Jonny Bairstow could not hide his emotions after crafting his second century in as many Tests for England against New Zealand, but the message that prompted his innings at Headingley was simple.

Bairstow arrived at the crease with the score at 21-4 in front of his home Yorkshire crowd, with Trent Boult and Tim Southee having ran through the England top order on Friday.

Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes followed soon after to leave the hosts reeling at 55-6, before debutant Jamie Overton and Bairstow combined in a record seventh-wicket Test stand for England at Headingley.

The pair put on 209 runs in just 37.1 overs to leave England trailing the Black Caps first-innings score by 65 after Bairstow posted his second Test century on his home ground.

Indeed, it was not the first time New Zealand have been frustrated by Bairstow, who plundered the second-fastest Test century in England's history at Trent Bridge in the second Test of the three-match series.

Bairstow revealed he had joked about recreating the Trent Bridge innings, where he combined with captain Stokes in imperious fashion, after the pair were brought together with wickets tumbling in Leeds.

"'Fancy doing another Trent Bridge?' was the first thing we said. That was it. OK, let's crack on," Bairstow told Sky Sports.

"Sometimes it's a simple game we complicate. We're trying to strip back that complicated nature of it back. Allow people to go out and express themselves, also as personalities.

"We talk about growing the game and you grow the game by showing people your personality.

"It was good craic. It feels amazing. This place means so much to me, being a Yorkshire lad scoring a Test 100 at home is pretty special. My family and my mates are here as well.

"Every time you score a Test hundred it's emotional. You know what I'm like, it means so much for me to play Test cricket for England. That's the kind of guy I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve. That's not always everyone's cup of tea."

Bairstow also had plenty of praise to dish out to his partner in crime Overton.

"For Jamie [Overton] to play the way he did, on debut, under pressure, to have the confidence to play as he did against this New Zealand attack, that is exceptional," he added.

Bairstow will resume on day three unbeaten on 130, while Overton is just 11 runs shy of marking his Test debut with a century as England look to complete a series whitewash.

Headingley hero Jonny Bairstow and new boy Jamie Overton dug England out of trouble on a sensational second day of the third Test against New Zealand.

Playing on his home ground, Yorkshireman Bairstow scored a breathtaking 130 not out, forging an unlikely and unbroken alliance worth 209 runs for the seventh wicket with Jamie Overton as England, in their first innings, recovered from 55-6 to reach 264-6 at stumps.

They were replying to New Zealand's 329 all out, in which Daryl Mitchell converted his overnight 78 not out into a third century of the series. That is the joint-most hundreds by any New Zealand player in a Test series, matching Andrew Jones' feat against Sri Lanka in 1991 and Ross Taylor's three against West Indies in 1993.

He was eventually out for 109, caught smartly by England captain Ben Stokes off Jack Leach (5-100), as New Zealand progressed from 225-5 at the start of play.

Getting close to that score looked beyond England when they made a dismal start in reply, the mercurial brilliance of Trent Boult accounting for the home side's top three as New Zealand's left-armer bowled Alex Lees, Ollie Pope and Zak Crawley.

It was a masterful demonstration of swing bowling, and the situation got no better for England as Joe Root fell for five, caught behind off Tim Southee, before Stokes (18) and Ben Foakes (0) were prised out by Neil Wagner.

Desperate times called for Bairstow brilliance, and the man whose late father David played so many matches on this Leeds ground delivered in remarkable style, driving, pulling and cutting as New Zealand struggled to contain him.

Bairstow drove Boult through mid-off to seal a 95-ball century, the second Test ton he has made at the ground after the 140 that set up an innings victory against Sri Lanka in 2016.

It was his second century of this series and a fourth in Tests for the 32-year-old since the turn of the year, after he also reached three figures against Australia. Across his career, it was a 10th Test ton.

Test newcomer Overton was exceptional too, unbeaten on 89 by the close, setting up what could be a pivotal Saturday.

England lead the three-match series 2-0, with Bairstow and Overton raising hopes of a clean sweep.

MARVEL MITCHELL

Before the Bairstow show began, the man of the day was Mitchell. He has enjoyed a stupendous series, reaching 482 runs from five innings so far.

That is the most runs scored by a New Zealand batter in a men's Test series against England, and Mitchell should get another crack in the second innings too. Centuries at Lord's, Trent Bridge and Headingley mean, even in defeat, he has been able to hold his head high.

WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY

From a position of peril, Bairstow and Overton took 37.1 overs to add over 200 runs. In the process they achieved England's first ever century partnership for the seventh wicket at Headingley, and then doubled it. Overton is in the side principally for his bowling but looked perfectly nequipped with bat in hand.

Bairstow's highest Test score is the 167 not out he scored against Sri Lanka at Lord's in June 2016, a matter of weeks after the Headingley ton against the same opposition. Going beyond that must be now in his sights.

Jonny Bairstow admits he feels vindication in choosing the Indian Premier League over County Championship cricket after his match-winning performance for England against New Zealand.

The Yorkshireman's blitz of a century, with 136 runs off 92 balls, was the centrepiece in a superb five-wicket win for the hosts on the final day at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.

It marked Bairstow's ninth Test hundred and third in 2022, to hand the hosts a 2-0 series advantage with one match to go on his home ground of Headingley, starting June 23.

But having faced criticism for his decision to duck out on the start of the domestic season to play IPL, the 32-year-old acknowledged he feels his call remained the right pick.

"A lot of people were saying I shouldn't be at the IPL and I should be playing county cricket," Bairstow said. "But you are playing against the best in the world at the IPL.

"Being able to have those gears, to be able to switch them up and switch them down, is important. People say it would be fantastic if you had four games of red-ball cricket under your belt.

"Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in the current scheduling of everything and we're very fortunate to be able to play in some of the best competitions against the best players in the world.

"When it comes to pressure situations, the more you're able to put yourself under pressure, the better.

"Because it's those situations that you've gone through in the past, whether that be in the IPL, in one-day cricket or in red-ball cricket, that you're able to call upon on evenings like that.

"Those opportunities and environments, whether they be for good or bad, are the things that [mean] you're able to produce performances like we as a group have done in this game, in the last game, and hopefully will do going forward."

Bairstow further reinforced he remains a passionate devotee of the long-form version of the game, adding: "The amount of pride that it gives me to play Test cricket for England, first and foremost, is huge.

"I'm hugely proud of the fact that sometimes when the chips are down, you have to stand up.

"That might be something that you're born with, it might be something that you have deep down that springs out of you at those moments. But as a cricketer, that's something I'm very proud of."

England will hope they can wrap up a clean sweep in their three-Test series when they meet New Zealand again at Headingley next week.

Their visitors will be facing a nervy wait on Michael Bracewell, however, after the all-rounder tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he will require five days of isolation beforehand.

The sky is the limit for England's Test team under the new leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, says Jonny Bairstow.

England claimed an emphatic five-wicket victory over New Zealand at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, thanks in large part to Bairstow's supreme performance.

Bairstow struck 136 off just 92 deliveries as he turned in one of the all-time great batting displays in red-ball cricket for England.

Indeed, his 77-ball century fell agonisingly short of matching Gilbert Jessop's 76-ball hundred at The Oval in 1902, which still stands as England's fastest Test ton.

The Yorkshireman's 136 was the highest fourth-innings score of any England batter coming in at five or lower, as he combined with captain Stokes to propel the hosts to victory with a 179-run fifth-wicket partnership.

While Bairstow's stand was eventually ended by Trent Boult, who took 3-94 for a New Zealand bowling attack devoid of the injured Kyle Jamieson, Stokes (75 not out) was on hand to hammer a four through the covers and wrap up the highest successful Test chase at Trent Bridge.

England won just one of their previous 17 Tests before Stokes replaced Joe Root – who starred in the first innings in Nottingham – as captain and former New Zealand skipper McCullum was appointed as coach. They now hold an unassailable 2-0 series lead heading to Leeds for next week's final match.

With 1,675 runs scored over the second Test – the most ever seen at Trent Bridge – Bairstow explained England approached day five as a one-day game, and he believes the team have the perfect balance to return to the top in the longest format.

"It was just great fun to be out there. It's one of those things, when you get in that kind of mood you've just got to go with it. It was do or die," he told Sky Sports.

"If you strip everything back and there's just you and the bowler there... that's the bit where sometimes cricket's so much more complicated, and it's complicated by us as players.

"When you strip it all back, you're just watching the ball – that is the zone you have to get into. Sometimes it can be tricky.

"When there's been so many runs scored in the game, I don't think you look at it as a record run chase, you look at it as an opportunity to go and chase down a total. We saw it as a one-day game – that's how we looked at it.

"I think the positive approach, the brand of cricket we're looking to play, the players we have in that dressing room are able to play that brand of cricket. I tell you what, days like this are very exciting. If this is happening now, let's see what happens in the next few weeks and next few months because it's going to be a journey."

Asked where his ninth Test century ranked among his other tons for England in the five-day game, Bairstow – who revealed his evening session onslaught was fuelled by a "cheese and ham toastie and a cup of coffee" – replied: "It's number one. I think it's tricky not to be number one, isn't it?

"There's been a lot of chatter around England's Test cricket, some of which has been a bit harsh. We've battled through different things. I'm hugely proud of the way the guys have gone about it in those few years, it's enabled us to get close as a group.

"If we're able to go forward as we have done, keep that momentum, keep it going, the sky is the limit."

England's aggressive approach paid off as Jonny Bairstow and captain Ben Stokes emphatically cast New Zealand aside on day five at Trent Bridge, securing a series victory.

Victory for England looked uncertain at the start of Tuesday's play, but Stokes' side put on a show in Nottingham to win by five wickets.

Stokes (75 not out) and Bairstow (136), who fell just short of setting the fastest Test century for England, were the stars, taking the game away from New Zealand in the final session.

New Zealand resumed on 224-7, leading by 238, but Stuart Broad (3-70) dismissed Matt Henry and Kyle Jamieson to get England on their way.

Daryl Mitchell (62 n.o.) surpassed 50 but James Anderson (2-20) wrapped things up with England left needing 299 for victory.

England were unable to get through to lunch without loss, however – Zak Crawley falling to Boult (3-94) on a duck.

Ollie Pope was put down in the slips, though his fortune was out when he edged a wonderful Henry delivery through to Tom Blundell, and Joe Root failed to build on his superb first innings as he was caught and bowled by Boult on three, the former England captain's lowest Test score at home since he was dismissed for 0 at Old Trafford in the 2019 Ashes.

Opener Alex Lees' stand ended on 44 in the 26th over, and it seemed like the batting collapses that haunted Root's latter days as captain might not be confined to the past. Yet Bairstow and Stokes delivered a 179-run fifth-wicket partnership to turn the match on its head.

The damage was done in a sensational 10-over spell at the start of the third session, when England went from requiring 160 to just 50.

Bairstow set the tone by reaching his 50 with successive boundaries before reeling off five sixes in the space of three overs.

Stokes, hindered slightly by injury, did not let up on the aggression, though it was Bairstow's day when he clipped a shot through the offside to surpass 100.

Michael Bracewell was on the receiving end of two huge sixes and a one-handed four from Bairstow, whose incredible innings was ended by an edge from Boult.

Bairstow's partner in crime was on hand to, fittingly, finish matters off, though – Stokes slamming a four through the covers to seal one of England's finest Test victories.

Brilliance from Bairstow

Bairstow's post-tea onslaught was one for the ages. The Yorkshireman propelled England into pole position, delivering one of the all-time great Test innings in the style of a great white-ball thrash.

His 136 is the highest fourth-innings score by an England batter coming in at number five or lower, beating that famous knock of 135 from Stokes at Headingley in 2019 against Australia. The only disappointment for Bairstow is that he fell just one ball short of matching Gilbert Jessop's 76-ball hundred at The Oval in 1902, which still stands as the fastest Test century for England. 

Stokes era off to a flying start

After just one Test win in 17 matches, England have now won twice in the space of two weeks. Stokes and Brendon McCullum promised a fresh approach, and on this evidence, it will work a treat.

In total, 1,675 runs were scored over this Test match – the most ever seen at Trent Bridge, where the crowd were allowed in for free on Tuesday. That created a brilliant atmosphere, and they were rewarded with equally spectacular cricket, and England will go to Headingley next week aiming to wrap up a series whitewash.

Ben Stokes will find the England Test captaincy to be a "learning curve", according to team-mate Jonny Bairstow.

But the Yorkshire batsman does not expect the Durham star to change much as a player now he has been given the armband.

Stokes gets his tenure as Joe Root's successor underway against New Zealand in the first match of a three-Test series this Thursday.

The all-rounder is looking to help reverse England's dismal form after a difficult few months.

"Not much will change from Ben Stokes the player," Bairstow told BBC Sport's Test Match Special.

"The way he goes about his bowling and his batting, it's all whole-hearted stuff and his captaincy will be the same. [But] it's going to be a learning experience for him as well.

"We need to understand and recognise that it's going to be a learning curve, but the experience that he's got around him, and the visions that he's got are great.

"If we can all pull together in the right direction, then it is going to be an exciting brand of cricket."

Stokes will hope to get his captaincy off to a winning start against the Black Caps at Lord's, though he has been handed a blow after Ollie Robinson tested positive for COVID-19.

The Sussex bowler had been omitted from the latest squad amid playing time concerns and his attempts to return to full fitness with a view to featuring in the third Test have suffered a setback.

New Zealand meanwhile could be without Henry Nicholls and Trent Boult, though both have been named in the tourists' 15-man squad.

The former has been recovering from a calf injury sustained in training before the team arrived, while the latter arrives this week after playing for Rajasthan Royals in Sunday's IPL final.

Delhi Capitals sealed a big victory in the race for the playoffs against Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League on Monday, thanks largely to the efforts of Mitchell Marsh and Shardul Thakur.

Marsh top-scored with 63 runs as the Capitals posted a target of 160, which the Kings never realistically looked like reaching, in part due to Shardul's outstanding four-wicket haul.

Things could not have started in worse fashion for the Capitals, with David Warner out first ball to Liam Livingstone (3-27).

However, Sarfaraz Khan (32) and Marsh steadied the ship with a partnership of 51, while Marsh and Lalit Yadav (24) added a further 47 to the total, with Arshdeep Singh (3-37) taking the wickets of both Khan and Yadav.

Livingstone then struck twice to remove Rishabh Pant (7) and Rovman Powell (2), before Kagiso Rabada finally claimed Marsh for 63 off 48 balls with 10 deliveries remaining.

Jonny Bairstow (28) and Shikhar Dhawan (19) made a good start to the reply with a partnership of 38 inside four overs before the England man fell to Anrich Nortje.

There soon followed a collapse for the Kings, who quickly went from 53-1 to 67-6 with only Jitesh Sharma showing any sign of sticking around.

He and Rahul Chahar (25) calmed things down to claim 41 from five overs before Jitesh fell for 44 from 34 balls, and although the Kings avoided losing all 10 wickets, Shardul (4-36) completed a strong bowling spell to comfortably close the game out for a 17-run victory, moving the Capitals to fourth in the table.

Shardul leads joint-bowling effort

While Shardul will get the headlines with his four wickets, there was some tremendous economic bowling on display elsewhere in the Capitals' attack.

Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav both posted figures of 2-14, with the former doing so from four overs at a rate of just 3.50, conceding just one boundary.

Kings suffer with the bat

Bairstow, Dhawan, Jitesh, and Chahar aside, the Kings really let themselves down with the bat.

Only one of the top five batsmen in the order hit a six (Bairstow), while no other batsman aside from the aforementioned quartet scored more than six overall.

Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone produced their best displays of the Indian Premier League season to lead the Punjab Kings to a dominant win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The England duo each hit half-centuries as the Kings hit 209-9, before Kagiso Rabada (3-21), Rishi Dhawan (2-36), and Rahul Chahar (2-37) wrecked RCB's top-order.

Glenn Maxwell's 35 marked the best individual performance of Bangalore's chase, as they finished 54 runs short of the Kings' tally.

With 14 points, RCB's place in the play-offs now looks vulnerable ahead of their final clash with table-topping Gujarat Titans, while the Kings kept their own hopes of a top-four finish alive with two games left to play.

Having been put in to bat by Faf du Plessis, Punjab quickly set about building a tough target, reaching 60 before their first loss when Shikhar Dhawan went for 21.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa followed, but that simply allowed Livingstone to step up and produce a terrific display alongside Bairstow, who struck 66 from 29 balls before falling to Shahbaz Ahmed in the 10th over.

Livingstone plundered a rapid 70 to ensure the Kings recovered, and RCB's hopes were severely dented when Virat Kohli, Du Plessis and Mahipal Lomror were sent packing within the opening five overs.

Maxwell's 12th-over dismissal all but sealed victory for Punjab, with Rabada adding the wickets of Shahbaz Ahmed and Harshal Patel.

Dhawan's blushes spared as Bairstow and Livingstone turn on the style

Although the Kings' best-performing batsmen Dhawan fell short of his season average of 40, a combined 136 from Bairstow and Livingstone propelled Punjab to victory.

Rabada on a roll

Fast-bowler Rabada led the Kings' attack admirably to end the contest with three wickets, taking his tally for the season to 21, some seven clear of his closest team-mate in Rahul. 

Australia hold a perfect Ashes day-night record and England will have to put up another huge fight to prevent them from ending the series with a win in the historic Test in Hobart.

The tourists avoided a whitewash when they batted out a draw on a tense final day at the Sydney Cricket Ground last week, James Anderson and Stuart Broad preventing Australia from taking the one wicket they needed to go 4-0 up.

They will start a first-ever Ashes Test in Hobart on Friday with Pat Cummins' side strong favourites to make it three Test wins out of three over England under the lights.

The series finale was due to be staged in Perth, but was moved due to Western Australia's border restrictions.

England have not won a Test in Australia since they came out on top at the SCG 11 years ago and they have never looked like ending that drought during this one-sided series.

Blundstone Arena has been a happy hunting ground for Australia, the hosts nine out of 13 Tests in Hobart – that 69 per cent win rate being their best at any home ground where they face played more than twice in the longest format.

A draw stopped the rot for the tourists, but they are winless in seven away Tests. It is their longest run without a victory on their travels since a 13-match barren spell from October 2016 to March 2018.

Both sides face selection dilemmas for what Australia hope will be their 150th Test victory over their fierce rivals. Their next best winning record is against West Indies (58 victories).

England, meanwhile, will simply be hoping for a win to at least take some positives from what has been a miserable tour. However, in both day-night meetings between these sides to dates, Australia have triumphed by 120 runs (in December 2017 and December 2021).

Head return leaves Harris vulnerable

Usman Khawaja could not have wished to make a bigger impact after getting the nod at the SCG, scoring a century in both innings of his first Test since August 2019.

Khawaja became the first player to plunder a ton in each innings of an SCG Test since former Australia captain Ricky Ponting 

The experienced left-hander replaced Travis Head, who missed out after testing positive for coronavirus.

Head is fit for the fifth Test and averages 62 in the series, so he is set to come back into the side. Khawaja believed he was unlikely to retain his place despite his brilliance in Sydney, though there is a possibility the 35-year-old could find himself opening, with Marcus Harris potentially making way. 

Josh Hazlewood is still unavailable due to a side injury, while Mitchell Starc says he does not need a rest and that is no surprise given his outstanding record in day-night Tests.

Billings set for Test bow

Sam Billings is poised to make his Test debut for England after Jos Buttler flew home with a broken finger.

Billings drove over 500 miles to answer an England SOS call, having been in Queensland playing for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League.

Ben Stokes (side) and Jonny Bairstow (thumb) batted through the pain barrier in Sydney and will be checked on, with the vice-captain possibly playing only as a batter.

Rory Burns could be recalled in place of a struggling Haseeb Hameed, while Ollie Robinson will be hoping to come back into the team and head coach Chris Silverwood is back with the touring party after missing the fourth Test due to coronavirus.

Captain Joe Root (23) is one away from recording the outright second most hundreds for England in men's Tests, while he has scored 847 runs in the red-ball format in Australia – the second-most by any non-Australian player without having scored a century in the country.

Broad, meanwhile, is only four wickets shy of becoming England's second all-time leading wicket taker against Australia in men's Tests. The paceman is on 125 as it stands, three behind the late Bob Willis (128), with Ian Botham the record holder with 148.

Joe Root plans to give Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow as much time as possible to be fit for a fifth and final Ashes Test in which he challenged England to show "fight" and "desire" from "ball one".

Star all-rounder Stokes has already confirmed in his column for The Mirror that he will not be able to bowl in the day-night Test in Hobart having suffered a "low grade tear" in his side during the gritty draw in Sydney that ensured Australia cannot secure a 5-0 series whitewash.

Jonny Bairstow scored a gutsy first-innings century in that match but was forced to play through the pain barrier after receiving a hefty blow on the thumb from Pat Cummins, an injury that meant he could not regain the gloves from Jos Buttler, who has travelled home with a broken thumb, in the second innings.

Captain Root said both men will be assessed over the next couple of days before a decision is made.

"We've got to just see where they're at over the next couple of days, see what their bodies can handle and then assess from there," Root told a news conference on Wednesday.

"Certainly you can pick Ben as a bat, Jonny too. We have to see where they are at, what their bodies can handle.

"You have to trust the medical advice. Those guys work tirelessly to make sure we are in the best possible position to go and win games and sometimes that is making some difficult calls.

"I think they need to make sure they feel like they're physically in a place where they can get through five days of hard cricket, whatever Australia throw at them, and they're in a position where they can go out and play and firstly, get through the game, but also, most importantly put in a performance as they managed to last week as well. 

"It's alright being fit to play but you've got to be fit to perform and I think that's what we've got to work out."

Stokes made two half centuries in Sydney, while Bairstow made a hard-earned 41 in the second to add to his century with both men proving crucial as England bravely fought for a draw after being heavily beaten in each of the first three Tests.

England were still largely outplayed by the hosts and had to dig deep to avoid defeat. Root wants to see the same kind of guts throughout the duration of the contest in Hobart.

"On the back of three very difficult games where we underperformed, to come back and get something from the last game showed a great amount of character," he added.

"There was an element of relief managing to get through those last few overs but the desire, the fight and the pride that everyone showed on that last day is something we have to harness.

"We have to play like that more frequently through the five days, not just on the last day when everything is on the line, but from ball one. We've proved to ourselves that we can do it, now can we take it a step further?

"Can we make sure we do it in a winning cause rather than just trying to save a Test match? We have something to build on – that’s what we have to take from the last game and into this one."

Sam Billings has joined the England Ashes squad, driving more than 500 miles down the Australian coast to ease the tourists' injury crisis.

With Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler both doubtful for the fifth and final Test of England's disappointing Ashes series, Billings got the call to join the squad just 90 minutes before he was due to leave Australia.

The 30-year-old was in Queensland with Big Bash League side Sydney Thunder, and spoke of his surprise at the call-up, after driving down the east coast of the country alone, as a precaution against COVID-19.

"I thought it was a joke," a thrilled Billings said in an interview with BBC Sport's Test Match Special program.

"I was due to go to Brisbane airport to fly home, and instead I went to Gold Coast airport to pick up a rental car, and I was on my way."

Ollie Pope stood in behind the stumps for England on day four of the fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with both Bairstow and Buttler waiting on scans after sustaining hand injuries.

Pope took four catches before the hosts declared at 265-6.

England's prospects of victory look unlikely, given they are chasing a target of 388. However, openers Zak Crawley and Haseeb Hameed were disciplined in a short spell at the crease in the evening session on Saturday, and the tourists' focus will now be on securing a draw to avoid going 4-0 down in the series.

Billings is hoping to make a positive impact in the final Test. Should he feature, he will become the 700th man to represent England in the longest format. 

"I've had to bide my time for an opportunity or consistent game time," Billings said. "I'm really enjoying my cricket, to have the chance to play and not just to run the drinks, I've done that too much!

"I want to prove, not only to myself, but also to other people, that I'm not just a fill-in, I am good enough to warrant a place in the side.

"If the opportunity does arise then there's no pressure on me. It's something that no one really expected, and I've got nothing to lose. That's a great place to be, and sometimes that's when you play your best cricket."

Billings then discussed the rather unique overnight journey that he undertook to meet up with the squad. 

"It's been quite a long drive, I'm not going to lie," said Billings. "People don't realise how big Australia is. It really is vast."

After an overnight stop near the border between Queensland and New South Wales, the 30-year-old continued his journey "at the crack of dawn" on Saturday morning, and was at least able to take in some of the country's scenery. 

"I've been on a motorway through lots of trees, hills and rivers. It's been pleasant, better than the M25!"

Australia's Usman Khawaja is expecting to miss out on a place in the side for the final Ashes Test, despite his stunning display at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

England will need to bat out the final day at the SCG on Sunday, and perhaps hope for help from the weather, as they look to seal a draw from the fourth Test and stave off the threat of a 5-0 series whitewash.

The tourists will resume on 30-0, their highest opening partnership of the series so far, after Australia declared on 265-6 in their second innings.

England had kept themselves in the fight thanks to Jonny Bairstow's century on day three, and added 36 runs to their overnight total in the morning session on Saturday.

Their bowlers started well, reducing Australia to 68-3 by the time Khawaja came to the crease, and Steve Smith's dismissal then left the hosts at 86-4.

Yet Khawaja, who marked his recall in place of coronavirus-hit Travis Head with 137 in the first innings, went on to thwart England's bowling attack once more, with his unbeaten 101 leading Australia into a 387-run lead.

Khawaja, who played for New South Wales and currently is a star man for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League, became the first player to score a hundred in each innings of an SCG Test since former Australia captain Ricky Ponting in January 2006, also against England.

However, the 35-year-old, who had not appeared in an Australia Test team since facing England at Headingley in 2019, does not expect his performance to be enough to secure his spot in the XI for the final match in Hobart.

"At the moment I'm quite resigned to the fact that I'll probably miss out," Khawaja told reporters. "That's just from talking to [head selector] George Bailey about continuity. That's important, I'm not totally against that process.

"I felt like throughout my career, a lot of changes were made and I was on the wrong side of them, so I'm the first to say that I think there needs to be structure and stability. I know how hard it is for a cricketer chopping and changing.

"I actually like the processes that the selectors have been taking throughout the series, so at the moment I'm not really expecting to play the next match, but I'll always be ready.

"Someone else may get COVID or something else happens. Heady batted beautifully in that first Test. I'd be very surprised if too much changed. Scotty Boland was amazing last game, something I'm not sure I'll see again, and he was going to be dropped. It's just the reality. It sucks, but that's just cricket."

While Khawaja is not expecting to play in Tasmania, he may also be joined in watching on by England trio Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Bairstow.

Stokes scored a resilient 66 as he battled through a side strain in England's first innings, while both Buttler and Bairstow did not field on Saturday after sustaining hand injuries.

Ollie Pope filled in at wicketkeeper, taking four catches, while Sam Billings has been called up by England for the Hobart Test, and assistant coach Graham Thorpe does not know if the trio will be fit to return.

"We've obviously got some blows. It's possible [they will miss the final Test] but we will be assessing all of that at the end of the game," he told reporters.

Jonny Bairstow was full of pride at his performance on day three of the fourth Ashes Test after his 103 not-out kept England fighting.

Joe Root's team have already lost any chance of regaining the urn, having suffered defeat in the opening three Tests, and they looked down and out at 36-4 at the Sydney Cricket Ground early in Friday's play.

However, Ben Stokes (66) and Bairstow put on a fifth-wicket stand of 128 to guide the tourists to 164.

Stokes' battling innings, in which he was struggling with an apparent side strain, came to an end when he misjudged a Nathan Lyon delivery and was trapped lbw, and England looked in danger of failing to avoid the follow-on when Jos Buttler got out cheaply for a duck.

Yet Bairstow and Mark Wood (39) fought back, with the latter hitting three sixes during an entertaining 41-ball spell that was ended by Pat Cummins.

Bairstow stayed at the crease, though, and cut Australia's captain for four to surpass 100 in the final over of the day, with England closing on 258-7, 158 runs behind.

It was Bairstow's seventh Test century, and his first since 2018, while no England player had scored an Ashes 100 in Australia since Alistair Cook back in 2017, with England's then captain scoring 244 on that occasion.

Bairstow was not selected for the first two Tests but returned to the fold in Melbourne, scoring 35 in the first innings and five in the second.

The 32-year-old, who made his Test debut in May 2012, also moved onto 1,033 runs scored against Australia.

Bairstow was clearly overjoyed when he celebrated his century. It was a poignant moment, with this Test having started on the 24th anniversary of the death of his father David, himself a former England wicketkeeper.

"Extremely proud, really, really proud. You've known me for long enough and how much that means," Bairstow told BT Sport. "Unbelievable, I was ecstatic, extremely proud, there's a lot of hard work gone into that one.

"It's been tough, you've got to dig deep, you really have. People mention the scheduling, how much red-ball cricket people are playing leading into massive series like this, it's not just this series, it's the India series, the India series before that when we were over there.

"You've got to delve very deep, on things you've worked hard at over a number of years. 

"Tried not to be too rigid. You can look at technique a lot. Some things work but other times you've got to keep being natural about the way you're moving or you become a bit clunky and too rigid. That's what I feel sometimes got to, trying to be something potentially that I'm not.

"My strength is putting pressure back on the bowlers, running between the wickets, trying to get them off the length to then give me a different ball. I wasn't necessarily doing that, but that also comes with spending time out in the middle consistently."

 

Bairstow took a nasty blow to his thumb from a rapid Cummins delivery just after Stokes' dismissal, but fought through the pain barrier.

"Slightly sore, it's starting to get a bit sorer now we've come off the field," he said. "I was hurting! 

"You're playing in a New Year's Test match in Sydney, on the Pink Day, it's going to take a heck of a lot to get you off the field. You've still got a job to do. Yes it's sore, it will be sore, but you're playing cricket for England and I'm very proud to do that."

An England victory still looks incredibly unlikely but, with rain possibly in store over the coming days, a draw is on the cards as the tourists aim to avoid a 5-0 whitewash.

"We've got two days to scrap and scrap hard," Bairstow added.

"We had a challenge this morning to still be batting at the end of the day. They've got a new ball coming, so tomorrow is about scrapping hard again. We got to the follow-on and past that, let's see how close we can get."

Jonny Bairstow made a brilliant century as England fought back on day three of the fourth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Bairstow (103) scored his seventh Test century, and his first since 2018, to stave Australia off after the hosts had reduced England to 36-4 in the morning session.

Ben Stokes, who battled on with a side strain, and Bairstow - who was hit on the thumb by a blistering Pat Cummins delivery - combined for a superb partnership of 128 to steady the ship for the tourists, who reached stumps on 258-7, trailing by 158 runs.

The start was delayed by rain on Friday, but having finished day two on 13-0, Joe Root's side were soon wishing for the weather to close in again.

Haseeb Hameed was dropped by Alex Carey in the third over, but England's opener was gone soon after, Mitchell Starc bowling him for only six.

England then lost Zak Crawley (18), Root (0) and Dawid Malan (3) without scoring a single run.

Cummins missed a caught-and-bowled chance to dismiss Stokes on nine, and the all-rounder subsequently survived a bizarre incident when Cameron Green hit the stumps but the bails did not fall off. Stokes was given out leg before wicket, but an instant review saved him.

Stokes went on to make 66 before he misjudged a delivery from Nathan Lyon and was trapped lbw, with Bairstow then getting clattered on the hand by Cummins off the next ball.

Jos Buttler went for a duck and another batting collapse seemed on the cards, but Bairstow and Mark Wood (39) took the game back to Australia, the paceman hitting three sixes in an entertaining knock, which came to an end when he gloved Cummins onto his helmet and into the hands of Lyon.

Bairstow continued to defy Australia and cut Cummins for four to reach three figures in the final over of the day.

 

Bairstow back with a bang

Having not been selected in the opening two Tests, Bairstow produced a stunning century in the circumstances - the first scored by an England player in a miserable series for the tourists.

Given Buttler's lack of form, Bairstow could find himself donning the gloves again in the fifith Test. England will be hoping the Yorkshireman can frustrate Australia further on Saturday and the weather could also thwart Cummins' side in their pursuit of a whitewash.

Bairstow and Stokes' partnership was only the second time a visiting duo have added 100 plus runs for the fifth wicket in Australia after their team were four down for fewer than 50.

Boland, Stokes suffer

Scott Boland (2-25) was the pick of Australia's bowlers, but the 32-year-old - who made a dream debut in Melbourne - was forced off with a side injury.

The quick went for a scan and was cleared to bowl in the nets and subsequently return for the evening session, so Australia will be hoping he is fit to fire on day four.

Stokes, meanwhile, may not be so lucky, as he was grimacing throughout his battling innings.

Jonny Bairstow said England would face a "huge morning session" on day two of the third Test after Australia got off to a flying start in Melbourne.

Armed with a 2-0 series lead and needing only a draw at the MCG to retain the Ashes, Australia bowled out England for 185 and then raced to 61-1 at stumps.

The game could yet turn, but England cannot afford to allow Australia to build a big lead, after the one-sided nature of the previous contests in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Captain Joe Root top-scored with 50 for England on Boxing Day, with Bairstow weighing in with 35, but the openers failed and tenacity was widely lacking as Australia picked up cheap wickets. Dawid Malan showed some grit but made just 14 runs, sharing in a stand of 48 with Root before becoming the third of Pat Cummins' three victims.

Root's innings gave him a ninth Test half-century in Australia, the most by a touring player in the country without having gone on to make a hundred.

Bairstow told the BBC's Test Match Special: "To lose the toss and get put in on a pitch that was doing plenty, I thought we grafted pretty well first up. Dawid and Joe put on another good partnership. We were really unfortunate to lose Dawid before lunch, otherwise that would have been a good session for us.

"We've seen there's a little more inconsistent bounce this evening. Marcus Harris got one on the glove and the following ball didn't carry through to the keeper. We'll be looking to exploit those areas in the morning; the morning session will be a huge session and let's see how we go."

Harris was left with a bleeding finger after being hit by a ball from Ben Stokes that bounced sharply. The Australia opener will resume alongside nightwatchman Nathan Lyon in the morning after James Anderson had David Warner caught for 38 by Zak Crawley shortly before the close.

Warner had been typically aggressive as he looked to compound England's misery, but a thick edge to Crawley at gully ended his assault.

"He was always looking to put pressure back on our bowlers. That's how he plays," Bairstow said. "He's scored runs in this series and previously, so it was a big boost to pick him up just before the end, and we'll come back in the morning, all guns blazing and ready to go."

Australia did not let Warner's wicket dampen their enjoyment of the day.

Captain Cummins and spinner Lyon both returned figures of 3-36, while Cameron Green and debutant Scott Boland chipped in with a wicket apiece.

Mitchell Starc removed Root and Bairstow as he took 2-54, and the paceman said on BT Sport: "It was quite a bit tacky underfoot and the spikes didn't really grab until that last session, so there was maybe not the air speed from us all today, but I thought we still bowled really well.

"We probably bowled a fraction fuller than England in that first session for them, and Pat was fantastic to get those first wickets and get us under way.

"Collectively, [bowling England out for] 185 is a pretty good day for us today."

Boland said it had been "a very special day", as the 32-year-old Melburnian made his Test bow and had a wicket – dismissing Mark Wood lbw – and two catches to show for it.

Starc was full of praise, saying: "It was awesome, the big Victorian here at his home ground to get his cap. He said he was quite nervous under a couple of those catches, but to get his first wicket at his home ground on the day of his debut was fantastic to see, and I think that might just calm him down for the second innings."

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