England coach Trevor Bayliss has warned his Ashes winners that some of their places are in jeopardy following the fifth Test thrashing by Australia.
After the high of regaining the Ashes in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge, Alastair Cook's side had hoped to celebrate by giving the Australians one last kicking, but instead they were crushed by an innings and 46 runs in four days at The Oval. (Also read: England's future excites Cook | 'Clarke is on par with Allan Border')
It was a downbeat end to a rollercoaster series for England, who at times looked a talented team on the rise and at others surrendered without a fight.
Amid the post-match jubilation after the presentation of the Ashes urn, Bayliss struck a note of warning as he made it clear that the selectors won't be shy of making changes ahead of forthcoming tours against Pakistan and then South Africa.
"We aren't going to paper over the cracks, we've got a few areas where we've got to be better and a few positions we need to be stronger in," Bayliss said.
"Those tours are going to be very difficult. To have sustained success you need good depth," added Bayliss, the first Australian to coach England.
"I'm not sure of the depth that is there. We have a lot of fast bowling depth, spinners and batters I'm not so sure about.
"It's a chance for players in country cricket to stand up."
England opener Adam Lyth has looked especially out of his depth, having scored just 115 runs in nine innings this Ashes at an average of 12.77.
Bayliss hinted the 27-year-old was unlikely to retain his place when England head to the United Arab Emirates for the Pakistan series.
"There is a selection meeting in a few weeks and I'm sure that will be one of the positions looked at," Bayliss said.
"We all wish him well going forward and I'm sure he will play again at some stage."
- Vacancy -
With Lyth unlikely to feature against Pakistan, there is a vacancy to partner Cook at the top of the order.
Moeen Ali, the England spinner who batted down the order at The Oval, and Nottinghamshire's Alex Hales have been touted as potential openers.
Bayliss said Ali would be considered for the role because it would allow England to play two spinners on the slow UAE pitches, potentially opening up a place for leg-break bowler Adil Rashid.
"Possibly yes, it won't come as a surprise that in the UAE playing two spinners will be at the forefront of our thinking," Bayliss said.
"We have to work out how we are going to make that happen. Moeen can play in a few positions."
Ian Bell's admission that he plans to take stock of his future before committing to the forthcoming tours is a concern given the lack of experience in a youthful England squad.
But Cook is confident the Warwickshire batsman will remain on board.
"Ian is a wonderful player. It's been such an emotional time over the last 10 days, everyone is pretty tired, so what you say in an interview now might not be what you really believe. I hope Belly is around for the next few years," Cook said.
Although the Ashes continued a growing trend of Test teams struggling when playing away from home, Cook is confident England are developing into a side capable of thriving in all environments.
Playing down the loss of the final Test as an inevitable comedown from the high of winning the Ashes, Cook said: "Of course we would have loved to win 4-1 rather than 3-2, but all the time it's been about winning three games to win the Ashes.
"The mind has such a powerful effect. We were off the pace in this game but I'm not going to worry too much if I'm brutally honest.
"The conditions will be a lot different on tour, so you have to look at the balance of the side.
"We are still growing so there will be some dark days in the future but some really good days as well."