Regardless of who lifts the urn at The Oval in September, one Australian who is plotting Ashes glory should forever be revered in England.

Just 16 months ago Trevor Bayliss was facing calls for him to be axed as England head coach after New Zealand rolled Joe Root's side for only 58 in an embarrassing first-Test defeat in Auckland.

That came on the back of a chastening 4-0 Ashes thumping in Australia, where Bayliss also fended off questions over his future – much more assertively than the tourists did with the Australia bowling attack.

Bayliss would be entitled to feel he had more than enough credit in the bank at that point, having masterminded a transformation of the ODI side from a Cricket World Cup shambles in 2015 to a major force.

There was no word from his critics when top-ranked England were crowned world champions for the first time this month, an ambitious mission that he was challenged to achieve when he took the reins four years ago.

The unassuming Bayliss started his tenure with a home Ashes win and could sign off with another before stepping aside at the end of the series.

An emphatic home Test series win over India and two series victories against South Africa have also been achieved with the former Sri Lanka coach at the helm, as well as a run to the final of the 2016 World T20.

Paul Farbrace, long-time assistant to the man from New South Wales both with England and Sri Lanka, knows as well as anybody why Bayliss has been so successful over the years.

He told Omnisport: "It's very easy when you are a coach to talk a lot, it's very hard not to say a lot and when you do speak, you speak at the right time and you say the right thing.

"That is where I think he is a genius, in that when he speaks, people listen and when he speaks, he genuinely says something that is very good and you think 'that is a great point'.

"There is a lot of things Trevor gets underestimated about. He appears to sit quietly and not say a lot, but he gets his point across and he knows what is going on all the time in the game, he never misses a ball.

"He is a genuine cricket lover and he's passionate about the game, with exceptional knowledge. He may forget the odd name, but he doesn't forget too much about the game.

"He has been the perfect fit for England over the last four years. The World Cup was the goal four years ago and that's what they have achieved."

Farbrace added: "It's a special summer for English cricket; a home World Cup and Ashes in the same six-month period, it's magnificent for the game in this country at all levels of the game.

"There's never been a better time to introduce people to get involved in the game of cricket. If England can win the Ashes it would be the perfect way to see things home and I see no reason why they can't do that."

Whether or not England regain the Ashes, Bayliss can leave the job with his head held high, although he may prefer to stay poker-faced wearing dark shades under his floppy sun hat to stay out of the limelight.

Mitchell Santner has been named by New Zealand as one of four spinners in a 15-man squad for their two-Test series against Sri Lanka in August.

Santner last played a Test for the Black Caps in December 2017, but the left-arm spinner is part of a squad that also includes Todd Astle, Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville.

New Zealand are readying themselves for spin-friendly conditions in Galle and Colombo in a series that also begins their ICC World Test Championship campaign.

Black Caps head coach Gary Stead said he would consider playing three spinners in the same XI against Sri Lanka.

"Playing three spinners is an option in Sri Lankan conditions and we believe this group provides the best variations and skill mix on offer," he said on Monday.

Ryan Sidebottom believes Chris Silverwood should be given the chance to replace Trevor Bayliss as England head coach.

Silverwood was appointed as England bowling coach after masterminding Essex's 2017 County Championship triumph.

Bayliss will end his four-year tenure after an Ashes series that starts at Edgbaston on Thursday, just a few weeks after England lifted the Cricket World Cup for the first time at Lord's.

Sidebottom thinks Silverwood can step up with former England captain Paul Collingwood staying in the set-up to assist him.

The ex-England seamer told Omnisport: "You've got Chris Silverwood and Paul Collingwood already in the set-up, why not pass on the baton to guys who know the players and then bring in a couple of new men - that is how I would see it.

"In Chris Silverwood as coach and Colly assistant you would have two young, hungry guys who know the lads really well and so I would not look too far from those two guys.

"That would bring continuity, which I think is really important on the back of the World Cup and hopefully an Ashes win."

Sidebottom is expecting a tight series against Australia, but thinks England will regain the urn.

He added: "I think they are two really strong bowling attacks. If Australia keep their bowlers fit they are going to trouble our batsmen.

"I reckon it might be quite close, of course I have to say England because they are stronger when you look through the squads, they have got the better batting line-up but England and Australia are very vulnerable to collapses.

"I think England will just shade it. Obviously the top three is still an issue for us, so that is something that everybody will be looking at but I think it will be a cracking series."

 

Paul Farbrace has backed England to end "serial winner" Trevor Bayliss' reign as it started with an Ashes triumph over Australia.

Bayliss will step down as head coach following a five-match series which starts at Edgbaston on Thursday.

The Australian has transformed England from Cricket World Cup failures in 2015 to champions on home soil this month.

Bayliss masterminded a home Ashes win over Australia in his first series in charge four years ago and his former long-time assistant Farbrace believes Joe Root's side can finish the 56-year-old's tenure on a high note.

Farbrace, so influential working alongside Bayliss before taking over as Warwickshire sports director in March, told Omnisport: "I think Trevor has done a brilliant job and I'm so chuffed they won the World Cup.

"I know how much time and effort that has gone in over the years, with staff from the behind the scenes and a lot of people who won't ever be recognised for their part - such as the sports science department, physios and medics, there is an awful lot of work that goes into the planning.

"But ultimately Trevor has steered the ship with Morgs [captain Eoin Morgan] towards winning that World Cup and the pair of them deserve all the accolades they get, because they have done an outstanding job for England over the last four years.

"Trevor is a unique character and has done exceptionally well everywhere he's been. Some coaches have good reputations for the odd thing, but he is a serial winner.

"He's been in two World Cup finals, two T20 finals, won the IPL, the Big Bash. His record is exceptional, so it is so pleasing to see him finish the white-ball stuff in the way he has."

Farbrace added: "It's a special summer for English cricket; a home World Cup and Ashes in the same six-month period, it's magnificent for the game in this country at all levels of the game.

"If England can win the Ashes it would be the perfect way to see things home and I see no reason why they can't do that with a great bowling attack, strong middle-order and hopefully the top order can fire."

Durham have announced the signing of Australia international Peter Handscomb for the remainder of the English domestic season.

The wicketkeeper-batsman - who has represented his country in all three formats - missed out on selection for the Ashes squad but will now remain in England.

Handscomb fills the overseas spot at Durham vacated by compatriot Cameron Bancroft, who was picked in Australia's 17-man party for the five-Test series.

"We are delighted to welcome Peter to Durham for the rest of the season," Marcus North, director of cricket at Durham, said.

"Peter is a well-known player across all formats of the game, so it is a great to be welcoming him to Chester-le-Street.

"He has proven he can score runs having excelled for Victoria in their domestic competition, so we are pleased to have him joining us at Durham."

Peter Siddle has faith in Australia's well-balanced squad to cope with whatever is thrown at them during the Ashes series against England.

Tim Paine's side are aiming to become the first touring party from Down Under to triumph on English soil since 2001, though Australia are the current holders of the urn following their emphatic 4-0 triumph in 2017-18.

Siddle was also involved in the past three unsuccessful tours to England, though he believes the current crop are better placed for success in unfamiliar conditions.

"We are a lot more aware of the team set-up and the dynamics we need to win a series in England," the seamer said.

"A couple of the other series I've played in, we haven't been quite suited to the conditions and have gone about it the wrong way.

"But I think, especially with the squad that’s been picked and the players that are in and around the group, we've got a good skill set, so whatever is dished up to us wicket-wise, we will be able to cope and handle what they throw at us."

Siddle's faith stems from the number of Australian players in the 17-man squad who have experienced playing in England.

The 34-year-old acknowledges his time playing county cricket for Essex, where he has taken 34 wickets in eight first-class outings at an average of just 20.08 this year, has helped him to become a better bowler.

"I'm in a good frame of mind – the confidence that I have after the last two seasons over here playing for Essex has put me in a good position to know that I’m comfortable with my game, especially in England," Siddle said.

"I know that if I get the opportunity to play in this series, I'm more ready than ever. I'm definitely bowling a lot better than I have done in these conditions, and that's the best thing that I bring to this team now.

"I've got a pretty good record at Test cricket in Ashes games in England. But my experience over the last couple of years ...I've learned a lot. A lot of new skills and ways to go about it and I can play a big part in this series."

The first Ashes Test begins on Thursday at Edgbaston.

Rassie Erasmus admitted South Africa were fortunate to escape with a draw from their Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand after a dramatic finish in Wellington.

The Springboks led 6-0 in the first half but faded after a promising start to trail 16-9 in the closing minutes of the contest.

However, having secured a sensational 36-34 victory over the All Blacks at the same venue in September last year, South Africa once again stunned the reigning world champions.

Herschel Jantjies managed to get his hands - and also his head - to Cheslin Kolbe's kick before seizing on the loose ball to score a last-gasp try, Handre Pollard restoring parity by adding the extras from the tee with the final act of the game.

"To play the number one team in the world and be lucky at the end there, it was almost like last year," director of rugby Erasmus said.

"Right at the end we could have lost it and we managed to draw the game. Handre could have missed that last kick, so we could have lost that game.

"To come away with a draw, I guess we're satisfied with that. The first 35 minutes we played very well while they totally dominated the second half. So fairly lucky, in a big way."

South Africa failed to make the most of their early dominance, allowing their opponents to take a 7-6 half-time lead thanks to converted try from Jack Goodhue that stemmed from a turnover near the halfway line.

While disappointed at the lack of points they managed to score during their period of control, Erasmus was pleased with his side's performance before the break. 

"I was frustrated in a sense that we dominated a lot of things except line-outs," he said. 

"All the other facets we dominated. Especially when they were almost under caution from the referee for repeated infringing and we missed the penalty when we could have gone nine points up, then they scored that turnover try and that swung the momentum.

"[We were] lucky to escape, but the first 40 minutes we played really good tactical rugby."

Australia scrum-half Will Genia lauded Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium as the "most special" ground after playing his final Test there in Saturday's 16-10 Rugby Championship win over Argentina.

Queenslander Genia, 31, is set to retire from the international stage after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, meaning he was playing his last Test in front of his home crowd.

Making his 102nd appearance for the Wallabies, Genia dominated during his 60 minutes on the pitch and was named Man of the Match.

He enjoyed some of the most memorable moments of his career in the stadium, for Australia and the Reds, and acknowledged its special status.

He said: "It's the most special place for me to play, because of the people, because of the support and because of the many special memories I've had here over the years with the Wallabies and the Reds."

Saturday's clash was by no means a classic, but it allowed the Wallabies to bounce back from the 35-17 defeat to South Africa and ease the pressure on coach Michael Cheika.

"Off the back of bouncing back, in terms of getting a win, but also playing a little better, we're one more week into the way we want to play and developing our system and hopefully we can continue to build that momentum against New Zealand," he added.

"We defended for 90 per cent of that game. That's an attitude thing and it shows the boys' attitude was in the right place."

Argentina captain Pablo Matera was frustrated by his side's performance, ruing their inability to make the most of their opportunities.

He said: "We knew they'd have a good scrum, they were better than us, they had more penalties and plays than us. It's something we have to improve.

"It was a really tough game. I think we lost too many balls in the contact. We had too many chances to get points and didn't do it [take advantage]."

Jofra Archer has earned a first Test call-up for England's Ashes opener against Australia, while James Anderson has also made a 14-man squad and is expected to be fit for the contest at Edgbaston.

Archer - a star of England's Cricket World Cup triumph - had been troubled by a sore left side, but returned for his county Sussex in a Twenty20 match on Friday and is now in line for a maiden Test cap.

The Barbados-born paceman only qualified for England in March but has quickly established himself as a potent weapon at international level and will hope to transfer his white-ball success to the five-day arena.

Anderson missed his country's victory over Ireland at Lord's this week as he continued his recovery from a calf tear sustained at the start of July, but England's record wicket-taker is anticipated to be available when the Ashes begins on Thursday.

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes also return to the squad after being rested for the Ireland fixture. Stokes has also been reappointed as vice-captain of the Test team in Buttler's place.

However, there is no place for spinner Jack Leach - the surprise batting hero at Lord's who made 92 as a nightwatchman against Ireland. Lewis Gregory - a non-playing member of the squad for that match - also misses out.

National selector Ed Smith said: "Though it is unusual to select a squad of 14 for a home Test, there are compelling reasons to do so here. Several bowlers are recovering from injuries or niggles.

"In addition, some bowlers who played in the World Cup are being closely monitored to assess their preparation for Test match cricket.

"The wider circumstances - a successful home World Cup campaign followed so quickly by a home Ashes series - are unprecedented. It feels sensible to select an expanded squad and leave a number of bowling options open for the final team selection."

Australia named their 17-man squad on Friday, with Cameron Bancroft included for the first time since he served a ban for his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.

South Africa denied New Zealand victory in Wellington for a second successive year as Herschel Jantjies' last-gasp try meant a see-saw Rugby Championship clash finished 16-16 on Saturday.

The All Blacks appeared on course to avenge a 36-34 loss to the same opponents at Westpac Stadium last September after they overcame a sloppy first-half performance to seize control.

Jack Goodhue crossed for a 37th-minute try that was converted by Beauden Barrett, who also added a second-half penalty to go alongside six points from the boot of Richie Mo'unga.

However, the home side's hopes of revenge were dashed at the death, Jantjies beating Aaron Smith to Cheslin Kolbe's high kick for a score that was eventually awarded after checking video footage for a knock-on.

A calm and collected Handre Pollard knocked over the resulting conversion with the final kick, leaving honours even and South Africa on top of the table in this year's shortened edition of the competition.

England's Test win over Ireland at Lord's was not a fair contest between bat and ball due to a substandard Lord's playing surface, according to home captain Joe Root.

A demolition job by new-ball pair Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad saw Ireland bundled out for 38 on Friday, a day that began with the visitors dreaming of a historic maiden triumph in the longest format after being set 182 for victory.

England began in similar batting turmoil as they were dismissed for 85 in the first session of the match, with Ireland's seam attack led by the excellent Tim Murtagh wreaking havoc on a green pitch.

The five-match Ashes series against Australia begins at Edgbaston next week before the second Test comes to Lord's and Root seemingly challenged head groundsman Karl McDermott to up his game before that keenly anticipated clash.

"I don't like saying this, but the wicket was substandard for a Test match," Root told a post-match news conference.

"I thought it wasn't even close to a fair contest between bat and ball throughout the whole game.

"First innings, last innings, when you are getting scores like that, that tells a story in itself."

Asked whether he was preparing for similar pitches during an Ashes series expected to be dominated by two high-class seam attacks, Root replied: "I hope not.

"You have to find ways of coping with that. It was extreme in this game. From a batting point of view, it's hard to take too much out of it."

Although England rested World Cup heroes such as Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler for the Ireland match, Root conceded players like himself who stayed on for the quick change in formats were feeling "knackered".

"It's been 10 weeks of hard cricket, of high emotion, of ups and downs. It does take a lot out of you," he added.

"You have to suck it up and get on with it. It's not been perfect, but we've dealt with it pretty well.

"We've never been in a position where we've won a World Cup, so for half the side to be part of that and then very quickly adjust to Test cricket is unusual.

"You've never been in that position before, so it's hard to know how you're going to cope."

England seamers Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad tore through Ireland at Lord's on Friday to end a remarkable Test match where seam bowlers dominated.

Needing 182 for a historic maiden victory in cricket's longest format, Ireland were blown away as they subsided to 38 all out.

It meant England escaped with a remarkable win despite also failing to reach three figures in their first innings and needing nightwatchman Jack Leach to produce their most substantial batting contribution.

Whether it made for useful Ashes preparation is up for debate, but a Test played out in fast forward unquestionably made for compelling viewing.

 

A win without foundation

Before lunch was served on the first day, England's hopes of victory were in tatters. Playing on his home ground, Middlesex veteran Tim Murtagh earned himself a place on the fabled honours board with an imperious 5-13.

England's collapse to 85 all out was their lowest at home since Glenn McGrath's stunning 8-38 dismissed them for 77 at Lord's in 1997.

They escaped with a draw on that occasion and this win marks only the 13th time in Test history – and fifth since 1935 – that a team has managed to claim victory despite being dismissed for below 100 in their first innings.

Jack of all trades

Selected for his dependable left-arm spin, Jack Leach walked away with the man-of-the-match award after a diligently compiled 92 in the second innings gave some of his much-vaunted England colleagues a lesson in application at the crease.

Indeed, Leach's total was more than the 87 skipper Joe Root, Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Moeen Ali and the pair-bagging Jonny Bairstow could manage between them in the match. It was also only the second fifty in 2019 for an England Test opener.

England's out-of-sorts batsmen might be encouraged by Leach demonstrating how form can turn around at an unexpected moment. The highest score of his first-class career came after 19 innings without reaching double digits.

Wondrous Woakes loving Lord's 

Some observers believe two Tests every year at Lord's gives English cricket's HQ an unfair slice of the pie but, if Chris Woakes had his way, England would probably never play anywhere else.

The Warwickshire all-rounder put a lacklustre first-innings outing behind him to demolish Ireland with a masterful display of seam and swing. Woakes' eventual figures of 6-17 mean he has 24 Lord's wickets at an average of 9.75 – the third best of any seamer at a single venue.

For context, the 30-year-old's overall Test analysis is 78 wickets at 31.06. All three of his five-wicket hauls - along with one tally of 10 in a match - have come at Lord's, where he scored his maiden and so-far only Test century against India last August.

Irish dreams shattered

When captain Will Porterfield and James McCollum emerged to start the Ireland chase, victory and history appeared within reach.

But 15.4 brutal overs later it was all over. McCollum was the only visiting batsman to reach double figures second time around as Ireland posted the seventh-worst score in Test history and the lowest ever at Lord's.

Joe Root felt England gave a timely demonstration of their calm under pressure after blowing Ireland away at Lord's on Friday.

Set 182 for a historic maiden Test victory, the visitors crumbled to 38 all out – Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad sharing all 10 wickets in a masterful demonstration of seam and swing in helpful conditions.

It meant England's blushes were spared after a dismal 85 all out on the first morning left them staring at a humiliating defeat.

"I know that that was a lot of runs on this surface," Root said at the post-match presentation, before alluding to last year's dramatic win over India in similar circumstance at Edgbaston – the venue for next week's first Ashes Test against Australia.

"We've been in this position before, we found ourselves in a similar position at Edgbaston last year so we knew that we'd been able to manage a similar sort of scenario.

"I think it was important that we stayed calm, in control of what we wanted to do and asked the right questions - and that's exactly what we did."

Woakes' Test-best figures of 6-17 extended his phenomenal record at Lord's, while Broad's 4-19 wrought further torment upon the overmatched Ireland batting order.

"Both me and Woakesy would roll these conditions up today and take them everywhere with us," Broad told BBC Sport. "You fancy defending anything in these conditions.

"The biggest part of this match was us picking up 10 wickets on day one because if Ireland had got a huge lead that would have been it.

"A lot has happened in two and a half days!"

Ireland captain Will Porterfield called on his Test rookies to take lessons from an ultimately bruising experience that promised so much.

"It all happened pretty quickly - they exploited the overcast conditions," he said.

"All the dismissals were lbw, bowled or caught by slip or keeper - the exact dismissals a bowling side is looking for on that pitch in these conditions.

"It's a big learning curve for the lads."

Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad ripped through Ireland at Lord's to spare England from a humiliating Test defeat on the eve of the Ashes.

Woakes continued his superb record on the ground with 6-17 as the visitors were bundled out for a paltry 38 – the seventh-lowest completed innings score in Test history – and England won by 143 runs, despite collapsing to 85 all out themselves on the first morning.

The Warwickshire all-rounder now has three five-wicket hauls at Lord's, with 24 scalps overall at 9.75 at English cricket's HQ and his Friday spell served as a timely re-stating of his Ashes credentials, following a lacklustre first-innings outing.

Broad chipped in with 4-19 before Woakes uprooted Tim Murtagh's leg stump to wrap up a torturous 15.4 overs for Ireland on a day that had promised so much for the Test rookies.

Murtagh's mastery of helpful bowling conditions on day one put a first victory in the longest format at the third time of asking on the cards for Will Porterfield's side, and that remained the case when Stuart Thompson (3-44) bowled Olly Stone with the first ball of day three.

It meant England were 303 all out and the ultimately unchallenged victory target was 182.

The opening stand of 11 between Porterfield and James McCollum was Ireland's biggest, with a sharp catch behind from Jonny Bairstow off Woakes dismissing the captain to start the procession.

Porterfield's opposite number Joe Root claimed four slip catches, helping Broad see off first-innings half-centurion Andy Balbirnie and Woakes to dismiss McCollum – the only Irishman to reach double figures second time around.

McCollum's wicket was the first of three to go with the score on 24, as Broad pinned Kevin O'Brien plumb in front and Woakes successfully reviewed an lbw appeal against Gary Wilson.

By that time the dangerous Paul Stirling had departed bowled without scoring – his decision to aim a booming drive at Woakes a particularly foolhardy stroke in a match packed with them.

The tail offered scant resistance, with Woakes and Broad's brilliance bailing out their under-par batting colleagues and allowing England to head into their latest duel against Australia with blushes spared.

Pakistan seamer Mohammad Amir has retired from Test cricket at the age of 27.

The left-armer has played 36 Tests from his debut in July 2009 but, 10 years on, he has decided to quit his international career in the longest format.

Amir was handed a five-year ban and jailed in 2011 for his part in a spot-fixing scandal after bowling deliberate no-balls against England, returning to international action against New Zealand in January 2016.

He will focus on limited-overs matches and explained this was the reason for his early Test retirement.

"It has been an honour to represent Pakistan in the pinnacle and traditional format of the game," Amir said in a statement.

"I, however, have decided to move away from the longer version so I can concentrate on white-ball cricket.

"Playing for Pakistan remains my ultimate desire and objective, and I will try my best to be in the best physical shape to contribute in the team's upcoming challenges, including next year's T20 World Cup.

"It has not been an easy decision to make and I have been thinking about this for some time.

"But with the World Test Championship commencing shortly, and Pakistan boasting some very exciting young fast bowlers, it is appropriate that I call on my time in Test cricket so that the selectors can plan accordingly."

Pakistan Cricket Board managing director Wasim Khan added: "Amir has been one of the most exciting and talented left-arm fast bowlers in Test cricket in recent times.

"He overcame adversity as a young cricketer and came back stronger not only as a cricketer but also as a better human being.

"His skill, on the field, and his personality will be missed in the dressing room in the longer format.

"However, we respect his decision and look forward to him continuing to play an integral role in white ball cricket for Pakistan."

Amir claimed 119 wickets and scored 751 runs in his Test career, taking 6-44 in his best bowling innings against West Indies in 2017.

Pakistan will play their World Test Championship opener against Sri Lanka in October.

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