Bayliss be­lieves Root is an­swer to Eng­land’s search for No 3 berth

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - CRICKET - DAVID CLOUGH AT LORD’S ■ Email: yp.sport@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @york­shire­post

ENG­LAND coach Trevor Bayliss be­lieves the na­tional side already have an an­swer in their search for a player to fill the prob­lem­atic No 3 spot.

Ashes places are still up for grabs with a new gen­er­a­tion of top-or­der bats­men yet to nail down their places.

Mark Stone­man, Tom West­ley and Dawid Malan played their part in the se­ries vic­tory over the West Indies, which was clinched by a nine-wicket win in­side three days at Lord’s on Satur­day, but Alex Hales, Keaton Jen­nings, Haseeb Hameed and Gary Bal­lance are also in con­tention.

The search for a long-term part­ner for opener Cook as well as num­bers three and five re­main pri­or­i­ties, but Bayliss is con­vinced the right can­di­date for at least one of those po­si­tions is already firmly on board in the shape of skip­per Joe Root.

He said: “I would al­ways have him at three. Joe is com­fort­able bat­ting at four ... [but] I think he will end up at three at some stage in the fu­ture. He is by far our best player, and per­son­ally I be­lieve that is where your best player should be.”

Eng­land will head Down Un­der on the back of home se­ries vic­to­ries over South Africa and the Windies, and de­ter­mined to re­turn with the urn still in their pos­ses­sion de­spite hav­ing is­sues to address.

Bayliss said: “We are not go­ing over to make up the num­bers. We are go­ing to leave here with a view to win, sim­ple as that.

“One thing this group has got is plenty of fight and char­ac­ter. As I have said a few times, we have lost games and been dis­ap­pointed, but we have been able to come out the next game and win.”

If Root’s men are to pros­per in Aus­tralia, they will need to hang on to their catches, some­thing they at times failed spec­tac­u­larly to do dur­ing the most re­cent se­ries when 14 went down in three matches.

Bayliss said: “We are not go­ing to go there and win any­thing drop­ping that many. It al­ways con­cerns me – the catch­ing has been ter­ri­ble, es­pe­cially in the last cou­ple of Tests.

“It is not from a lack of prac­tice. We were catch­ing quite well up until the last three Tests, and some of the catches we dropped were quite easy. Drop­ping easy catches is usu­ally down to con­cen­tra­tion. Some of the grounds in this last se­ries haven’t been the greatest view­ing grounds, but still they are professional play­ers and should be grab­bing hold of some of those they’ve dropped.”

Mean­while, Bayliss re­vealed a full-time re­place­ment for bowl­ing coach Ot­tis Gib­son may not be in place until next sum­mer as Eng­land run the rule over a se­ries of po­ten­tial can­di­dates.

On Satur­day’s de­feat, West Indies skip­per Ja­son Holder said: “It is not over­all dis­ap­point­ment” and in­sists West Indies “have got the best of the lot right now” in their team, de­spite the re­ported pos­si­bil­ity that a clutch of fa­mous play­ers such as Chris Gayle may soon be ready to re­turn in Test cricket as well as for lim­ite­dovers cam­paigns.

“I think we’ve got a lot to be proud of,” he added.

“Credit must go to our bowlers ... and ob­vi­ously Shai (Hope) was out­stand­ing in this en­tire se­ries, and Kraigg [Brath­waite] did a hell of a job too – es­pe­cially at Head­in­g­ley.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we didn’t get more bats­men to carry on. Lots got starts ... and we let our­selves down by drop­ping quite a few chances and giv­ing good play­ers two opportunities to bat.

“In in­ter­na­tional cricket, they’ll make you pay for that.

“We’ve still got a lot of room for im­prove­ment. But I’m ex­tremely proud, and can’t fault the guys for their ef­fort.”

Lan­cashire’s James An­der­son has leapt to the top spot in the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Council Test bowl­ing rank­ings af­ter a scin­til­lat­ing dis­play in the nine-wicket win over West Indies at Lord’s.

An­der­son de­liv­ered a swing bowl­ing master­class as he recorded ca­reer-best fig­ures of 7-42 – which in­cluded his 500th Test scalp – to steer Eng­land to­wards vic­tory in the In­vestec se­ries de­cider.

The 35-year-old’s nine-wicket match haul sees him leapfrog In­dia left-arm spin­ner Ravin­dra Jadeja to re­claim the num­ber one spot he last held in Au­gust last year.

He is now the old­est bowler to go to the rank­ings sum­mit since Sri Lanka spin­ner Mut­tiah Mu­ralitha­ran in July 2009, cap­ping a mem­o­rable sum­mer for the Lan­cas­trian, who has taken 39 wick­ets in seven Tests at an as­ton­ish­ing av­er­age of 14.1.

Ben Stokes moved up to 20th and 21st in the bat­ting and bowl­ing rank­ings re­spec­tively af­ter a fine all-round dis­play in the first in­nings at HQ, fol­low­ing up a six-wicket haul with an im­por­tant half-cen­tury in a low scor­ing game.

Eng­land’s 2-1 win over the Windies keeps them third in the Test stand­ings, be­hind In­dia and South Africa.

I think he will end up at three at some stage in the fu­ture. Trevor Bayliss, be­lieves Joe Root should bat at No 3 for Eng­land.

PIC­TURE: ADAM DAVY/PA

AUS­TRALIA- BOUND?: Eng­land’s Tom West­ley hits four runs dur­ing his in­nings to help beat the West Indies in the Third In­vestec Test match at Lord’s, London. Eng­land se­le­cotrs must now de­cide which bats­men have done enough to se­cure their place in the Ashes squad this win­ter.

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