Cricket

England coach backs struggling Bell

2015-10-29 17:15
Ian Bell (Getty Images)

Sharjah - England's head coach Trevor Bayliss on Thursday backed struggling top-order batsman Ian Bell, saying his team needed experience in their tough series against Pakistan in difficult conditions.

The 33-year-old has managed just 118 runs in the two Tests, with a highest of 63 in the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi.

Bell made four and 46 in the second Test in Dubai which Pakistan won by 178 runs on Monday.

Asked if Bell was nearing retirement from Test matches, Bayliss said: "I suppose you can only take a player on what he says there.

"Obviously at the moment we haven't got a lot of experience in the batting order and I think it's important we have got some experience in the team.

Bayliss said Bell, who retired from one-day cricket in August this year, would like to score more runs in the third and final Test starting in Sharjah from Sunday.

"On this tour, if you just take the aggregates and averages of our batters, he's probably in third spot or round about, he's averaging almost 40 I think.

"Look, I'm sure he'd like to be scoring more runs as well, and again he's a guy who works very hard at his game.

"I think it's a question that most older players ask themselves when they're getting closer to the end than the start, but he's very much aware that performances are the thing that very much count."

Bayliss, an Australian who also coached Sri Lanka, said Bell realises he needs to score more.

"We need him from that experience point of view but what I'm saying is - and everyone's fully aware of it - that results count as well, so just because you've got experience you've got to be performing as well.

"They know that and the selectors and coaches make their decisions based on performances at the top level."

Bayliss stressed batting last is tough on spin-friendly pitches in United Arab Emirates.

"Having to bowl first and bat second in these conditions is probably not ideal," said Bayliss whose team lost both tosses and had to bowl first in the two Tests.

"On the two wickets that have been prepared we'd definitely have batted first but having said that you've still got to bat and bowl well in the first innings. As we proved in Abu Dhabi, batting is all about scoring big runs in that first innings, whether you bat first or you bat second.

"That's what happened in Abu Dhabi, and that was the difference in this Test match - we fell in a bit of a hole on that third morning. Whether we bat or bowl first, when we bat we've got to score big runs in that first innings."

England scored a big 598-9 declared in the first Test but slid to 242 all out in the first innings of the Dubai Test.

Read more on:    pakistan  |  england  |  trevor bayliss  |  ian bell  |  cricket
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