England coach Trevor Bayliss admits he is still vexed by the issue of who will open the batting with Alastair Cook on their tour of the United Arab Emirates following the one-day series with Australia.
England succumbed to an eight-wicket defeat at Old Trafford in the fifth ODI on Sunday as Australia sealed a 3-2 series victory in emphatic fashion.
Nottinghamshire opener Alex Hales has been heavily touted for the role, but he failed the rehearsal with just 53 runs in the five matches at an average of 10.60 and a top score of 10.60.
Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth struggled during the Ashes and averages only 20.38 in his seven Test matches as an opening batsman.
Bayliss agreed that who partners Test captain Cook at the top of the order “very much” remains a tricky issue for him to contend with.
“One of the things is there’s no one out there putting their hand up saying I’m definitely the player to pick,” Bayliss said.
“There’s a number of good players who have had ok seasons. I don’t think there is anyone who has made five, six, seven hundreds.
“If someone had done that you would be putting them in the team straight away. There’s a bit of message there and an opportunity for county players that these coming months and next season that there places available and spots up for grabs.”
Bayliss refused to close the door on both Lyth and Hales even though neither player has done enough to secure the spot for certain.
“I’m sure Adam will be spoken about,” Bayliss added. “It’s a tough season to come in. He played well against New Zealand so he can obviously play.
“And I think Australia’s bowling attack in the Ashes, there’s not too many better in the world. So I’m sure he’ll definitely be spoken about also.
“You like to see them in form whatever style of cricket they are playing. Alex (Hales) have had a reasonably good Championship season so I’m sure he will be spoken about quite highly at the selection meeting.”
The tourists eased to victory with 25.4 overs to spares thanks to Aaron Finch’s unbeaten 70.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh had earlier picked up four for 27 as England were dismissed for just 138 in 33 overs with Ben Stokes (42) and Adil Rashid (35 not out) the only players to trouble the Australia attack.
Australia captain Steve Smith was relieved to end his side’s tour on a high point after they relinquished the Ashes last month as attention turned to their tour of Bangladesh later this month.
“It’s very satisfying,” Smith added. “We only had four players left from the World Cup-winning side. It’s pleasing to win a series away from home.
“It’s been a terrific tour, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. I’m looking forward to everything ahead of me now.
“I’m a bit tired to be perfectly honest so I’m looking forward to 10 days at home before we go to Bangladesh.
“It’s going to be a big challenge. It’s going to be a tough tour in Bangladesh.
“Hopefully the guys can prepare well. I’m not sure of the makeup of the team, there may well be a few young guys in the squad. Some guys are coming in looking to make a path for themselves.”