England are definately 2nd best in Test cricket. I am not talking about TEST CRICKET ONLY, so don't reply stating about what has happened in ODI, because I am talking about England's strength in TEST Cricket only. I am not talking about ODI so replying stating how good England is in ODI will be invalid as it won't have any relevance to the point I am making.
Here is why England is 2nd best in Test cricket.
-England has won a Test match in Australia everytime England has toured Australia in 1994, 1998 and 2003 and England are the only team who has won 3 Test matches in Australia in the last 10 years, in fact no other team has won a Test match in Australia since 1996 when the West Indies won a Test match. Australia are the best in Test cricket and have been for many years, therefore the fact England are the only team who can win a Test match in Australia makes England the next best team in Test cricket.
-England has won a Test series in Pakistan in 2000, the only other teams to do this are Australia and South Africa.
-England has won a Test series in Sri Lanka in 2001, and this is something not many Test playing nations have done if any at all.
-England drew a Test series in New Zealand in 2002 against the very same New Zealand team who drew a Test series in Australia a few months earlier, which shows just how strong this England team is.
-England won a Test series in 1999 at home against South Africa against the best team South Africa has fielded since their re-entry into world cricket. England host South Africa in a Test series this month and England has already shown dominance in the ODI Natwest Series and ODI is not England's strong suit and England is fielding a young ODI team and if South Africa's Test team resembles their ODI team and therefore England shall be far too strong for South Africa at home. England will win the Test series against South Africa this year.
-England won a Test series in 2000 at home against West Indies.
-England won a Test series at home in 2003 against Zimbabwe and comprehensively won each Test via an innings.
-England managed to win a Test match in South Africa last time they toured the African continent in 1999 which is something only Australia and New Zealand have achieved and New Zealand lost more matches than England did in the 1999 tour of Africa.
-England won a Test series at home against Sri Lanka in 2002.
Therefore it is quite understandable to see that England are 2nd best in Test cricket.
Now let's compare England to other nations.
India have not won a Test series outside of India in over 17 years, and were comprehensively destroyed in New Zealand, and Australia in a fashion that was nothing short of embarassing.
Pakistan have been destroyed by Australia on numerous occasions, and were destroyed in South Africa prior to the world cup.
Sri Lanka has never been a force in Test cricket, their results prove this.