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Bayliss has 'fingers crossed' for Stoneman and Malan's Ashes chances

297   //    30 Aug 2017, 22:31 IST
MalanStoneman - cropped
England batsmen Dawid Malan (L) and Mark Stoneman (R) against West Indies

Trevor Bayliss has seen positive signs that Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan could be long-term fixes in England's batting order after the pair each registered half-centuries against West Indies.

The tourists won by five wickets at Headingley to level the series 1-1, thanks in no small part to Shai Hope racking up three figures in both innings - a unique feat in first-class matches at Leeds.

However, shoots of positivity for England came in the form of Stoneman's 52 and Malan's 61 in the second innings as England reached 490-8 before Joe Root declared to set West Indies 322 to win.

Tom Westley's long-term prospects remain uncertain after he returned three and eight in the second Test, but he will be given another chance in the Lord's series decider.

Ever cautious, Bayliss at least believes that the search for a new opening partner for Alastair Cook and number five can be put to rest for now.

"More than anything, they both started to look comfortable at the crease - if that's possible in a Test match," Bayliss told reporters.

"Certainly, Mark looks like a tough type of player to me. He looks like he's ready for a scrap the whole time but when the bad ball comes along he's able to put it away.

"I thought that was the impressive thing throughout our second innings, we were very watchful and wanted to bat for a long time.

"Dawid has a couple of sixties now. He looked a bit nervous in that first one but I thought he was starting to look more comfortable in this Test match."

On the pair's Ashes chances, Bayliss said: "This last Test match was another opportunity for them to really nail it down and they've started to look comfortable.

"They can both play off the back foot so the signs are looking good but, as you know, we've said that before and we've had to change after a few more matches, so I've still got the fingers crossed for them."

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