England v South Africa: Trevor Bayliss says win does not ‘paper over the cracks’

England coach Trevor Bayliss says the series win over South Africa does not “paper over the cracks” in his team.

They ended a run of three series without a win, but have not established batsmen to fill positions of opener, number three and number five.

“It’s no secret that we’re still looking for guys to put their hands up,” said Bayliss after the 3-1 win.

“There are spots that haven’t been cemented and it’s up to guys to prove their worth at this level.”

Keaton Jennings, the 11th different opening partner for Alastair Cook since 2012, averaged only 15 in the series and seems most under-threat for the first Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston next week.

However, Bayliss said that the Durham left-hander could still be part of the squad that tour Australia in defence of the Ashes this winter.

“Whether he plays or not against West Indies, he still has a big chance of going to Australia because we will probably take three openers,” said Australian Bayliss on Test Match Special.

“That has him in the running for that tour.”

Gary Ballance began the series at number three, making 85 runs in four innings before suffering a broken finger.

His replacement, Tom Westley, made a half-century on debut in the third Test and averaged 30.

Dawid Malan, given two Tests at number five, registered scores of 1, 10, 18 and 6.

Asked if England were any closer to solving their batting problems, Bayliss replied: “To be honest, no.

“These guys know they have things to work on and so are working incredibly hard.

“Hopefully it’s not before too long we see some big scores from them.”

In defence of his team-mates, captain Joe Root said that conditions throughout the series made top-order batting difficult.

“We’ve generally batted first on wickets that have done a lot for the bowlers. On those occasions 20s and 30s can be worth double,” he said.

“We have three Tests before we go to Australia and there is an opportunity for whoever gets to play.”

For Root, the series win comes in his first in charge, and is also England’s first at home against South Africa since 1998.

It lifts them to third in the International Cricket Council Test rankings, above Australia.

“It’s a start of something,” he said. “If we want to be more consistent and challenge the best teams in the world, then we must develop individually and as a side.

“As long as we can harness the mentality that we have had, especially at the back end of this series, it should stand us in good stead for the future.”


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