Cricket

Trevor Bayliss keen to pile on pressure on Australia

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England are under orders to keep Australia 'on the floor' as they bid to regain the Ashes at Trent Bridge next week.

Coach Trevor Bayliss saw enough in England's eight-wicket victory well inside three days at Edgbaston to be confident Australia will still feel under pressure when they report back for duty in Nottingham at 2-1 down with two to play.

Alastair Cook's team have, however, established an uncanny habit this year - unprecedented in the history of Test cricket - of failing to build on their success, following each of their three wins with instant defeat.

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It is a sequence which pre-dates Australian Bayliss' association with England, having begun under his predecessor Peter Moores in the Caribbean four months ago.

England, bidding to win back the urn after their humiliating 5-0 whitewash defeat in Australia two winters ago, have called the uncapped Mark Footitt and returning Liam Plunkett into their seam contingent in a 14-man squad for the fourth Investec Test - in the absence of all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson, unavailable because of the side strain he suffered on day two at Edgbaston.

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Bayliss' preferred option appears to be a return to the team for Mark Wood, rested because of an ankle niggle last time.

The coach is already contemplating Wood as Anderson's new-ball replacement alongside Stuart Broad, with Steven Finn deployed as first change again after his eight-wicket haul.

Irrespective of that finer planning, though, the main thrust of Bayliss' advice is to make sure Australia feel the heat again.

England managed to rouse themselves after their 405-run trouncing in the second Test at Lord's, and Bayliss wants to see no such opportunity afforded to the opposition.

"Some of the Australians will be under pressure, as we were in this game, and we hope we will be able to build on that pressure in the next match and not let them up off the floor," he said.

"The message to the boys is (to) go away and relax for a few extra days but come back with their own personal plans in place."

"I think that was the big change for us in this game - I think guys had their own plans in their own minds and went out and did it.

"I felt in London that we just got away from our individual plans on how to bat and bowl against this opposition."

England's number one target, of course, will be Australia captain Michael Clarke - who has made just 94 runs in six innings and admits he has been letting his team down.

Bayliss believes it would be tempting fate, though, to publicly write off the summer for a batsman who still averages almost 50 and has made 28 Test centuries.

"Michael has had a long career and had a few runs of form like this in the past, and he's come back from them," Bayliss said.

"The last thing I want to do or England want to do is forecast his demise - because that's just giving him ammunition to come out and score a heap of runs.

"He is a guy with plenty of experience and lot of Test runs behind him - we are certainly not taking him lightly."

As for those bowling options, it seems Wood will be at the centre of England's plans if fit at a venue where he has fared especially well for Durham.

"I'd like to see Mark Wood take the new ball," said Bayliss.

"Our bowling coach Ottis Gibson thinks if we get an opportunity we should give him the new ball, because he has been quite dangerous with the new ball with his county team."

Finn has 98 Test wickets after his brilliant comeback from two years out of the reckoning - and Bayliss is impressed by what he has seen.

"Players go through highs and lows," he said.

"I don't think there's a cricketer that's ever played the game that hasn't had a period where they haven't been batting or bowling as well as they would like."

"The thing that tells you he is a Test bowler is the fact he has been able to put that behind him and come out and do what he did."

Finn was the quickest bowler in the match, more so even than Australia's Mitchell Johnson, and moved the ball in the air and off the pitch - none of which came as a surprise to Bayliss.

"Since I have been here, he has been fantastic around the group," he said.

"He certainly hasn't been down in the dumps; he's had a positive outlook all the time; he's taken wickets in county cricket in the last few weeks - and the way he has been bowling in the nets has been fantastic.

"I had no problems at all that if he got a game somewhere he'd be able to perform."

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Topics:
England cricket
The Ashes
Cricket

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