For Ravi Bopara, the possibilities are endless, but we know, as much as we can know anything in sport, that Graeme Swann and Graham Onions will not finish their international careers as greats of the game. Yesterday, though, they rose above the largely humdrum nature of this contest, Swann biffing his way merrily to his highest Test score, then sharing eight wickets with Onions, who picked up five on a debut that he will not forget in a hurry.
While Panesar appears to be stuck on a plateau, Swann just keeps soaring and there was no doubt which of the two spinners would start this summer. But even a 30-year-old with a perpetually rosy outlook on life might not have expect a chilly May day in London to go quite so well. Having hit a bright and breezy 63, he was given two overs with the new ball as captain Andrew Strauss explored a theory and then held a couple of fine slip catches after doing sizeable damage during his second spell. Panesar, famously, has been accused by Shane Warne of playing the same Test 30-odd times, the allegation being that he has not learned a lot along the way. Whatever the future – and, especially, this summer's Ashes series – holds for Swann it is unlikely he will be accused by anyone of being predictable.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo