The second and third tests were both rain affected draws, there was very little cricket in the second but in the third England were well on top and if the match had run its course then England would surely have won. Crawley’s double century, Buttler’s ton and Jimmy’s bowling culminating in his 600th test wicket were the highlights. What can you say about Jimmy Anderson, the greatest living Englishman?
The series was played in a great spirit and Pakistan played some good cricket but after the first test didn’t look good enough to beat England. They do have some talented batsmen but Babar Azam only showed glimpses of what he can do. A lot was said about their bowling line up which does have great potential but it has to be noted that they weren’t able to take twenty wickets in any of the matches.
This strange summer of test cricket has come to the end with England winning both series and importantly we are showing signs of having a settled batting order for some time to come. Burns, Sibley and Crawley look a solid top three. Root and Pope a classy middle order and we have some decent players in reserve. Ben Stokes is the best all rounder the game has seen for a long time and could get into any test team for his batting alone. Joss Buttler had a good series against Pakistan and cemented his place but he isn’t our best keeper! Like Stokes he’s worth his place in the side for his batting alone. I won’t be surprised if Bairstow finds his form and gets back into the squad at some point too but as a batsman not a keeper.
We also have an excellent squad of bowlers, who we pick should be decided by pitch and conditions and even the legends Broad and Anderson can’t expect to play every game. We have out and out fast bowlers like Wood and Archer who will be a handful in Australia, swing/seam bowlers Woakes and Curran in home conditions and places like South Africa. Then for the sub continent where we are scheduled to play next we have the likes of Ali, Rashid, Leach and Bess to bowl spin. The latter has been our first choice pick this summer but for me he hasn’t done enough to earn that accolade, however he does have a bright future.
This England test team is much changed from the one that drew last summer’s Ashes series. I think the current squad would have beaten that Australian team and have a good chance of winning down under in eighteen months’ time. I also see a team developing that will be a match for anyone and could rise to number one in the world once more.
But coming up is some more white ball pyjama stuff...