Trevor Bayliss has admitted England were “nowhere near good enough for Test level” in subsiding to a nine-wicket defeat against Pakistan at Lord’s.
Bayliss, the England coach, accepted that progress “was taking longer than we would have liked” after England’s sixth defeat in eight Tests (the other two have been drawn) and third defeat in four at Lord’s and questioned whether playing in the County Championship at this time of year provided any benefit for aspiring batsmen.
And, while he reiterated his desire to see out his contract as coach in all formats of the game, Bayliss shrugged off the prospect of being sacked from the Test role by saying he was “looking forward to a bit more time gardening” if the axe should fall.
He was particularly scathing of England’s batting, accepting that their failures at Lord’s were far from unique and suggesting they needed to take “a good, hard look at themselves.” And he defended Joe Root‘s decision not to insert Pakistan on a green, first-day surface by stating that, had England batted better, the tactic might have been justified.
“It’s very disappointing,” Bayliss told Sky Sports. “Especially from a batting point of view. It was nowhere near good enough for Test level. Pakistan bowled well but we have to be better.
“To be bowled out for 180 and 240 is simply not good enough. Usually when we lose one or two quick wickets, it usually follows with another two or three so that’s something we have sit down – we’ve done it in the past which may make things worse – and continue to work on.
“It’s not as though we haven’t talked about that before. They are working hard on it but we keep making the same mistakes. The batters have to have a good hard long look at themselves.
“Jos Buttler and Dom Bess showed the approach early on his very important: let the ball come, play it under your eyes, get yourself in and give yourself a chance.
“I was 50-50 on the toss decision. Joe really wanted to put the pressure on Pakistan in the fourth innings and we saw even today there were some balls keeping low. We simply didn’t bat well enough. Even though the ball was doing a bit we have to be better and get the match into the fifth day if that’s the decision the captain makes.”
Asked whether more players should have been involved in the County Championship ahead of the Tests – Buttler and Ben Stokes joined the squad straight from the IPL – Bayliss questioned the value of the competition as a learning ground. He also stated that England felt they could help Mark Stoneman more with his firm in the nets than allowing him to play a one-day match with Surrey.
“Only two guys missed those county matches with IPL,” he said. “When it comes to four-day cricket we have to make the decision if it’s worth playing on those little seaming green-tops where slow medium pacers take all the wickets.
“We felt it was better to do some hard work with Stoneman in the nets. The other thing we need is some putting pressure on from the outside and making plenty of runs and that’s not necessarily happening either.”
Bayliss also insisted that he and his coaching staff were on the right track and reiterated his desire to see out his contract, which ends in September 2019. But he did make the intriguing suggestion that a new seamer could be drafted into the team if it was concluded they required someone to “bowl fuller more often.”
“James Anderson and Stuart Broad have 900 Test wickets between them and should know how to bowl on these wickets. From a swing bowler’s point of view, Jimmy’s mode of operation is a bit different to others. He likes to starve the batter of a lot of full balls and when the full one comes they throw their hands at it straightaway. He’s taken 500 Test wickets, it’s a bit hard to say that’s the wrong approach.
“If we want someone to bowl fuller more often it means we maybe have to put someone in the term that’s their mode. Those two boys, with 400 and 500 Test wickets, I don’t think they’ve done a lot wrong.
“I’ve committed to September 2019 in both forms of the game. If that’s a decision someone higher up makes, then I’m looking forward to a bit more gardening.
“Personally I think the things myself and the coaching staff are working on are the right things, it’s taking a little longer than we would have liked and we have to keeper hammering away. I believe it will be the right way and these are the best players we’ve got.”