Joe Root is under “no pressure” as England captain, according to outgoing coach Trevor Bayliss.
Failing to return the Ashes has led to the Yorkshireman’s position being discussed, particularly given his batting performances have been somewhat inconsistent.
But Bayliss, who leaves his role after four years following this week’s final Test, says there are no issues.
“He’s not come under question from anyone making any decisions,” Bayliss said. “He’s under no pressure at all.”
On Root’s form with the bat, Bayliss added: “Everyone goes through periods where they don’t score as many runs as they’d like. I think the Australian team have bowled pretty well to him, so we’ll see how things go further down the line.
“From my point of view, he was our premier batter and the Australians always try and target the opposition captain. He’s played well when he’s got starts and I don’t see too many problems.”
After winning at Old Trafford to go 2-1 up in the series, Australia’s players celebrated on the field and were accused by some of mocking England spinner Jack Leach while doing so.
“Fake news, like Donald Trump says,” Bayliss said. “No one has mentioned it or spoken about it. It’s all talk from you guys (the media).”
Bayliss will return to Australia after the series, having spent four years in the job and taking England to World Cup glory in July.
“On one hand I am sad to be leaving,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic environment to work in, everyone has made me feel at home.
“From a cricket sense we’ve had a lot of good performances, the cherry on top the World Cup win.
“But I am looking forward to getting home and it’s time for someone else to come in with a new voice.”
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Australia have retained the Ashes after victory in the fourth Test against England at Old Trafford.
Here, we look at where the series was won and lost.
The Australia batsman has been on a different level to every other player in the series. Returning to the side after suspension following a very public humiliation and loss of the captaincy last year, the 30-year-old has simply been outstanding. Scores of 144, 142, 92, 211 and 82 are not just brilliant but Bradman-esque. Perhaps the series would have been over earlier had he been fit for the third Test at Headingley.
Failure to capitalise on strong position in first Test
England made a brilliant start to the series as they reduced Australia to 122 for eight on the first day at Edgbaston. It was then, however, that Smith took charge cracking his first century of the summer while Peter Siddle offered stubborn resistance at the other end. England did recover to claim a first innings lead but it was a missed opportunity and they eventually lost by 251 runs.
Absence of James Anderson
England’s all-time leading wicket-taker managed to bowl just four overs in the series before suffering a recurrence of a calf injury. With him off the field England struggled to remove the tail when in a position of dominance at Edgbaston and have missed his new-ball brilliance since. Jofra Archer has come in and done well and Stuart Broad has been England’s best bowler of the series, but the attack would have been more potent with Anderson too.
Missing out at Lord’s
England put themselves in a strong position in the second Test but were unable to bowl Australia out in the second innings despite them losing Steve Smith to a concussion injury. His replacement Marnus Labuschagne hit a battling half-century and Travis Head a defiant unbeaten 42 as the tourists held out for a draw.
Bad day in the field in Manchester
Smith was again outstanding at Old Trafford but England did not help themselves at times in the field and let Australia, with 497 for six declared, score too many in the first innings. Conditions were unpleasant on the first day but Archer was ineffective, catches were dropped and Jack Leach overstepped to his cost when he had Smith caught on a no ball.
“I think we can do it,” declared England coach Trevor Bayliss as his side look to save the Ashes series at Old Trafford.
Australia are just eight wickets from retaining the Ashes as England fell to 18-2 late on Saturday.
Steve Smith made another impressive total of 82 in Manchester as the tourists reached 186 before declaring.
England require 365 runs for the improbable win, six more than the target set at the dramatic Headingley Test two weeks ago.
In all likelihood the hosts will need to bat for the whole of day five in order to earn an unlikely draw and take the series to the final Test at the Oval.
But Bayliss said: “It’s a big challenge but we’ve got two guys out there that are very good players. We’ve certainly got some players in the sheds that can make hundreds.
“It’ll take a couple of our guys to make good hundreds but certainly as we saw in the last Test, anything is possible.”