MELBOURNE (Reuters) - England coach Trevor Bayliss is concerned by his batsmen’s tendency to collapse and says starts will need to be converted into centuries if the touring side are to win the Ashes series against Australia.
England’s batsmen are yet to score a hundred in their first two warm-up games since arriving in Australia but cruised to a 192-run win over a weak Cricket Australia XI in a tour match in Adelaide.
Yet in a worrying sign for England, the match also witnessed the Ashes holders lose four wickets for three runs and seven wickets for 47 during the second innings.
“Sixties aren’t enough,” Bayliss said on Sunday. “We need 160s.
“Batting collapses have been a concern for us for a little while. We have games like that, where we lose wickets like that, and it is a concern.
“The batsmen realise they have got to do better and they are working hard to do that.”
England’s batsmen will have another opportunity to get some big runs under their belt in the final warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI in Townsville, in far northern Queensland state, from Wednesday before the first test in Brisbane’s Gabba from Nov. 23.
“By all accounts the wicket in Townsville is a pretty good one. It’s quite flat,” Australian Bayliss said.
“Hopefully that will help our batters make some big scores. Not just spend time in the middle, but make 100s. That’s definitely what we will need throughout this test series.
“It would be great if we could have some hundreds, that’s for sure. Obviously once the test series comes around, the intensity of that competition, hopefully that really kicks our batters into gear.”
Former captain Alastair Cook’s lean tour has continued with scores of 15 and 32 in Adelaide after a duck in Perth in the first warm-up match.
“I don’t have too many concerns about Cooky at the top of the order. It’s probably fair to say he always looks a bit rusty. He’d be the first to admit that,” the 54-year-old said.
“He would like to be scoring a few more runs, but he’s played almost 150 Tests, I’m sure he’s been through this before. He’s hitting plenty in the middle of the bat in the nets.”
Bayliss was encouraged by the form showed by England’s bowlers in the four-day game and said he expected paceman Jake Ball, who suffered an ankle ligament strain during the Adelaide match, to be available for selection in the opening test.
“He should be fine in seven to 10 days,” Bayliss said.
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Toby Davis