Big hitting and Headingley heroics – Jonny Bairstow’s best Test moments

By Sports Desk March 01, 2024

Jonny Bairstow is set to become the 17th member of England’s 100 Test club after head coach Brendon McCullum confirmed the Yorkshireman will feature against India in Dharamsala next week.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of Bairstow’s best moments as a Test cricketer.

South Africa v England, January 2016, Cape Town

 

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Bairstow had a number of false dawns, including a sparkling 95 in his fourth Test against the same opposition. Four years and 18 Tests later, Bairstow had his first international hundred but it was worth the wait. This Test is remembered for Ben Stokes going supersonic but Bairstow was no shrinking violet and contributed 150 not out to a world-record stand of 399 for the sixth wicket. A couple of days before the anniversary of the death of his father David – a former England and Yorkshire cricketer – Bairstow junior cemented his spot as a Test regular. Afterwards, he said: “I was thinking of my dad, my grandfather, who passed away last year, and my family – that was for those guys.”

England v Sri Lanka, May 2016, Leeds

Where else but Headingley should one of Yorkshire’s favourite sons make his first Test ton at home? England were teetering on 83 for five against opponents who shocked them two years earlier. Bairstow riding to the rescue was a common theme in 2016 – his 1,470 runs remain the most by a wicketkeeper in a calendar year – and England never looked back after his swaggering 140 in 183 balls. Bairstow hit another hundred at Lord’s with an unbeaten 167 as England romped to a 2-0 series win.

Sri Lanka v England, November 2018, Colombo

An ankle injury sustained in a football warm-up had the knock-on consequence of Bairstow surrendering the wicketkeeping gloves for a few months to Ben Foakes. Restored to the side as a specialist batter for the final Test and into England’s problem number three position, Bairstow defied Sri Lanka’s coterie of spinners and peeled off a masterful 110. Upon reaching three figures, a red-faced Bairstow let out an emotional roar and later hit out at those who had “castigated” him for the nature of his injury. Bairstow’s push up the order was short-lived but he helped England seal a famous 3-0 series whitewash.

England v New Zealand, June 2022, Trent Bridge

A career that had blown more cold than hot showed signs of flickering with a battling hundred in the previous winter’s Ashes that effectively spared England another 5-0 defeat. A lack of role clarity could perhaps partially explain Bairstow’s shortcomings but there was no second guessing what Stokes and McCullum wanted from him. Chasing 299 and with New Zealand resorting to bowling short, Stokes told Bairstow: “Don’t even think about trying to hit one down. Hit it into the stands.” Bairstow obliged in jaw-dropping fashion with seven sixes in a 77-ball hundred which threatened Gilbert Jessop’s long-standing record. After a run of low scores, Bairstow helped England over the line in emphatic fashion.

England v India, July 2022, Edgbaston

With a run of indifferent scores currently – he is yet to reach 40 in India – it cannot be forgotten Bairstow established himself as the early poster boy for the Stokes-McCullum era. After his Nottingham heroics, he blitzed another mammoth century at his beloved Headingley before his magnum opus in this format in Birmingham. Fired up by Virat Kohli’s sledging, Bairstow thumped 106 first time around in a Test rearranged from the previous summer. Then he and fellow Yorkie Joe Root put on an unbroken 269 as England eased to a national record chase of 378. Bairstow made an unbeaten 114, his sixth and final century of an astonishing 2022, where he averaged 66.31 before suffering an untimely badly broken leg.

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