ENG v IND, 5th Test: Jonny Bairstow is striking the ball so clean; looks very calm, says Joe Root

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Birmingham– In England’s new, attacking approach of playing Test cricket which has resulted in them acing 250+ chases four times on the trot, Jonny Bairstow has undoubtedly been the highlight of their home summer this year.

Bairstow arrived into the series against New Zealand after playing for Punjab Kings in IPL 2022.

The signs of 2022 becoming a breakthrough summer weren’t visible in Lord’s when he made one and 16, followed by eight in first innings at Trent Bridge. But in a second innings chase of 299, Bairstow swung it in England’s favour with a belligerent 136 and followed it up with 162 & 71 not out at Leeds.

He extended his rich vein of form against India at Edgbaston, making 106 and 114 not out to play a huge hand in England’s seven-wicket win to level the series for Pataudi Trophy 2-2. His teammate and fellow Yorkshireman, Joe Root, is delighted with his clean striking of the ball and calm presence at the crease.

“He looks like he’s got a real clarity in how he wants to go about his cricket. He’s striking the ball so clean; he looks very calm and in control out there. It’s just great to see him really enjoying Test cricket. There’s been a number of times when he’s been in and out the side you know you can blame me for that if you want.”

“When he’s come in this summer, and even the back end of the winter, the way he’s been batting has just been exceptional and it’s a pleasure to stand at the other end. It’s great fun and it’s great to see someone I’ve known from being 12 years old, start to realise his true potential in this format of the game,” said Root after the match.

Root, who remained unbeaten in a chase of 378 with an unbeaten 142 off 173 balls, recording his 11th Test hundred since 2021, remarked that he enjoyed playing a part in a record chase for England as his partnership with Bairstow evolved into a match winning stand of 269 runs. He also took England’s player of the series award for scoring 737 runs at an average of 105.28, with four hundreds against his name.

“It was pretty fun doing it. To be honest, throughout the whole summer, since that first game, we’ve sort of said, whatever they get we’ll chase it down. I think Ben said to us as a group before the toss, we’re not going to bat first we’re going to chase, so it’s sort of that mentality about how we’re going about things at the minute. Once we got that partnership going, we just felt in full control.”

“I love batting. The environment over the last four weeks is exceptional, clarity and belief, get out there, trust it and do it. Stokesy has the full backing of everyone, particularly myself. Our responsibility is to keep it entertaining for everyone out there.”

Root also appreciated the opening pair of Alex Lees and Zak Crawley for giving England a flying start to their chase of 378 by putting up a partnership of 107 in the first 21.3 overs. “So much credit has to go to the two lads at the top. The way they set the platform, the way they shifted pressure straight back onto India, and smashed that new ball around on a wicket that was doing a bit.”

“It was incredible batting. It really made the work that we had to do after that a lot easier, and they deserve a huge amount of credit because it was a sublime partnership against a world-class attack.” (IANS)


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