Well we don’t. I think its easy to forget (not that the English media needs any excuse – after all they’ve forgotten the 06/07 Ashes) that not that long ago the Ashes weren’t the be all and end all for Australian cricketers. Why would it be when they were thrashing the English every single time. In fact, I think a couple of players publicly declared that India were their main rivals.

Of course 2005 and the fact that Australia won changed that. It would be pretty easy to dismiss this series as the 3rd vs 5/6th best teams in the world except the Aussies beating South Africa undermined that line of argument. England could then be laying claim to 3rd place behind India and South Africa, except they lost to the West Indies.

Leaving aside the long term trends and the influence of T20, I think test cricket is in an interesting place right now. England could very well win this series which would then make England v South Africa in the winter really interesting. Meanwhile Pakistan ran Sri Lanka (no.4 in case you lost track) close and it isn’t implausible to suggest that they could run Australia close in December.

Now if only we could get some decent pitches.