Bayliss will consider changes

Coach Trevor Bayliss was forthright in his assessment of that poor performance against his native country, as Australia levelled the Ashes at 1-1 in just the second match of his tenure.

Yorkshire pair Gary Ballance and Adam Lyth appear most at risk from the drop, in an announcement expected to be made by Tuesday evening, having again figured centrally in a top-order collapse – an unwelcome Test trend England have established this year.

Stalwart Ian Bell has also been badly short of runs, apart from in a much-needed half-century to help England take an initial lead in the Investec series in Cardiff.

But he has a bank of world-class performances in his 112-Test career, and it would be a big call to leave out the 33-year-old former vice-captain on his home ground at Edgbaston next week.

Bayliss made it clear, as he reflected on England’s descent to a second-innings 103 all out and landslide defeat inside four days, that he and his fellow selectors will give particular thought to whether they can remedy the top-order malaise without a change of personnel.

“I’m sure all of the players know, it wouldn’t be a surprise to any player in the team that when you play badly positions are going to be looked at and discussed,” he said.

“I’m sure it certainly will be.

“It’s on the mind of anyone when the team is not playing like you would like – those things are always in the back of the coach’s and selectors’ minds.

“There are some good players on the outside.”

The contenders to replace anyone omitted for Birmingham are headed by Yorkshire wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow – who was continuing his brilliant run of form at Scarborough with his fifth LV= County Championship century of the summer, at the very same time as England were dissolving to defeat 250 miles south.

Should he return, for his 15th Test after an 18-month absence, it would surely be as a specialist batsman – with incumbent wicketkeeper Jos Buttler of such obvious value to the team at number seven.

In the opening position, replacements for Lyth – who made a century on his home ground at Headingley in only his second Test little more than a month ago – are less obvious.

The more conservative, and potentially less divisive, option open to the selectors is to redeploy rather than ditch their batsmen – number three Ballance perhaps swapping positions with Joe Root.

Bayliss added: “All I’ll say is two Tests ago they were selected for these first couple because they were considered the best players in the country.

“That doesn’t necessarily change after only four innings.

“It’s a concern that we are three or four for 40, and they know that.”

Bayliss, who arrived in England to take up his new post less than a month ago, has limited knowledge of those who could step up from county cricket – but he did name-check Bairstow.

“I’ll be relying pretty much on the others [for advice],” he said.

“Bairstow obviously, I know of, and a few of the guys in the one-day team.

“But any names that haven’t been on the international scene in the last little bit, I haven’t got a big knowledge of.”

Limited-overs form, it seems, will merit consideration.

“Test cricket is becoming more and more like a one-day game anyway.

“You maybe don’t have quite as many short balls bowled at you in a one-day game.

“But I think you get confidence from batting well anywhere.

“If you’ve got one-day form, there’s no real reason you can’t turn that into runs at Test level.”

Bayliss, ultra-calm by reputation, did not lose his temper with those involved in the Lord’s debacle.

“I very rarely bare the teeth.

“As long as the players are giving their utmost, I’m not going to get angry.

“I think you’ve got to talk about some of the problems or how we can get better and work through it in a civil manner.

“There’s no use yelling and screaming at players.

“They know they haven’t played well in this game, and any first-class or international player knows that performances are what they’re judged on and whether they will play the next game or not.

“So they play under enough pressure, and I’m certainly not going to add to that.”

There may be a little, inevitably, in the next 24 hours before England confirm a squad in which it is thought second spinner Adil Rashid will be retained – having returned to county duty with Yorkshire, despite declaring himself unfit with a sore finger when Moeen Ali was struggling with a side strain for Lord’s.

England’s seamers had little joy there either, but are likely to be given at least one more collective opportunity – possibly in an unchanged squad, after all – in the hope they encounter a more responsive surface in the midlands.

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