England coach Trevor Bayliss says Ashes places are still up for grabs with a new generation of top-order batsmen yet to fully cement their places in the team.
Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan played their part in the series victory over the West Indies, which was clinched by a nine-wicket win inside three days at Lord’s on Saturday.
However, questions remain over their readiness to face Australia in their own backyard.
Bayliss has indicated they remain in pole position, although the likes of Alex Hales, Keaton Jennings, Haseeb Hameed and Gary Ballance should not give up hope just yet.
He said: “That’s the big question, whether the three guys we have been speaking about all summer have done enough.
“They have shown they are good enough. But are they good enough for long enough? Are they tough enough, especially for an Ashes series?
“We will be discussing other players we have had in the team over the last 12-18 months. They will get a hearing, but it will be hard to go past these three guys.”
Asked if the batting line-up for the Ashes tour had been decided, Bayliss replied: “Not 100 per cent, but I am sure when we sit down in a week or two to discuss that squad, we will be talking about batters that have played for us in the last 12 to 18 months.
“There are another two or three county matches to play, and that will be a factor too.
“I think our opposition in the Ashes is far from stable either.”
Westley and Stoneman are among a group of players who will now link up with their counties, but Alastair Cook and bowler Jimmy Anderson will take a break while Stuart Broad is to undergo a scan on the heel injury which hampered him during the third and final Test.
The search for a long-term partner for opener Cook as well as numbers three and five remain priorities, but Bayliss is convinced the right candidate for at least one of those positions is already firmly on board in the shape of skipper Joe Root.
He said: “I would always have him at three. Joe is comfortable batting at four … [but] I think he will end up at three at some stage in the future.
“He is by far our best player, and personally I believe that is where your best player should be.”
England will head Down Under on the back of home series victories over South Africa and the Windies, and determined to return with the urn still in their possession despite having issues to address.
Bayliss said: “We are not going over to make up the numbers. We are going to leave here with a view to win, simple as that.”