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England learn nothing from thrashing soft West Indies

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#PoliteEnquiries: Was England's day-night Test a success? (3:58)

Jarrod Kimber and George Dobell answer your questions after England's dominant victory over West Indies at Edgbaston. (3:58)

It tells you much about the current state of world cricket that Edgbaston had only budgeted for a three-day Test.

Little was expected of West Indies but they disappointed nevertheless. And just as David Gower joked that West Indies would be "quaking in their boots" ahead of the 1985-86 tour following his side's success in the Ashes, so it seems fair to suggest few in Australia gulped, crossed themselves and whispered prayers when they saw the scorecard from Birmingham.

Before reaching conclusions over West Indies' future it is worth remembering a few things. It is not so long since England succumbed to whitewash defeats in Australia (2006-7 and 2013-14), the UAE (2012), India (1992-93) and West Indies (1984, 1985-86). West Indies won the previous Test between these sides - in Barbados in May 2015 - and this series remains live. It is probably sensible to postpone the firmest of judgements.

This was, however, a desperately lame performance from West Indies. Arguably not since an inexperienced Bangladesh team were brushed aside in 2005 - England lost only six wickets in the entire series; winning both Tests by an innings - has such weak opposition played in a Test series in England. The difference is that Bangladesh side was at the start of its journey in Test cricket; this West Indies side has no such excuse and no such hope for the future.

Coming on the heels of a series of other one-sided encounters - there have been more than a dozen series (of three matches or more) whitewashes this decade alone including the recently-concluded thrashing of Sri Lanka by India - it is a reminder that it will take more than a pink ball and some floodlights to save Test cricket. Such novelties worked in encouraging record crowds to Edgbaston over recent days (the ground has never seen a higher single day attendance for a non-Ashes Test than it did on the second day) but once that wears off, it will become tough to retain the numbers in the grounds or the numbers watching on television.

The solution? If players are well compensated for their work - at least as well compensated as they are for their appearances in T20 leagues - and if greater context can be added to such games (ideally the introduction of promotion and relegation in Test cricket) the format can be saved. But the water is rising fast now and, with more players from South Africa and West Indies exploring their options away from international cricket the situation will, if not confronted, only worsen.

All of which renders it hard to gauge what progress England have made. In winning three Tests in succession for the first time since 2014 (when they defeated India), they demonstrated admirable ruthlessness. They also gained some experience of pink-ball cricket, albeit with a different ball to that to be used in Adelaide, and the confidence gained from such performances may prove beneficial. They will know, though, that far tougher challenges lie ahead.

Root made a point, after the match, of praising his "record breakers." In Alastair Cook, England's leading Test run-scorer, James Anderson, England's leading Test wicket-taker and Stuart Broad, who overtook Ian Botham to move into second place in the list of England's greatest Test wicket-takers, he has an extraordinary bank of experience in his dressing room. Add to that the all-round depth offered by Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali and he has the basis of what could be an excellent team.

Anderson may have lost a little pace but he has compensated with exemplary control this summer. He has hardly bowled a poor delivery and, after five Tests, almost a third of the overs he has bowled (47 out of 147) have been maidens. His economy rate - 2.22 runs per over - and average - 13.12 - in that period are not too shabby, either. It is also hugely encouraging that he has managed five successive Tests without fitness issues. Trevor Bayliss suggested he would have his head bitten off if he suggested either Anderson or Broad be rotated out of the team ahead of the next two games. Besides, Chris Woakes - while in the 13-man squad for the second Test - may well find himself playing another Championship match next weekend as he seeks a return to Test levels of fitness and consistency.

But we knew Anderson and Broad were fine bowlers before this match. And we knew Cook and Root were fine batsmen. None of them taught us anything new by bullying a soft West Indies team.

What Root didn't learn was the readiness of Mark Stoneman for Test cricket, the ability of Tom Westley to add substance to his obvious style or whether Dawid Malan can cut it as a Test match batsman. It was Stoneman's ill-fortune to receive perhaps the best delivery of the match, while Westley (who looks so like John Crawley you half expect his hair to fall out and then have a ferocious disagreement with Lancashire) may have to play straighter if he is to sustain a career at this level. Malan survived some nervous moments early on to register his first half-century in Tests, but may yet come to regret not compiling the sort of score that makes an irrefutable case for his retention. All three will have another chance at Headingley.

That, in itself, is an issue. There are now only two Tests left until the Ashes start. If Stoneman and co. are unable to find their feet in those next two games, it leaves England with no chance of blooding anyone new before Australia. There's no time for a Plan B now.

In time, though, you suspect England may omit one of the specialist batsmen, shuffle their talented middle-order up a space each and bring in both Chris Woakes - who is a more than capable batsman - at No. 8 and find room for a second spinner.

Yes, that would leave England with six bowlers and yes, that would be harsh of Toby Roland-Jones who has had a terrific start to his Test career. But with three of those bowlers more than decent allrounders - Woakes, Stokes and Moeen - it would not much weaken the batting and would mean the burden on the bowlers could be lessened a little. On tough days in Australia and with a couple of those bowlers carrying a few miles in their legs, that would be no bad thing. It's not as if that extra batsman has contributed a great deal, anyway.

The test for England now is to retain the intensity they have shown since The Oval for the rest of what promises to be a mis-match of a series. While they do not have a great record in such situations, the level of hunger palpable in Root does appear to have instilled a new edge in the side. And, if the newer players in the side can settle and gain some confidence, it may yet prove a valuable experience.