England 'not there to make up numbers', says coach Bayliss
|Australia v England: First Ashes Test|
|Venue: Gabba, Brisbane Dates: 23-27 November Time: 00:00 GMT|
|Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.|
Coach Trevor Bayliss has told England fans “don’t miss a ball” of the Ashes series because his side are not in Australia to “make up the numbers”.
The tourists, beaten 5-0 four years ago, will look to end the Australians’ 29-year unbeaten record in Brisbane when the first Test begins on Thursday.
“We are here to win,” Bayliss told BBC Sport. “The boys are nice and confident and they are looking forward to it.”
England hold the Ashes after a 3-2 win at home in 2015.
That was Australian Bayliss’ first series in charge after succeeding Peter Moores as head coach. Now the 54-year-old is leading England in his homeland for the first time.
“I know some of the guys in the opposition team, but I’m sure they fully respect that I’ve got a job to do,” he said.
“I liken it to playing backyard cricket against your brothers and your best mates.
“It was full on in the backyard, but you walked away as mates. I’m sure the same will occur after the five Tests.”
England struggled on the concluding day of their drawn final warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI, taking only one wicket as Jason Sangha and Matthew Short both hit maiden first-class centuries.
That came the day after Australia named a surprising squad for the first Test, with wicketkeeper Tim Paine recalled after a seven-year absence, despite not taking the gloves for his domestic side Tasmania this season.
“There were a few surprises I suppose, but they are all very good players and I’m sure it will be very a tough series,” said Bayliss.
“Selection is a very hard job and you won’t get it exactly right every time. It’s hard unless you’re around the selection table to know how the conversation gets to certain players.
“We have 11 players to play next week, who are all very good players. They will have to do very well in order to win.”