Bayliss defiant as England problems persist

- Agence France-Presse, LONDON

Sep 12, 2017-

England coach Trevor Bayliss has insisted his side won’t be heading Down Under to “make up the numbers” when their Ashes defence in Australia begins in November.

And following England’s nine-wicket win over West Indies at Lord’s on Saturday, which saw them end their home Test season with a 2-1 series victory, Bayliss said his native Australia’s lineup was “far from stable”. England, however, started this season with major doubts over positions No 2, 3 and 5 in their batting order and those problems remain as they consider the composition of their Ashes squad.

A strong middle-order featuring Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali may continue to bail England out of run-scoring trouble but that could prove wishful thinking in Australia. Alastair Cook has had 12 different opening partners since former England captain Andrew Strauss retired in 2012. Mark Stoneman, the man currently alongside Cook, averages 30 in Test cricket and he is likely to be walking out to bat with the former captain in the Ashes series opener at Brisbane.

England could go back to Haseeb Hameed who made his debut in India last year and averaged 43 in six innings before injury ruled him out of the rest of the tour. The 20-year-old did not play a Test this season after a poor start to the domestic county campaign but Hameed has yet to fail at Test level.

Westley’s 44 not out in pursuit of a victory target of just 107 on Saturday may not have been enough to secure his Ashes spot after a run of five single-figure scores. Dawid Malan made two fifties against West Indies and showed a willingness to graft his way out of trouble.

“That’s the big question. Whether the three guys we have been speaking about all summer (Stoneman, Westley and Malan) have done enough,” said Bayliss. “I am sure they would have loved as much as we would for them to come out and make a couple of hundreds and then there’s nothing to talk about. They have shown that they are good enough, but are they good enough for long enough--are they tough enough especially for an Ashes series?”

One solution to the issue of No 3, would be to promote England captain Joe Root from his berth at four. “Joe is comfortable batting at four,” said Bayliss. 

Published: 12-09-2017 08:41

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