Birmingham: Australia may have lost the third Ashes Test by eight wickets inside three days at Edgbaston on Friday, but England`s extraordinary inconsistency should give them hope of squaring the five-match series at Trent Bridge next week.
Since drawing their series opener against the West Indies at Antigua in April, England`s next seven Tests have seen them alternate between winning and losing.
England captain Alastair Cook`s team have been unable to string two Test wins together in 2015.
While they head across the Midlands 2-1 up in the Ashes, they do so knowing they will be without James Anderson, their all-time leading wicket-taker, after the Lancashire seamer was ruled out of the fourth Test at Trent Bridge with a side injury suffered at Edgbaston.
The one possible downside for Australia -- looking to win their first Ashes campaign in Britain for 14 years -- is that if the current trend is maintained, England will win the series 3-2.
No wonder that Cook told an Edgbaston news conference after Friday`s victory: "If the sequence carries on for nine (Tests), I`ll be happy."
England`s Test results in 2015 (start date, venue, opponent, result):
Apr 13, Antigua: v WIS, Drawn
Apr 21, Grenada: v WIS, Won 9 wkts
May 01, Barbados: v WIS, Lost 5 wkts
May 21, Lord`s: v NZL, Won 124 runs
May 29, Headingley: v NZL, Lost 199 runs
Jul 08, Cardiff: v AUS, Won 169 runs
Jul 16, Lord`s: v AUS, Lost 405 runs
Jul 29, Edgbaston: v AUS, Won 8 wkts