Bayliss: Top order problems still exist

“Are we any closer to solving those problems at the top of the order? To be honest, no”

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England head coach Trevor Bayliss has admitted that his side need to sort out their top order woes, even though they beat South Africa 3-1.

While Alastair Cook held his own, scoring 268 runs, which included two half-centuries, at an average of 33.50, the same could not be said about Keaton Jennings.

After a strong showing in India last December, where he scored a brilliant hundred on debut, Jennings retained his spot at the top of the order. However, he was unable to replicate the form he showcased in the subcontinent as he only accumulated 127 runs at an average of 15.87.

“Keaton would be disappointed with the way he went at the top of the order,” Bayliss said. “He batted on some very tough wickets for an opening batter and against a top-quality bowling attack.

“Are we any closer to solving those problems at the top of the order? To be honest, no. We’re not papering over the cracks. We know there are some spots which haven’t been cemented. We’re still looking for those guys to prove their worth at this level. We’ve still got two or three positions we haven’t nailed down yet. They know they have some things to work on.”

While there are doubts about whether Jennings will be picked for the upcoming Test series against the West Indies, Bayliss did say that the 25-year-old has a good chance of being included in England’s squad for the Ashes series in Australia later this year.

“He’s still an option to go to Australia,” Bayliss said. “I’d be surprised if we don’t take more than a couple of openers. He’s working hard in the nets and that’s as much as you can do. If he works hard enough and backs his ability then there’s no reason he can’t make a go of it.”

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