Jos Buttler admits England are at a loss to explain why they keep collapsing in Test cricket.
They repeated a costly habit when they lost all 10 wickets in a session on day two against India at Trent Bridge as they were bowled out for 161.
Despite an opening stand of 54, England conceded a lead of 168 as Hardik Pandya recorded only the second five-wicket haul of his first-class career.
After India then closed on 124-2, Joe Root’s hosts are on course for a defeat that would bring their opponents right back into the series at 2-1 down with two to play.
England teams through the generations went almost 80 years without losing all their wickets in one session between 1938 and October 2016, but they have now done so three times in 22 months.
Buttler said: “It’s very disappointing, after a really good start to the day as well, picking up those early wickets and being 50-0.
“We let that slip. It’s important we can recognise why it’s happened, and improve.”
Despite some “very honest conversations” in the dressing-room, Buttler points out there is no “magic answer” to the problem.
Asked if England have yet worked out why they are so prone to collapse, he said: “Obviously not if it keeps happening.
“Rightly, people say it’s been happening too often, which it has.
“Guys have got to improve. We know that as a side to get to where we want to go we need to eradicate these collapses.”
This appears to be slightly easier said than done at present for England.
“The key is trying not to make the same mistakes,” said Buttler.
“You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again, whether that’s as an individual or as a team.
“There’s no real substitute for hard work.
“It comes down to how can you wrestle back the initiative – maybe with a counter-attacking style or someone trying to sit in and be a bit of a limpet for an hour and ride that session out.
“But obviously we weren’t good enough to do that [yesterday].”
England find themselves in a hole, but Buttler added: “No one’s going to give up or throw the towel in.
“We’ve had a poor day, very disappointing, but we’ll dust ourselves down and come back hard [today].
“Everyone is striving to be the best they can – it’s not for a lack of trying. “We’ve had a very bad day, but we will come back hard.”
Pandya has had his own critics in the early stages of his Test career.
He let the ball do the talking, however, and said of his detractors: “I don’t play for them. I don’t even want to know or care what they say. I play for my country ... that’s my job, and I am doing the right thing.
“My team is happy with me. Nothing else matters.”