The Ashes – Trevor Bayliss happy with England’s bowling options to take on Australia

ENGLAND COACH Trevor Bayliss insists pace bowler Jofra Archer would not be risked “unnecessarily” for the first Ashes Test – believing the hosts have the strength in depth to cope in his absence.

England's Jofra Archer. Picture: Tim Goode/PA
England's Jofra Archer. Picture: Tim Goode/PA

England begin their Ashes preparations with an optional training session today at Edgbaston, where the fitness of paceman Archer will be assessed following the side strain he suffered during the victorious World Cup campaign.

“We don’t want to necessarily risk him,” Bayliss added. “He played for Sussex in a T20 match and came through that well.

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“Test match cricket, five days, longer spells is a little bit of a different beast so we’ll have to see where he’s at and take a little bit from the medical people as well.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS: England head coach Trevor Bayliss (left) with national team selector Ed Smith. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

“We have to weigh up do you pick him for the first one, it’s a bit early, he gets injured and then is unavailable for selection.

“We’ve got a good strong group of bowlers who we think can do the job over the five Tests.”

Archer missed last week’s historic Lord’s Test against Ireland, with Bayliss admitting he had a “fairly stern chat” with England’s players after they rallied to avoid an embarrassing defeat.

England were bowled out for 85 in the first session of their inaugural match against Ireland at Lord’s but eventually won by 143 runs after dismissing the visitors for just 38 in their second innings, thanks to an impressive display of bowling from Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes.

England head coach Trevor Bayliss. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA

Nightwatchman Jack Leach was England’s top-scorer with 92 and although he was left out of the 14-man Ashes squad, Bayliss praised the left-arm spinner’s approach.

“We had a fairly stern chat after the game,” said Bayliss in a radio interview.

“It’s good to be able to deliver those messages when you have actually won a game.

“I thought the example Jack Leach showed was the example a lot of the other batters need to learn from. He was very focused on what he wanted to do and was very clear in his own mind how he was going to go about it.

“We speak about that a lot, having a plan for any situation you find yourself in and being clear with your thoughts, don’t try and just bluff your way through it.”

Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood, meanwhile, has cranked up the pressure on Jason Roy ahead of Thursday’s opener reminding the England batsman about the perils of transferring his one-day mindset to the Test arena.

Roy’s credentials in white-ball cricket are unquestioned, with his fearless, aggressive style crucial in his side’s triumphant World Cup campaign but his ability to repeat that success in the five-day format is not yet certain.

England selectors were clearly cautious, picking the 29-year-old for 84 ODIs before sending him out in whites for the first time against Ireland last week.

Debuting as an opener, he made just five in the first innings before striking 72 from No 3 in the second, nightwatchman Jack Leach having seen off the new ball.

Hazlewood is one of the touring seamers lining up for the chance to examine Roy’s technique, starting at Edgbaston and believes Australia one-day captain Aaron Finch’s experiences should provide a warning to Roy.

Finch is a limited-overs star at the top of the order but was dropped from the longer format last year after making just 278 runs in 10 innings.

“We’ll see how Roy goes in Test cricket. He’s has only played one Test match and it’s a lot different opening the batting in a Test than a one-day game, that’s for sure,” said Hazlewood.

“In England, opening is probably the toughest place to bat which probably made Alastair Cook’s record all the better. To play attacking cricket in those conditions is tough.

“Aaron Finch found it tough last summer against a quality India attack on wickets that didn’t do too much to be honest.

“I think he found it a big step up to be honest. He found the ball swung and seamed around and the wickets were a lot different to a one-day wicket.

“He’d played a lot of his four-day cricket at five or six and I think Roy is the same at Surrey. It’s hard to bat five at a level below and then open in Test cricket. We’ll see.”

Hazlewood watched with interest as Ireland dismissed England for just 85 in the first innings at Lord’s, but is aware that the total can increase just as frantically as the wickets column where Joe Root’s side are concerned.

“Yeah, I watched a little bit – I always love seeing wickets instead of runs,” he said. “They do play a few shots, yeah. Things can move pretty quickly one way or the other. If you’re not on your game the runs can pile on and vice-versa.”