What did we learn from the West Indies series? Will England roll over Pakistan? And how’s the team looking ahead of next year’s Ashes? Sportsmail columnists Nasser Hussain and David Lloyd answer the big questions
- England reclaimed the Wisden Trophy after beating West Indies in Manchester
- They lost the first Test but came back to win the final two matches of the series
- Joe Root’s men now face Pakistan in another three-match Test series at home
- There is also already focus on next year’s Ashes series against Australia
- David Lloyd and Nasser Hussain run you over the hot topics of debate right now
The matches keep coming thick and fast for Joe Root and England’s Test side after their 2-1 victory against West Indies.
After falling to Jason Holder’s men in Southampton, the hosts went on to reclaim the Wisden Trophy after winning both matches at Old Trafford, where they will also face Pakistan in another three-match series beginning next Wednesday.
Here, Sportsmail columnists David Lloyd and Nasser Hussain answer the big questions about the previous and upcoming Test matches, while also looking ahead to the Ashes series next year.
Nasser Hussain and David Lloyd answer the big questions about Joe Root and his England side
Nasser Hussain: England are a very good Test side at home and if they get runs in their first innings they will be a challenge for any touring side. Leave Stuart Broad out at your peril — he and Jimmy Anderson are still at the top of their powers and Chris Woakes is still a hugely under-rated cricketer.
And don’t get smart with selection. England basically fudged a pick in the first Test between a bowler who didn’t deserve to be left out after South Africa in Mark Wood and one in Jofra Archer who deserved to play because of the rare talent he has. So they left out Broad and that was a stupid decision, not a tough one.
David Lloyd: No 1, don’t leave Stuart Broad out! I thought this was a pretty strong series performance from England. It’s clear Joe Root and Chris Silverwood want real stability at the top of the innings but I’d add the caveat that there will come a time when they have to change gear.
Good to see Jos Buttler looking more confident and assured. My niggle is once again England lost the first Test. But they are getting there with first-innings runs.
England learned they should not leave Stuart Broad out like they did at the Ageas Bowl
Will Pakistan be a step up from West Indies?
Bumble: Pakistan are always unpredictable and will have flair. I wouldn’t expect too much difference between them and West Indies. They may be short of runs as well against England in these conditions with a Dukes ball but England need to start strongly for once.
I never thought I’d say these words but perhaps England won’t need a spinner next week at Old Trafford. Dom Bess didn’t bowl at all in the third Test and only bowled 10 overs in the second innings of the second.
I expect Ben Stokes to be fit to bowl next week and it will come down to one place — do you play a spinner, the extra batsman in Zak Crawley or the left-arm variation in Sam Curran?
Nasser: It will be a very similar challenge. Pakistan have a slightly better batting line-up than West Indies with players experienced in England like Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam even though his white-ball record is better than his Test one.
Their bowling is dangerous if a little inexperienced and the difference could be that England are coming off the back of a three-Test series and Pakistan will have to be careful not to be caught cold.
Pakistan have a better batting line-up than West Indies including white-ball star Babar Azam
Did you understand England’s rotation policy — and can this attack take wickets in Australia?
Nasser: I don’t see what they were trying to do by leaving out Broad. He was dropped not rested. Yes, you have to have one eye on the future but you have to get the balance right. I would have two English-type seamers, whether that’s Broad and Anderson or one of them with Woakes, and in each Test pick one fire-gun in Wood or Archer.
Two fast-and-nasties in the first game made it seem as though England were already playing away from home. Spin is the big question. We have seen English fingers spinners destroyed in Australia. Do England stick with Dom Bess between now and the Ashes? Certainly the only real wrist-spin option in Matt Parkinson is a long way away.
Bumble: I understand the need for rest and rotation but, rest assured, Broad was not rested for the first Test. He hadn’t played for six months! The use of Jimmy Anderson was perfect and I’d expect him to play two out of the three against Pakistan.
We can go back to what Silverwood said before this game — we will play our strongest attack. So I reckon they will do the same next week at the same venue and could be unchanged.
England’s use of Jimmy Anderson was perfect and he could play two of the next three Tests
Is England’s batting good enough to take on Australia?
Bumble: I think they will be able to handle Australia’s pace attack but my concern, and this is probably not everyone’s concern, is a game-plan against Nathan Lyon. England cannot allow him to just keep bowling at them so Rory Burns and Dom Sibley have to find a way to score runs against spin, not aggressively but positively.
Find a big shot to get the field back. Burns has now been dismissed by Roston Chase goodness knows how many times and Sibley was absolutely becalmed against spin at Old Trafford.
Nasser: I’d like to see Dan Lawrence introduced pretty soon because he’s a good young player already with good memories of playing in Australia with the Lions.
I’d have two of Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley to open based on whoever takes their chance between now and the Ashes with Lawrence the long-term No3 and the line-up picks itself after that.
Sibley concerns me a little in the sub-continent this winter against India, if that tour goes ahead, and I’d favour Crawley for now against spin.
Essex’s Dan Lawrence should be introduced pretty soon because he’s a good young player
Who’ll be keeping wicket in the Ashes?
Nasser: Good question. I think it will be Jos Buttler. His keeping is improving and we saw what he can do with the bat in this last Test. He knows he has to keep getting scores and I’m still a fan of Jonny Bairstow.
They say Ben Foakes has an issue against the short ball which would be a problem in Australia. I don’t know that for sure but that’s the rumour.
Bumble: I’m very happy with Jos Buttler but I’d be equally happy with Jonny Bairstow. Jonny had a barren patch before he was dropped but his glovework has improved out of sight and he’s got six Test centuries.
He’s been messed around by England but Buttler at his best is a real threat and it’s obvious England want him in the team. They like what he can bring.
Jos Buttler appears to be the favourite but he knows he must keeping making runs with the bat
What’s your England team for the first Ashes Test in 18 month’s time?
Nasser: You’re going to have to give me a couple of either/ors because it’s so far away. Burns, Sibley (or Crawley), Lawrence, Root, Stokes, Pope, Buttler (or Bairstow) Bess (but with a question mark), Archer, Wood and Broad. I’d have Saqib Mahmood as one of the back-up bowlers but I think it’s a tour too far for Jimmy Anderson.
Bumble: We had a go at this on Sky on Tuesday and I had the casting vote as chairman! This is what we came up with: Burns, Crawley, Lawrence, Root, Stokes, Pope, Buttler, Rashid, Archer, Broad, Anderson.
We think Jimmy will still be going! Other lads who got a shout were Mark Wood and Olly Stone and a left-field suggestion is the left-armer Reece Topley. The only question with him is can he get fit?
Nasser would have Saqib Mahmood as a back-up but it will be a tour too far for Anderson
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