Trevor Bayliss vows not to let series win '˜paper over cracks'

England wrapped up an emphatic Test series win over South Africa with another grandstand finish from Moeen Ali but Trevor Bayliss warned a 3-1 scoreline would not 'paper over the cracks' in their batting.

Moeen Ali, left, celebrates with Stuart Broad as England beat South Africa at Old Trafford. Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Having finished the Proteas off at the Oval with a hat-trick, Moeen was at it again at Old Trafford, claiming for five for 69, including two in successive balls at the close, to secure the fourth Investec Test by 177 runs on day four.

In doing so he became the first player in Test history to take 25 wickets and score 250 runs in a four-Test series.

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A first home series victory over the Proteas in 19 years represents a strong effort for Joe Root’s maiden outing as England captain but with just three months and three West Indies Tests to go before the start of the Ashes in Australia, there are tough questions to answer in the top five.

Keaton Jennings looks highly likely to be stood down after a torrid series, Tom Westley made a strong impression but modest statistics at No 3 and Dawid Malan’s early efforts were far from convincing.

“It’s always a good thing that you’re winning but we’re not papering over the cracks,” said Bayliss. “We know there are some spots which haven’t been cemented down and we’re still looking for those guys to prove their worth at this level.”

Asked if the make-up of the batting order was closer to being settled now than it was at the outset, the Australian offered: “To be honest. no.

“We’ve got a selection meeting later this week but I’m not going to speculate who might or might not be in the team. Obviously there’s a few spots that will be discussed.”

Moeen’s position, needless to say, has never been stronger.

“Look, no doubt he’s our number one spinner,” said Bayliss.

“We’re all hoping he turns into a world-class spinner. What he’s done in this series puts him well on the way.”

Root will have been more thankful than anyone to have had the Worcestershire all-rounder on hand on his maiden voyage as skipper.

The captain said. “He is definitely improving all the time.

“I said at the start of this series it’s a great opportunity for guys in that bracket of 30-plus Test matches to stand up and become more senior. He’s definitely taken that on and put in some brilliant performances.

“Hopefully it’s not just a one-off series and he can go on now and do it again and again. It’s great to see Moeen step up and put in some unbelievable performances to win games 
for us. Hopefully that can be something that can be repeated on a number of occasions in the future.”

As for his own feelings on the captaincy, Root was keen to look forward.

He said: “It’s been very enjoyable the majority of the time. There was a week that wasn’t quite as much fun as the other three, but that is all part and parcel of being a captain.

“I learnt a lot throughout. It’s the start of something.”

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis cut a weary figure on his final engagement of a tour that started way back on May 19th at Hove.

His side have been under strength on a number of fronts in that period, with Dale Steyn absent throughout, Vernon Philander constantly battling injury and a handful of South African players enjoying strong seasons in county cricket on Kolpak contracts.

His predecessor as captain, the brilliant AB de Villiers, opted out of the Test leg and Du Plessis suggested he may never again don Test whites.

“We all know how good AB is, and we missed him, but we’ve spent too much time talking about ‘when is AB going to come back?’,” said Du Plessis.

“The hope of him coming back is something I think we need to move past... and we need to find someone else who can fulfil those roles.

“Obviously, you don’t just replace those players. If AB comes back it’s a huge bonus... but I don’t expect it.”