Jonny Bairstow’s red ball return signals happier times with England | England v India 2021
The third ball that Jonny Bairstow faced at Trent Bridge last week was an inswinger and he hit it to no avail when he passed it and into the goalkeeper’s gloves. Looking down the wicket at the bowler’s retreating form, with silent intensity, it was possible he was trying to glance at the ball in the bowler’s hand. It was, after all, the first red he had seen in a game this season.
Bairstow’s performance in the first test suggested two things. First, that there is nothing wrong with his color vision. And second, that he may be on the verge of making a massive comeback. The drummer did not offer less on Wednesday, when he positively vibrated with joie de vivre. It was nice to spend some decent time in the crease, he said. “If I keep doing what I was doing over these two rounds – continue with this method, this approach and this mindset – I hope there will be a pretty big one coming soon.”
Going from the hundred to a test match isn’t so much a change of gears as it is a rally car swap for a Rolls-Royce, but Bairstow made the switch easier than many of the English hitters. One evening he was “trying to hit as many balls in the River Taff” as he could. The next day – after a 150 mile drive to Loughborough and a mandatory Covid test – he faced Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson in the net with the Dukes’ ball. “It was, obviously, slightly different,” he said with a chuckle.
The key, he says, was managing your own expectations: “I was happy, yeah. I was happy. “He only had 59 points in the opening test, but they were important. The Yorkshireman stayed beside Joe Root as an emotional support animal in both innings, quietly helping the captain English to get his team out of trouble.
It was a quieter, quieter Bairstow than the one-day version, just playing a slow role while Root took care of the running. He took his chance, just a little. Pressing for the first innings, a throw from the depths would have brought him out halfway up the pitch had he gone to the right end. He cut and missed Ravi Jadeja’s spin and there was enough screaming from lbw to persuade India’s fast bowlers that he is still vulnerable on the right ball.
There was also a lot to admire. When he came out in the second set, England effectively had 40 points for three and Mohammed Siraj looked more deadly than he had the whole game. It was a real brawl and a Bairstow might have considered himself the winner until he played a hook at 30. It wasn’t until his eyes followed the ball in its path to the deep square leg that he spotted the fielder at that spot.
Much like Moeen Ali, Bairstow returned to Test by flying high from the Hundred. Captain of his team gave him wings. It’s a role he says he’s “very much enjoyed and really enjoyed” which will offer Gary Kirsten little comfort given that England, rather than the Welsh Fire coach, are set to reap it. the fruits.
Bairstow led forward in the first two games of the new tournament, dancing around his crease and stretching into the ball with enough power to cause blunt trauma. At times his open-chest stance has resembled Captain America battling for a throw with a Nazi super-soldier and there’s a look on his face that suggests he may, indeed, be doing this all day.
Signs that Bairstow is back in dangerous form have lurked in plain sight. In June, his superheroism extended to a century of 48 bullets to one leg, injuring his ankle during a Blast round against Worcestershire. England coach Chris Silverwood noted he looked as happy as at any time in the past two years.
“It was difficult, wasn’t it?” Bairstow said, reflecting on a time that hasn’t always been easy for him. “There have been a lot of different cricket, a lot of changing circumstances.”
In February, he gave up a Big Bash League salary to reclaim his test spot against Sri Lanka, averaging 46 in both test series. It was “a good trip” and he liked to hit at No. 3, but then there were three ducks in four innings on the India tour.
Bairstow remains phlegmatic about those scores, pointing out that at the tough corner wickets, no one on either side has scored big points. And while he was once again moved by the order, he looks genuinely excited to be back in an intermediate order that has spent a lot of time at the crease with each other over the years.
“It’s something we can hang on to,” he said. “There are some very pleasant experiences of beating together. Being able to remember those experiences and savor those partnerships is something we can certainly laugh at before and during. [the Test]. “
Bairstow is a player who likes to be needed and England, with his fragile top-notch stick, need him now. Don’t bet against the big and fast enough.