So where are we? No-one knows – which is the way it should be.
What we do know is that England could have had one, two and, in theory, three more wickets if they’d caught better. We also know that England’s batting looks lighter than Michael Rasmussen.
Stop going on about Michael Rasmussen all the time
You could probably infer something from the fact that we’ve made two Rasmussen references in one week. Thin bowling and light batting doesn’t amount to a particularly strong squad. It’s indirectly led to a situation where England have mimicked their not-entirely-successful team selection from August, where a nominal all-rounder gets a game because they want to play a second spinner.
Monty’s a bit more reliable than Simon Kerrigan proved to be, but what of Ben Stokes? All-rounders are bloody handy, but we always worry that almost-good-enough bowling and almost-good-enough batting does not actually equate to ‘good enough for Test cricket’.
The counter-argument would be that if an almost-good-enough batsman’s going to get runs anywhere, it’s more likely to be on the kind of pitch where you deem it necessary to play five bowlers. It’s also given rise to a nicely varied bowling attack.
But this series doesn’t appear to hinge on the bowling attacks.
We’re venturing into back-to-back territory, so it’s instructive to look at how the main bowlers are holding up. Stuart Broad seems fine. Jimmy Anderson seemed down on pace. Then again, with Anderson you never know whether it’s fatigue, injury or simply a decision to ration his glycogen. He is someone who reins it in a bit when he doesn’t feel there’s much to be gained from self-floggery.