Stuart Broad had M Vijay caught behind, but the umpire didn’t notice the edge © AFP
The England coach Trevor Bayliss admitted his team had been “totally outplayed” by India on the fourth day in Chennai as they conceded the largest total in their history.
And Bayliss, who leaves the tour on Monday night to return to Australia for a hernia operation, conceded such a chastening day might influence Alastair Cook as he reflects on whether he wants to continue as England captain.
Criticising England’s bowling and catching, Bayliss, who has supervised the fielding training for the last 18 months in the absence of a specialist fielding coach, also suggested there was a lack of captaincy experience in the squad should Cook decide to step down but agreed that Joe Root was the “leading candidate.”
“We got totally outplayed today, for sure,” Bayliss said. “We just weren’t in the game today.
“You’ve got to give credit to the Indian batters, who played extremely well. But at times we struggled to bowl to the fields that the captain had set. That just makes it very difficult.
“Our catching is still below par – I think the last three catches we’ve dropped have only cost us 500 – and that’s disappointing and something we’ve got to keep working on. There’s no short cut to that – we’ve just got to do a lot of it. We’re a team that probably haven’t got a lot of natural athletes. We’ve got some very good cricketers but we haven’t got a lot of slippers. We’ve just got to get better. It’s as simple as that.”
Asked whether such a tough day could have a bearing on Cook’s decision, Bayliss said “possibly” but stated that he would not attempt to persuade him either way.
“That’s a decision only he will know the answer to,” he said. “He’s done it for so long, whether I say yes or no, it won’t change his mind whether he keeps going or stops. I’m not big on the technology, but I’m sure we’ll speak on the phone at some stage over Christmas.
“If he keeps going, fantastic; if he stops, that’s up to him, and I’ve got no problems with that either. I won’t actually sit down to have a chat with him. We’ve got six or seven months till our next Test match, so there’s plenty of time for him to have a think about it.
“I don’t think there’s too many of our players who’ve actually captained too many teams, or any of their county teams.
“Joe Root has done a few games on tour, when Cookie’s had a bit of time off or when he’s off the ground. Joe is obviously our number one bat, and is highly-respected by the players. He’s one of those guys who leads by example, and I can’t see that being any different when and if he takes over … if he takes over, I suppose, because we haven’t actually made that decision either.
“That will come next if Cookie does step down. But he seems like he’s the leading candidate at this stage.”
If it seems odd that Bayliss is leaving the tour slightly early – it was unclear why he could not wait the extra day – it is in part because he wishes to return for the limited-overs leg having made a full recovery. He is scheduled to miss the Caribbean tour in February and March.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo