Bayliss: We won’t ‘cruise’ to a series win


England head coach Trevor Bayliss says that while he's pleased with the way the Tests against South Africa have started, he's under no illusion that the rest of the series will be easy against the top-ranked side.

The Proteas lost the first Test in Durban, following on from their horror series in India, but Bayliss knows that the South African players are tenacious, and will be dangerous come the second Test in Cape Town.

The Australian also said that he wanted his batsmen, especially the new players, to be more consistent, and that they could have scored many more runs than they did at Kingsmead.

Bayliss said: "There certainly is an excitement but that doesn't guarantee anything. We're certainly not going to think we can cruise these last three Test matches.
"South Africa haven't become the best team in the world not having come back from adversity in different series. We've got a lot of hard work in front of us and we certainly won't be taking them lightly

"In the Ashes we won one, lost one; backwards and forwards. That's one area we want to improve. To get to the top you've got to play well consistently and that was an area of concern over the summer.

"We are by no means the finished article. I thought in both innings in Durban we left 100 runs out there. I liken it to a young batter trying to get his first hundred, getting over the hump.

"They were tough conditions but the best teams, the ones who get to the top, there are one or two guys who will score 100s in the tough conditions, scores of 130, 140 … and then we make an extra 100 runs. Then the result is foregone before the third innings starts."

One player who did well for England was veteran batsman Nick Compton, who returned to the side after two years out, and at number three this time, instead of opener.

Compton saved the first innings for England with a gritty 85, and while Bayliss would prefer a more attacking batsman up there, he's not dismissing Compton's nuggety temperament.

He added: "Ultimately, I'd like to see two of the top three guys as attacking-style batters. I just think if you have a couple of attacking guys up the top it puts pressure on the opposition a lot easier.

"If you've got three who don't necessarily get on with it you can be half-an-hour before lunch at 0 for 30, you happen to lose two and it's 2 for 30 two hours in. If you've got guys who can play their strokes and get on with the game, if you lose a couple before lunch you're 80, 90 or 100.

"Having said that, in Test cricket there is a role for someone who is able to get through those tough periods and make hundreds. We'd take that.

"I think with our team at the moment, with the middle order we've got – a lot of guys that play shots – if those guys can bat around Cook and Compton that could be the way ahead for us.

"If you haven't got them [the attacking players], you pick the best available. And what Compton has proven at the moment is that, of the guys around, he's in the best top three."