Well, 2-1 is a lot better than 3-0. So they say, anyway. England managed to turn up for long enough to win the Third Test against the Windies in St Lucia.
The Test series defeat has certainly raised more questions and if England feel that they’ve now stumbled across a ‘winning formula’ because they managed to stick it to their captainless opponents in a dead rubber, then they need to have an even longer look at themselves.
Joe Root and the selectors put all the names in the hat once again and this time all three openers were lucky enough to get drawn out. Meaning Keaton Jennings returned and Joe Denly dropped down to three. Denly got a few runs. Jennings didn’t. And neither did Rory Burns who, until Joe Root got a ton in this match, had the top English score with his 80-odd earlier in the series.
The problem is, Burns averages about the same as everyone else we have tried over the last goodness knows how many series. In his six or so Test matches, Burns averages 25. That’s not enough. Therefore how long should he get for that number to go up or, more likely, down?
Yet, he is still to be considered the best of a bad bunch in terms of proper opening batsman options. Unless we are to go completely maverick in the Ashes and throw in Alex Hales and Jason Roy, Burns will play against Australia.
The worrying thing is, Keaton Jennings still might as well. And I am not convinced about Joe Denly, even if he made a few this time out.
Roy, interestingly, rocked up and smacked a ton in an ODI warm up match on Sunday. An England opener hitting 100. What a novelty.
What else did we learn about the England bats? Oh, look. Jonny Bairstow is best at number seven. Not three. Or five. Or six. And definitely, don’t make him another opening option. If we have to pick him, just give him the gloves and the slot at seven and worry about the rest of the line-up, please.
Yes, it is harsh on Ben Foakes who is the better keeper but that’s Test cricket. At least England know they have a class option if Bairstow fails to score.
Bowling wise, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson did what they do when the conditions are favourable. And everyone can now get very excited, again, by Mark Wood and his extreme pace. Wood wanged down balls in and around 95 mph and his first innings spell could be what changes the course of his career.
If, and it is a big if, he can stay fit and some tracks are favourable in the summer, he could have a major impact on where the Ashes end up.
Just in case England felt they were having a great Test match, the subject of their catching came up once again. Jos Buttler, an immensely talented cricketer, clearly needs the gloves on to be able to hold anything. Buttler dropped a couple in quick succession. Before being sent down to third man as punishment. He seemed almost grateful.
The ODIs get underway this week and hopefully, by the end of them, we will still all believe that England can win the World Cup.