With the intra-squad warm-up match at the Ageas Bowl complete, the focus will now shift to the main event – the first Test on the same ground on Wednesday.
However, there is a fair amount to ponder on from three days of very competitive cricket between Team Stokes and Team Buttler.
With that in mind, we’ve outlined five takeaways from England’s three-day intra-squad friendly…
The selectors have some tough decisions on their hands
On the back of some strong performances over the last three days, England have some selection headaches heading into the first Test.
Such has been the quality of displays across the board that you don’t feel too many of the questions over selection have been answered.
It is, without a doubt, a good place to be but it won’t make those decisions any easier for the selectors.
The new boys can bat
There were some hugely impressive performances from some of England’s uncapped batsmen.
Gloucestershire’s James Bracey (pictured), a surprise inclusion to some, opened for Team Buttler and made an excellent 85 on day one, while the highly-regarded Dan Lawrence produced some fantastic strokes in his 58 in the same innings.
If the selectors do opt for a new face in the place of Rooty for the first Test, they won’t be short of talented options.
England are spoilt for choice in terms of quicks
One thing we certainly saw during the Team Stokes v Team Buttler clash was that not only are England’s fast bowling options fit, they’re firing to go.
The likes of Mark Wood, Jofra Archer, and Saqib Mahmood looked seriously quick, while there were notable performances from fresh faces like Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson (pictured), who took 9-2 in seven overs.
Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson all reminded us of their quality. You feel England are spoilt for choice in the seam department ahead of the first Test.
Picking a spinner won’t be easy
England may have been hoping that one spinner would outperform the rest during the warm-up game but all four turned up at the Ageas Bowl.
Somerset duo Dom Bess and Jack Leach led in terms of wickets with three each but Moeen Ali and Matt Parkinson also proved their quality both grabbing two.
Stokes is going to captain as he plays – on the front foot
With England’s magic man set to take the captaincy in Rooty’s absence, the warm-up match was always going to offer an interesting glimpse into what we should expect from him next week.
What it showed was that he will captain the side in the same way as he plays the game, on the front foot.
His decision to send out Jonny Bairstow in place of Keaton Jennings at the top of the order in an attempt to win the game late on day three was a perfect example of that
Stokesy’s first foray into captaincy in Test cricket is just one of many exciting things about next Wednesday…