Jonny Bairstow continues to impress in each match…..
England romped home to another scintillating victory in the fourth One-Day International against Australia at Chester-le-street, courtesy to a fabulous opening stand between Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy. With an unassailable lead of 4-0, England will be eyeing to clean sweep Australia with another victory in the final encounter. This side has been on a roll in shorter formats and unstoppable in the recent times.
Jonny Bairstow’s elevation at the top has worked wonders for England so far; the right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman has been a force to be reckoned at the top. He has been the reason behind nightmares for many bowlers in the recent times with his maverick approach and astute batsmanship. Along with Jason Roy, Bairstow has formed a formidable pair and taken the English game to a whole new level.
So far, Australian bowlers have had a tough time in the series against these two; they have scored runs at will and made a mockery of their bowling. On Thursday, the duo recorded their fifth century stand at the top. England chased down the target with six wickets to spare as Roy scored a much-needed century.
Bairstow’s elevation turned out to be a masterstroke for England, he was promoted up the order when Roy was dropped after a series of low scores in the Champions Trophy. Bairstow wasted no time whatsoever and started scoring crucial runs at the top. Roy returned when Hales was suspended for his part in the Bristol incident that involved Ben Stokes, while Bairstow continued his good run.
Since then, they have never looked back and such has been the impact that Alex Hales was demoted to three on his return to the ODI side. They had a prolific run in Australia, New Zealand and have managed to replicate the similar magic at home as well. After a glittering century at Nottingham, Bairstow was unlucky to have been dismissed for 79 off 66 yesterday.
Bairstow had been knocking the doors in ODIs for a while. His style of play has been more effective at the top and his numbers are a testament to it. While opening the batting, Bairstow averages 66.50 in 21 innings at a blistering strike rate of 114.54 along with six centuries and two fifties. He knows the art of conversion really well and has made it big more often after getting a solid start. But his average drops down drastically to 38.05 when he is not opening the batting in ODIs, which suggests he is more suitable against the new ball.
Prior to the third ODI, Hales also spoke about how the pair has been successful and Bairstow has grabbed the opportunity with both the hands. Hales was quoted in a report from ESPNCricinfo saying, “I’ve got to try and get my place back. I guess now I’m in that position where I’m on the fringes and any chance I can get, it’s up to me to convert big runs and put some pressure on Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow. They have come in and done really well since the West Indies series last September. Jonny’s been knocking the door down for a few years now and every time he got a chance, he took it.”
Bairstow has a knack of scoring tough runs; he can wreak havoc against a mediocre bowling attack, but at the same time, he also gets the crucial runs against a dominating one. He is equally effective against pace as well as spin and doesn’t have any major weakness in his game, which is very rare. Bairstow can tailor his batting as per the circumstances.
England has never won a World Cup in their cricketing history, and this is their golden chance to have their hands on the coveted trophy. They have been unstoppable and inspired confidence as a unit. They were the favourites to win the Champions Trophy as well, but a bad outing in the knock-out game cost them dearly.
A batsman like Bairstow at the top would be very effective in a high-voltage tournament like World Cup, especially in knock-out games. As of now, England’s top-order hails of Roy, Bairstow and Hales. All of them are attacking batsmen, but Bairstow is easily the most versatile of the lot. He is at his prime and also the batsman with the most number of runs in the ODIs starting this year. England will be hoping him to continue his astonishing form in the World Cup and set the trend at the top.