Praising his team's magnificent effort of clinching the tightly contested series against India, England head coach Trevor Bayliss has said that this series victory rates possibly on par with three lions' Ashes triumphs against their arch-rivals Australia.
Even though there are quite a lot of areas for them to work on, England took an unassailable 3-1 lead over India by their 60 run win at Southampton and this, Bayliss feels, is a good sign.
"It is right up there with beating Australia in the Ashes. Obviously, India are a very good team, the number one team, and to knock them off is a very good feeling," Bayliss was quoted saying, "There were some difficult conditions especially on day one. We have said before, under a bit of pressure these guys have got a bit of character which is a good sign going forward."
Talking about the Ashes next year, with Alastair Cook announcing his retirement from the game at the end of the series, Joe Root and England will have to figure out the best possible top order on the tours of Sri Lanka and West Indies this winter.
Bayliss, who is quite worried about the lack of runs from the batting line up, said, "I'm sure there will be discussions on a few things in the next couple of days. Batsmen would like to have a settled position in the order. You always find in any era or team there are one or two guys who have to be a bit flexible," and added, "Moeen has been that guy for us over the last few years. When Root asked him if he was keen to do it he jumped at it. In the right conditions, I would not put it past him."
"He works hard at his game. In spinning conditions he can cover that pretty well at the moment but his challenge will be on the faster wickets but we haven't got any of those for a while."
Bayliss also cleared that the Captain Joe Root wants to bat at no.4 going forward and added, "Joe has always said he wants to bat at four. He understood where I was coming from that if we had a number three averaging 50 to allow him to bat at four, that would be handy. But I thought it was for the best of the team he batted at three,"
"Hopefully we can find someone who can do a decent job at number three and he can bat where he feels most comfortable. All credit to him. He has taken that role on with no problems. He has taken one for the team in that respect."
On the idea of whether to field both James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the upcoming series in unhelpful conditions during the winter at this stage of the veteran duo' careers, Bayliss explained, "We will get together after this Test and see who is fit and available. We will definitely want to win the last Test, and I see a future with them (Anderson-Broad) at the moment, They are the most successful pace bowlers in this series and it will go down to how their bodies are feeling. We spoke before the series if their bodies would double up in close Test matches. So we will have to wait and see how they are in 48 hours' time."
"The numbers of Tests we have played this year have been spread out. There is another reasonable gap until we play the Tests in Sri Lanka. There is a bigger gap again and then another couple of months leading in to the West Indies. Them only playing Test cricket does give them a bit of a break."
(Inputs from PTI)