England beat India, but hosts still have issues to address – Jonathan Agnew
England have an unassailable 3-1 lead over India, but the series has been closer than that.
There have been some tight games and India will feel like they have missed opportunities.
Even the fourth day in Southampton, when England eventually earned the win that sealed the series, was nip and tuck. For a while it looked like India captain Virat Kohli might lead his team to a remarkable win.
Instead, India missed out, just as they did in the first Test at Edgbaston.
On both occasions, they could not finish off England. Sam Curran has to take a lot of credit for dragging the home side through on both occasions.
What has made it such a tight and interesting series is that the batsmen have never really felt ‘in’. It has been a tough series to be a top-order batsman because they have been up against classy bowlers in conditions that have often suited the pace bowlers.
We have talked about the collapses, particularly in relation to England and, for that reason, the cricket has not been perfect. Still, when runs have to be worked for, it makes for a much more interesting game.
Do we know much about this England side that we did not know at the beginning of the summer? Not really, other than they still have a number of issues to address.
They collapsed frequently, including being bowled out in a session at Trent Bridge. The batting order has undergone some frequent tinkering and they have dropped too many catches.
In short, they are what we already knew them to be: a very good side at home, but still a long way from challenging for away wins.
It is odd that England have beaten the world number one side despite having so many holes, but it is to their credit that they have done so.