England no nearer solving top-order puzzle, concedes Bayliss

With an Ashes tour just three months away, Trevor Bayliss admits England's struggle to find a strong top-order combination is a concern.

Keaton Jennings at Old Trafford   -  Getty Images

Head coach Trevor Bayliss admitted he was no closer to solving England's top-order conundrum even after the 3-1 series win over South Africa.

The host secured victory by 177 runs at Old Trafford on Monday to bring Joe Root's maiden series as Test captain to a triumphant conclusion.

But concerns surrounding England's batting line-up persist, with the likes of Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan all used against the Proteas, with minimal success.

Bayliss' side face West Indies over three Tests starting later this month, before heading Down Under for the Ashes, and the Australian is still a long way from being able to choose reliable operators to help shoulder the burden weighing heavily on Root and Alastair Cook.

"To be honest, no [we're not any closer]," Bayliss told a media conference.

"Obviously Keaton will be disappointed with the way he went although he batted on some tough wickets against a top-quality pace attack. He's got things to work on and he knows that.

"He's working hard and that's as much as you can do. Obviously a few spots will be discussed, I'm not going to speculate, I'll wait until we have those discussions with the selectors."

With a busy international schedule, Bayliss rued the lack of opportunities to get out to matches and watch potential prospects across the county circuit.

"It's the way of the world these days, there's so much cricket on you can't go and watch it live," he said. "Personally, I'd like to be there and have a look but it's very difficult and I'm sure we're not the only country that has these problems."

Bayliss also rejected the notion that it would be a blow to lose Ottis Gibson so close to the Ashes - the bowling coach is widely expected to replace Russell Domingo for the top job with South Africa.

"Nothing has been finalised yet as I understand it, we haven't heard for sure," Bayliss said. "But I look at it as a positive that someone in the England set-up is being looked at for a higher job, you've got to look at the positives."

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