At the end of a disappointing defeat against India at Old Trafford on Tuesday, Jos Buttler had two consolations to take on with him to Friday's second T20I in Cardiff: the continuation of a stellar run of personal form which now comprises seven T20 half-centuries in eight innings, and the chance, shortly after the end of India's run-successful run-chase, to watch England's footballers prevail in their World Cup penalty shoot-out against Colombia in Moscow.
"We've had some penalty heartache before haven't we?" Buttler said, after footage of the cricketers watching the match and launching into their celebrations in the dressing-room had done the rounds on social media. "Watching it with the lads, a lot of football fans, it was incredible. We loved it."
England's debrief after their first white-ball defeat in seven outings this summer had to be shoehorned into "half-time in extra time", Buttler added, as the desire to join in the national zeitgeist proved irresistible. "We were very disappointed to lose but with the game on, the lads were keen to watch that and support."
Buttler himself was exempt from much of the post-(cricket) match navel-gazing, after his rollicking innings of 69 from 46 balls had set the platform for what looked likely, until Kuldeep Yadav fired up his left-arm wrist-spin, to be another imposing team total. Nevertheless, it was still Buttler's seventh half-century in ten England innings this summer, a remarkable run of form across all three formats.
"Consistency-wise, it's probably my best-ever form, and that's the most pleasing thing," Buttler said. "To leave performances behind and practice the next day with hunger and desire, not to rest on previous performances. You see guys around the world doing that and it's been a case of trying to work out how they do that. It's about accessing the mental side of the game and that's been pleasing, to work out good routines and staying in the moment in games."
The secret of Buttler's success, in T20s at least, has been his promotion to the top of the order, first for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, and now for England too.
"I'm really enjoying it," Buttler said. "It's a fantastic place to bat. It's been another good challenge for me in my career and refreshing. Whether that's me opening forever, I don't know, I'd hope to retain the flexibility. But I do think it's the best place to bat. But it comes down to the make-up of the team."
One potential downside to Buttler's promotion, however, came in the tumble of wickets in England's middle order. With Alex Hales enduring a grim struggle to pick the spinners' variations, and with both Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root being done first-ball by big-turning wrong'uns, it seemed that the man who really needed to be coming out to start his innings cold against such quality mystery-spin was the very man who was already not-out at the non-striker's end.
"It's about understanding that you shouldn't get too flustered," Buttler said. "With spin it can all happen quickly, suddenly you have faced a few balls and aren't off the mark ... so it's not allowing that to affect you. You have to get used to the action and once you have faced them a bit more it gets easier. You have a bit more trust and might pick up a few cues.
"[Left-arm wristspin] is very rare and he's a very good bowler," he added. "It's now down to the guys to gain an understanding. You see it a lot in international cricket that guys burst onto the scene and then people get a handle on them. It's getting used to the angle, wrist-spin is usually right-arm. He's a good bowler and, as we have seen, wristspinners have been a big weapon in T20. We know we are a lot better than we showed during that little phase of the game. We just didn't manage to capitalise on the start."
Either way, the Old Trafford match provided a wealth of ominous signs for England at the start of a lengthy India campaign that culminates with five Tests in August and September. With the current English heat-wave showing no sign of abating, and with the vociferous pro-India crowd leading Eoin Morgan to concede that the match felt like an away game, the conditions look likely to get tougher and less "English" as the tour develops.
"The weather and the pitches will be dry but it can get this way here," Buttler said. "Old Trafford has always been good for wrist-spin and reverse too, we see that at Lancs in T20. The pitches will be what they are, so it is down to us to react. We had this in the Champions Trophy last year and 2013 too ... we have to deal with it, counteract that and play in all conditions - that is international cricket."
As for the crowds, "it does take a bit of getting used to," Buttler conceded, "especially coming off the back of an Australian series, which is very pro-England. But we know what to expect, India is a huge cricketing nation with fanatical support. Being a diverse country, we have a lot of Indian supporters and it makes for a great atmosphere. We just have to accept that, and they get that support everywhere in the world. We know our home and conditions but it makes it a challenge against a very good team."
"It's one game. It's T20. We are confident, we will stick to what has served us well, stay true to ourselves and come back hard at them in the next game."