alastair cook must have found it lonely at times over the past few years. A drop in form coincided with poor results for England and his captaincy came seriously under threat.

Isolated throughout Peter Moores' failed second stint and with former captains and fans alike calling for his head, #Cook could not even find solace out in the middle.

England's record run scorer and the man with the most hundreds is often underrated by many in the cricketing world.

Arguably the most effective run scorer in English history, he has too often been let down by his opening partners.

The cry from pundits and commentators for England to give chances to those based on form has been heard by the selectors, but after five unsuccessful years, who do they turn to next?

Alex Hales and Nick Compton are the only two to have made it to double figures in terms of tests played, with 11 and 10 matches respectively.

Sam Robson, Jonathan Trott, Adam Lyth, Moeen Ali, Michael Carberry, Ben Duckett, Haseeb Hameed, Keaton Jennings and even current Test captain Joe Root have been trialled and failed at the top of the order in the last five years.

Technical flaws have often been found out - not exclusively to the list above or just those trying to open - and exposed with an alarming quickness, often after flashes and glimpses of run-scoring ability.

Run-scoring pedigree, not a guarantee

It may be time to accept that run-scoring pedigree in the domestic game is not a guarantee on the international circuit - see Graeme Hick and Mark Ramprakash - and England could be well-served to turn back to tried and tested stars who have made runs for their country.

Eoin Morgan has performed admirably as captain of the white ball sides and had a decent spell in the test side, while Jos Buttler can score runs at an alarming rate and will only get better once his temperament is sorted out.

Buttler is certainly young enough to have a good international career, even with the red ball, while Morgan could well thrive in a middle order who he is accustomed to playing with.

The attacking nature that England have decided to go for in all forms of international cricket has been rightly questioned, but many international sides are struggling to put together any form of run chase on the fifth day of any test - and this may well be a wider problem.

Trevor Bayliss, Root and the selectors could do a lot worse than pick internationally-experienced players to try and finally implement some stability into a side that appears to be merely papering over the cracks.

Inconsistencies beginning to be noticed

The inconsistencies of the team's performances - their last nine test wins on home soil have been followed up immediately by defeats - are beginning to be noticed.

Paul Farbrace has successfully overseen England's fortunes reversal in ODIs yet in the shadows of the test failures - and successes - Bayliss has so far escaped any criticism.

The accusation can be levelled that the coach is living off the players' abilities, but then arguably the same can be said of any coach.

Alastair Cook and Joe Root are world class batsman, Ben Stokes is approaching world class status and is one of the most feared all-rounders in the world, whilst Stuart Broad and James Anderson are still capable of those devastating spells that win test matches in the space of one or two sessions.

However, England are not the feared, effective team who ground out wins and salvaged draws - see #Cook and Trott's incredible last day stand in Brisbane 2010 - under andrew strauss and Andy Flower.

The current series against South Africa is the epitome of England's time under #Bayliss. They have failed to put together any form of consistency and once the Ashes are over at the beginning of next year, #Bayliss' position may well be under threat.