Joe Root has high hopes for his England side - but there are still places up for grabs

Victory by 177 runs at Old Trafford, confirmed with another five-wicket haul by man of the series Moeen Ali, gave Root a 3-1 verdict in his first series in charge of the Test side.

But with just three months to go before the first Ashes Test at the Gabba he also conceded he is still unsure of his best line-up for Australia. 

“Hopefully it’s the start of something,” said Root. “It’s going to take time to develop if we want to be more consistent and make sure we keep challenging the best teams in the world.

“But we can try and harness that mentality that we’ve in the back end of this series and hopefully repeat it over and over again, that will stand us in good stead.” 

England will announce the squad for the first Test against West Indies on Friday and two of the top five batting slots appear up for grabs with Keaton Jennings and Dawid Malan vulnerable.

We’re still looking for guys to put their hands up

Coach Trevor Bayliss said: “There are spots that will be discussed.

"I would like a few more runs at the top of the order and we’re still looking for guys to put their hands up - that’s no secret.” 

The England captain added: “We have three more Tests before we go to Australia and that is something that will be an opportunity for whoever gets the chance to play.” 

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No such doubts surround Moeen who confirmed his growing reputation - one which Bayliss insisted saw him on his way to becoming a “world class” talent.

Root was also in no doubt how important he has become to his future plans.

“Moeen has put in some unbelievable performances to win games for us in this series and hopefully that can be something that can be repeated on a number of occasions in the future.

“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.” 

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis admitted he was “disappointed” with his side’s performances this summer but praised England as a strong and improving side.

He also appeared to confirm the news that England bowling coach Ottis Gibson will be confirmed as South Africa’s new head coach in the next few days.

“I have asked the England team [about Gibson] and they have given me positive feedback and said positive things,” said du Plessis. “But we have to get to learn about each other first.” 

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August 08, 2017

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