Although this Test did not achieve the climax of the 1963 Test v West Indies at Lords nor v Australia at Trent Bridge in 2005 it shared with them a continuity of gripping excitement every day.
As at Headingly last year England chased down successfully a difficult total. At 117-5 this seemed improbable but I feel the case I argued for batting strength at 6/7/8 in the order and the selection of Chris Woakes was vindicated.
Traditionally England produce world class off spinners not leggies. Think of Jim Laker and Graeme Swann.
Even if they cannot spin the ball that much like Ashley Giles they are economic, not deadly. The Windies had no leggies in their attack and paid for it.
Leg spin, with its propensity to bamboozle particularly tail enders, is the forte of Pakistan: Qadir, Daneria, Mushtaq Ahmed and now another star in the green firmament, Yasir Shah who took 8 wickets in the match.
England seem fixated by their pace selection whilst there is scarcely one leggie of Test quality to choose.
Class is permanent, form temporary
Up to his match winning 77 . Jos Buttler had a difficult time as batter and an awful one behind the stumps. He is now back to form with the bat at just the time we needed it.
The England Spirit
Ben Stokes is an unlikely talisman but he has become the soul of the side. He extended commiseration to one and all in personal difficulty.
Perhaps his -to use an Aussie term – larrikin day are now behind him.
We live in an era of home Test advantage. Behind closed doors I thought this would no longer be a factor but England are just as likely to win these two series as to lose the next two in the sub continent and down under.
The media and selectors look to current and historic domestic form in selecting an overseas team, not the requirements of the destination e.g. hostile pace in Australia.