We don’t really buy into the concept of the dead rubber when it comes to Test matches. In a long one-day series, a situation can arise where bowlers are running in with a figurative cup of tea in one hand and a biscuit in the other (clasped awkwardly between two fingers so that they can still hold the ball), but a Test match is a thing in itself. With five days invested, surely players care a great deal about the outcome – it’s not like real work, after all.
The same goes for spectators. If we’re going to follow a sports match for pretty much a full working week then we don’t expect to watch B-teams. Our difficult relationship with squad rotation has been repeatedly documented on this site and its predecessor pretty much since the outset. The strategic implications intrigue us, but the fact that bowlers are disproportionately affected irritates us immensely.
There will be suggestions that England should rest bowlers for the fifth Test. This has merit, but at the same time, what would they be being rested for? An Ashes Test is the thing. You don’t rest people during the thing. You rest them so they can be there for the thing.
Pyjamas are for rest. It stands to reason.