But there’s a fair distance between ‘bad’ and ‘good’. Even further between ‘bad’ and ‘the best’. England are in that grey netherland now and no-one really cares about shades of grey when you’ve arrived there from somewhere altogether brighter.
England’s batting was a lighter shade of grey in the second innings (if lighter is better), but it still hasn’t reached old sports sock grey and that’s what we consider the pass mark in Test cricket. It doesn’t take too much analysis to see where England are losing their matches. That’s four losses in a row now despite bowlers who could barely have performed better. There’s room for deterioration as well as improvement.
For many years, England’s bowling lacked adaptability. That has been rectified, but batting one-dimensionality seems to have crept in while everyone was busy mastering reverse swing. You push down one air bubble and another pops up.
The constant, frantic air-bubble-push-downery makes Test cricket unconquerable and that’s what provides the unparalleled intrigue. No shades of grey: Test cricket is fully ace.