Bayliss: Cook and Broad never in danger of axe


Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad had been mooted as possible omissions from the fourth Ashes Test, but the England duo were never in any real danger of missing out, according to coach Trevor Bayliss.

England meekly surrendered the Ashes during the first three Tests, with former captain Cook and experienced seamer Broad both struggling for form.

Cook averaged 13.83 through those three defeats, while Broad took a mere five wickets.

But their fortunes have been transformed at the MCG, where Cook scored an unbeaten 244 and became the first England player to carry his bat in an Ashes Test for 46 years, with Broad proving one of his key partners in that innings with a score of 56.

Broad also took 4-51 with the ball in Australia's first innings and Bayliss insists there was never any thought of them being dropped.

"[There was] no genuine chance of them missing out, but obviously they were disappointed and we were for them as well," Bayliss told a media conference.

"Obviously extremely happy they were able to show the ability that they have got, we hope it continues for a few more years."

Rain frustrated England on day four in their bid for a first win of the series. Having posted 491 in response to Australia's 327, England reduced the hosts to 103-2 before the inclement weather forced a close to proceedings.

Australia still trail by 61 runs going into the final day, but England must now take eight wickets, starting with those of David Warner and in-form captain Steve Smith, and potentially complete a run chase in order to claim victory.

England have received little help from a very favourable batting surface, but Bayliss believes there is enough in the pitch for them to prevail.

"At times it was doing a little bit, a think in those times when we were able to move the ball we had their batters - they were watchful - we had them in a bit of trouble," Bayliss added.

"A fifth-day wicket, even though it's still a very good wicket, still gives us an opportunity to force a result.

"We've got to be very disciplined, we've got to bowl reasonably straight and good lengths and wait for a mistake. Obviously two very, very good batters, but if we can get the ball in the right areas and put pressure on, there's enough tricks in the wicket, the odd ball stays a little bit low or holds up a little bit, we've got to have the field in the right spot to take that chance.

"If we can get rid of those two guys early on tomorrow and put some pressure on the opposition, late-order batters, anything's possible."