Trevor Bayliss is becoming ever more annoyed by the kind of England batting collapses which led to their “embarrassing” nine-wicket defeat by Pakistan in the first Test at Lord’s.
Bayliss, who became England coach before the start of the team’s home 2015 Ashes success, has been known to encourage attacking batting as he has improved the team’s fortunes in the limited-overs game.
But he insisted the Test top-order must be prepared to graft for their runs if conditions and the quality of the opposition attack require an initially more cautious approach.
England were skittled out for just 184 in their first innings at Lord’s by disciplined bowling from Pakistan, whose resolute batsmen then made 363 in reply.
Bayliss’s side have lost six of their last eight Tests, ahead of the finale of a two-match series against Pakistan at Headingley starting on Friday.
Asked if his words were getting through to the players, Bayliss replied: “Well, obviously not enough.”
– ‘Throw your hands up’ –
The Australian, rarely given to venting his frustration in public, added: “In a way, you almost throw your hands up sometimes.
“But what else can you do? We continually deliver that type of message and are continually working on it in the nets.”
Pakistan’s batsmen displayed great care at Lord’s and Bayliss insisted England’s had been advised to play in similarly responsible fashion before home captain Joe Root won the toss and batted first.
“It was the same as always on these type of wickets,” Bayliss said.
“It’s going to be difficult early — you’ve got to work hard early and earn the right to bat long, you’ve got to bat in partnerships.”
“The mistakes we made – throwing hands at the ball…(not) letting the ball come — under pressure, in the middle, we’ve got to do it better.”
England, particularly at home, have shown an ability to bounce back rapidly from heavy defeat and Bayliss said: “They’ve been up for it in the past. I’d be expecting they’d be a little embarrassed about the way they played, and the performance in the next one will be better.”
England, in a bid to win next year’s World Cup on home soil, have radically altered their domestic fixture schedule in recent times.
– Height of summer –
Much of the first-class County Championship programme is now played at the two ends of the season, rather than in the height of summer.
This, critics argue, means the odds are weighted too heavily in favour of medium-pacers who would be non-threatening on better pitches, with batsmen consequently less inclined to get their heads down than they would on more reliable surfaces.
“Is playing on (county) wickets where you’re not going to bat for too long, before you get one that does a heap, is that necessarily good in the long term for learning how to concentrate for long periods?,” asked Bayliss.
“All we want for the players is the very best, for them to be playing at their very best, and winning games for England,” he added.
England have dropped opener Mark Stoneman, who managed just 13 runs in total at Lord’s, and recalled Keaton Jennings for Headingley as they try to avoid a third successive loss after reverses in Australia and New Zealand.
But their batting was not the only issue at Lord’s, with England also dropping five catches during Pakistan’s first innings.
Bayliss did not hide his exasperation at England’s poor fielding, saying: “I’m almost at a loss sometimes. It’s got to be concentration, I think, and confidence.
“Once the first one goes down, it’s a little bit like when we lose a wicket or two… sometimes that confidence goes down.”