Unfavourable verdict can rejuvenate India
When the hearing in the Grand Harbour hotel in Southampton finished, you could sense that the spirit had left the Indian team.
Not all of them were present in Southampton- only MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Gautam Gambhir, Duncan Fletcher and physiotherapist Evan Speechly were there. They were all whisked away through the back of their hotel as soon as the verdict had been announced to them. We did not know yet what the verdict was, but there was a quiet around them.
India believed the England players had lied, and that James Anderson got away with it. India believed the incessant abuse had crossed all the limits when Jadeja was pushed. They brought it to the authority's notice, and yet they could not do anything about it because there was no evidence.
They felt wronged. Helpless. No matter how much you might try to move on from this, it will remain a factor when India play England in the fourth Test of the series, at Old Trafford.
Recent history suggests India channel this kind of righteous indignation well. After the fractious and infamous Sydney Test of 2007-08, they came back to win in Perth. One week they could not bat out 72 overs to save a Test, another week they put in a determined stellar performance to outplay Australia at the WACA Ground.
At a press conference last year, just before coming to England for Champions Trophy, all sorts of questions were being asked of India. It was frustrating for the public to not get any answers or reassurances from the team as Dhoni went away without taking even a single question about the spot-fixing case.
The players felt equally indignant - rightly or wrongly - that they were being interrogated as if they had done something wrong. There was similar quiet around the players when India left for England, but when they took the field, they were a galvanised unit.
Earlier this year, just before the World Twenty20, another controversy had broken out. The spot-fixing matter had reached the Supreme Court, one of the lawyers there had accused Dhoni of lying under oath during the investigation, and Dhoni's employer N Srinivasan was being asked to leave once again. Similar silence and steel followed.
Once again, India feel the whole world is against them. That might not be the case - that was not the case in the three aforementioned instances - but India have shown they are quick to feel so, and that it galvanises them.
Which is why it was surprising that they called Ian Bell back at Trent Bridge during their last tour to England. India had done nothing wrong then: they had legitimately run Bell out, and when they were booed by the crowd for having done that, that might have given India a last spark when their flame was dying. India did not take it, and proceeded to meekly lose the remaining matches.
This controversy is sure to bring the team closer, to make them more determined, but Test matches are not won on determination alone. You have to take 20 wickets. India will need all the motivation from indignation they can muster to come close to doing that.
In Ishant Sharma's absence and with Mohammed Shami's poor form, India went in to the Southampton Test with a toothless attack. It was not a green pitch where you just put the ball up and it seams; it required the bowlers to hit the deck hard, and India do not believe in those kind of bowlers. Ishant is the only exception to that rule, but he will not be available here, and this pitch is not green either.
India's best bet here will be to win the toss and bat first. Once the opposition gets off to a half-decent start, as England did in Southampton, India get deflated faster than any other major side in the world, and start thinking of the draw.
Dhoni plays a big part in this attitude; he did so by bowling Jadeja throughout the middle session of the first day, at times with a seven-two leg-side field. You can argue his lean bowling sources do not allow him to do much more, but if you make milking runs easy for the opposition so early in the match, your batsmen come under extreme pressure after having fielded for close to two days.
The batsmen have not really kicked on at any rate, which is a little strange because with the exception of Shikhar Dhawan, they have not been struggling overtly. A small mistake here, a bad habit there, and Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli do not have the numbers India expected of them.
Two Tests to go, and with India's bowlers looking exhausted in Southampton, Ishant not available for this match, and with that demoralising verdict handed to them, it would be easy to forget the series is still 1-1.
India theoretically have a good chance of doing something special. Given their resources now, though, they will need liberal doses of that invisible force that they somehow seem to summon when they feel the whole world is against them.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo