Secure victory in the final Test of the series against Pakistan, which would earn a 3-1 scoreline, and England will hold up their end of the bargain in the pursuit of the world’s top spot.
Should the West Indies, who are currently playing India at home, manage to avoid defeat in either of the last two Tests of that series too, then Alastair Cook’s side will be the number one-ranked team in the world.
Such an achievement would arrive ahead of schedule for a young and developing Three Lions outfit and their skipper remains certain his charges still have plenty to learn.
Weaknesses rear their head from time to time, whether they come in the form of rash shots like the ones seen at Lord’s or sloppy standards in the field.
However, it’s a wider trait of taking their foot off the pedal in a series that puts both a triumph over Pakistan and their ambition of reaching the game’s summit at risk.
In each of the last six Test series, England have failed to win their final match. That’s a trend which stretches back to the tour of the West Indies in April last year.
Three separate coaches have been in charge during that time, indicating that the problem is one borne out of the squad’s overall lack of experience rather than a complete culture issue.
Beginning in the Caribbean during Peter Moores’ last series of his second stint as coach, the dilemma has continued through Paul Farbrace’s interim tenure against New Zealand and each of Trevor Bayliss’ four series since taking the reins for the Ashes.
It all makes 4/1 about a Pakistan victory at the Oval worth a dabble, while 11/8 in the double chance market should also appeal to the tourists’ fans.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.