Trevor Bayliss admits England’s habit of batting collapses remains a “concern” as the Ashes loom ever nearer.
The England coach’s debrief after a 192-run win over a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide did not shy away from more evidence of familiar frailties.
Collapses have been an unhappy theme regularly revisited, occasionally even in victory – as was the case in the pink-ball trial match, which finished on Saturday.
England lost their last five first-innings wickets for 22 runs and then 7-45 – including 4-3 – at their second attempt.
They still had too much ammunition with the ball, against callow opponents they will face again in Townsville this week, and runs in the bank, too, thanks to opener Mark Stoneman’s back-to-back half-centuries and 50s from Dawid Malan, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.
Even so, with the first Test just 10 days away, Bayliss acknowledges an ongoing issue.
It’s been a concern for us for a little while. We have games like that, where we lose wickets like that. It’s not for want of trying. They realise they have got to do better, and they are working hard.England head coach, Trevor Bayliss
“It’s been a concern for us for a little while,” conceded the Australian.
“We have games like that, where we lose wickets like that. It’s not for want of trying. They realise they have got to do better, and they are working hard.”
He has an associated gripe, too, over England’s lack of individual hundreds.
In two matches, Stoneman has passed 50 in each of his three innings – and all the specialist batsmen, apart from record national run-scorer Alastair Cook, have done so at least once.
“It would be great if we could have some hundreds, that’s for sure,” said Bayliss, while also citing the more positive angle that those who set out for Australia with most questions to answer have so far made most of the runs.
“Our more inexperienced batters have actually spent some time in the middle.
“Before the series, they were the ones under pressure the most, because they don’t have a great deal of experience in Australian conditions.”
Still, three figures are what the coach wants to see against his batsmen’s names. “The number one thing for us is that 60s are not enough – we need 160s. That’s definitely what we will need throughout this Test series.”
Bayliss believes England are ready to do themselves justice at the Gabba despite the injuries which have disrupted plans.
Moeen Ali is expected to play in this week’s four-day match after recovering from the side strain that kept him out of the first two fixtures. Jake Ball, who strained his ankle ligament in Adelaide, misses out against CA, but will be available for the first Test.