Trevor Bayliss is confident England’s series win in Sri Lanka is the beginning of a “different era” that will comfortably outlive his own tenure as head coach.
Victories in Galle and Kandy have given the tourists a 2-0 lead heading into the final Test in Colombo, ending a near three-year wait for overseas success.
Finding a winning formula away from home has been the major challenge of Bayliss’ time at the helm, with only one of his previous six Test tours ending in triumph: a memorable but anomalous 2015-16 trip to South Africa.
Joe Root’s captaincy has hit a new stride as he begins to shape the ethos in his own image, while the likes of Sam Curran, Ben Foakes and Rory Burns have broken into the side in impressive style.
The retirement of Alastair Cook, the country’s record cap-holder and run-scorer, might easily have ushered in a period of uncertainty but Bayliss has seen the dressing room evolve quickly.
“This group are all, apart from one or two, fairly close in age, they’re good mates and they all seem to be responding to Joe’s call,” he said.
“We’ve come upon two or three guys that have a good possibility of having long careers for England.”
Bayliss, though, is not in it for the long haul. Asked if recent developments tempted him to stick around longer than planned, he was unmoved.
“I’ve always been of the opinion, even before I started the England job, that four to five years is a good life for a coach with one team,” he said.
“Hopefully you take it forward but then it’s up to a new voice, maybe someone of a different direction to take the team forward. I’ve always been of that opinion and that’s not going to change.”
“Hopefully this is a learning curve for these guys. I look forward to watching the next series in India on TV,” he added with a smile.
Of more immediate concern is the make-up of the XI that will attempt to complete a series sweep in Colombo, with the third Test starting on Friday.
Curran suffered a side strain in Kandy and could sit out, with Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Olly Stone all angling for his place.
Jonny Bairstow is also hoping to feature after being kept on the sidelines thus far, first by injury, then by the emergence of Foakes.
“I think in Test cricket it’s about trying to pick the best team every time to win every match,” said Bayliss.