Alastair Cook is one of the best opening batsmen in the history of the game. In terms of runs, no one has made more opening the batting in Tests. He has made superhuman insane crazy mad runs opening the batting, in foreign conditions, that have won series. And he has lasted in English cricket's most punishing schedule. Cook is a sweatless god at the top of the innings, one of the best ten openers in Test cricket history.
He has not been in great form himself over the last two years: he has scored the most runs by an opener in that time, but he has played way more Tests than most. He's averaging just short of 41, but of the 18 players with over 500 runs opening the batting in this period, he's middle of the road, and also down five from his normal career average.
It's unfair to compare Cook to his opening partners, who sweat and fail more than him. But if Cook has been out of form, then his opening partners haven't even been a gelatinous mass. They are without form of any kind.
Mark Stoneman is the latest to lose his spot; he's had 11 friends do the same.
Since Andrew Strauss, England have found no one who can open with Cook. This has meant that Cook has made 60% of the runs made by English opening batsmen in that time.
Alex Hales is second on the list with 6.3% of the runs.
It gets worse when you check milestones. Cook leads England openers in fifties, doubles them in hundreds, and - in Graham-Gooch speak - he's got six times the number of daddy hundreds.
Even if you look at the number of runs Cook makes per Test compared to the others, there's him, Joe Root's bizarre early career as an opener, and tumbleweeds.
The average opening partnership in world cricket since Strauss retired is 34.7; of Cook's 12 partnerships, only four are over that, despite having Cook at one end.
The partnership with Stoneman is the lowest average for an opening stand in England's history (minimum ten innings). In all these partnerships, there have been only ten 100-run stands, three of which came with Nick Compton. No one else has more than one.
In the six years that Cook and Strauss played together, England only had six openers (seven if you count the one innings Kevin Pietersen opened in) - the fewest among the top-eight-ranked teams. In the six years since, they have had 14, the second most behind Pakistan.
England are 8.5 runs down on their overall opening partnership since Strauss went. And that was with Strauss averaging 32 in his last 20 Tests.
Of the 12 partnerships, Cook has been the first dismissed the most with three of them: Carberry, Root and Stoneman.
It gets worse for the partners; they also score slower than Cook.
Hales was brought into the side to be another David Warner. He never made a hundred, and he scored slower than Cook.
And you might think England need to try another opener. Over the last three years, the No.1-averaging opener in county cricket is, well, you probably already know.
The No. 2 player is a now-retired Irish player, No. 3 is Ben Duckett, who has already been dropped, and his runs are from Division Two. As the first man on the call sheet, Duckett averages over 20 fewer than Cook.
It's incredible that England continue to have such poor opening partnerships with one of the greatest openers in Test history.
By the next Test, Cook will hold the record for the most consecutive Tests played. By the end of this summer he will probably have scored 2000 more runs than any opener. One of the few records Cook doesn't yet hold is the most opening partners: he has merely 15; Sunil Gavaskar holds the record with 19. There seems to be time enough in his career to break that record.
Good luck, Keaton Jennings. Again.
Jos Buttler was kept out of this analysis due to only opening in one innings, where he replaced Cook in a run chase
Additional statistical inputs by S Rajesh and Shiva Jayaraman