Although it came to a limp end, England’s Test series victory against South Africa was outstanding.

It came about because they have the Big Five who are the spine of the team: Alistair Cook, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad and James Anderson - almost a team in itself.

They are a reassuring, constant presence that allow other handy players – such as Steven Finn, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali, for example – to relax and put in useful contributions, meaning that the team does not totally rely on their stars.

In fact, neither Cook nor Anderson contributed much until the series was already won.

It is ironic that South Africa had both the leading run-scorer in the series in Hashim Amla and the leading wicket-taker in Kagiso Rabada yet still lost the rubber.

The reason is that England had more depth of talent and were mentally tougher.

Over the last few years, England have perfected the art of winning key sessions of matches and series.

They excel at staying in games during what you could call ‘hang time’, where they do not dominate but never completely lose control and simply wait for their moment to pounce.

It is a deliberate psychological technique.

By not being at full-throttle all the time it avoids burdening players with too much endless pressure, allowing them to relax until the critical moment when the time is right to step up the intensity.

It is a method that defines Stuart Broad’s career and how he has become the No. 1 ranked bowler in the world.

This ‘hang time’ – something that many individual sportsmen like golfers and tennis players also employ in order to not peak too early – is, however, also the reason that England tend to lose the last game of series that they have already clinched.

The intensity of those big moments – that extra five per cent that sportsmen are always seeking – does not materialise in dead matches because, ultimately, the result doesn’t matter anymore.

They are subconsciously going through the motions, no matter how hard they try not to.  

This is the DRS – Dead Rubber Syndrome – that they have been guilty of, and until more tangible importance is placed on every single Test match by the ICC then they will continue to suffer from it.

Looking ahead, Test-wise, none of Alex Hales, Nick Compton or James Taylor properly established themselves.

Given that England will face a fair amount of spin over the next 12 months, Taylor – who averaged 26 in the series and plays in the one-day side – will probably remain

Hales averaged 17 and did not look convincing. He does not have enough patience or precise judgment of what to play and what to leave against decent new-ball bowlers.

But there is a shortage of obvious alternatives and he will have the one-day series to rediscover his batting rhythm.

Compton is a concern.

He seems too jerky at the crease – static as the ball is released and then rushed into position on its way down – and just can’t quite seem to find the right tempo for Test cricket.

He did average 30 in the series, but looks to have limited potential.

His place will come under pressure from Gary Ballance, James Vince and, dare one say it, Ian Bell.

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READ: Simon Hughes: England's Dead Rubber Syndrome is hurting them