in too many games like that. It’s not very nice to be on that side of it.
‘It was a little bit surreal as you try to work out what’s gone on
‘We were finished by 2.15pm.
‘We were done and dusted and went to watch the seconds.
‘It’s one of those things. There’s not much more we could have done.
‘You forget about it and focus on next week because there is no point in dwelling on a game like that.
‘There are freak games that happen now and again.’
And Russell was just thankful his bowlers had something productive to take from the day after their England experience.
He said: ‘Our bowlers can get international players out and we were getting bowled out for 30.
‘It was a really good experience for them. They enjoyed it and said you could see the difference in quality.
‘At least they had a bowl because they didn’t get much chance in our game. Something productive came out of the day.
‘Kieron is a left-arm spinner and they made him bowl quite a lot because he bowls the same style as Ravindra Jadeja. It made his head swell a bit.’
Russell, meanwhile, remains hopeful his side can beat the drop that looks increasingly likely.
He said: ‘We’ve got the ability to win our remaining games.
‘We have to forget about this and focus on the games coming up.’