England fought back spectacularly against New Zealand as Jonny Bairstow hit a run-a-ball century for the second consecutive Test at Headingley Carnegie on June 24. After another memorable day in his side’s series against New Zealand, Bairstow suggested England might reinvent the Test cricket textbook.
The early results for England have been nothing short of extraordinary, with England head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes promising a fresh, bold approach to a side that had long lost its fun under the previous regime.
Reinvent Test games
As England looked to have hit the skids on their second day at Headingley, the team had previously found the right balance between reward and risk at Lord’s and Trent Bridge. Within 12 overs, their top order keeled over to 55 for six to respond to the Kiwis’ 329 all-out. However, Bairstow posted an outstanding century after hitting 136 last week.
Bairstow put on a rampant 209-run stand with debutant Jamie Overton despite the challenging match situation. After reaching stumps unbeaten on 89, England finished victorious on 264-6, with a remarkable score of 89 in his first Test innings.
Bairstow said that the freedom to challenge established cricket orthodoxy was a significant motivator for him.
“We are still in the infancy of it, only a couple of games in, but what I will say is we are looking to take the game forward. We’re definitely looking at it in a different way,” Bairstow said.
He added that there are different approaches England can take. For instance, if the team has to survive against excellent bowlers like Trent Boult and Tim Southee, it can bat in the shell the way it has done for years. However, Bairstow said players must transfer the momentum. The opponents must be taken off their stride.
“We’re going out and expressing ourselves, taking the game forward and hopefully playing in ways that can change games,” Bairstow said.
“That’s how you win games of cricket. Whether it’s a bowler taking five, six or seven wickets, or batters scoring hundreds – that’s what you need people to stand up with.”
England plans to exert pressure on the bowlers at the crease, an approach that is somewhat different from the traditional one.
Memorable Test hundred scored at home
Bairstow and the legions of home fans around the ground celebrated his 10th century in typical style.
“Being a Yorkshire lad, scoring a Test hundred at home is pretty special. My family and my mates are here as well,” he said.
“Every time you score a Test hundred it’s emotional. People know what I’m like – it means so much for me to play Test cricket for England and that’s the kind of guy I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve, which isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea.”
The wicketkeeper-batsman looks forward to another memorable moment on day three on a front-row seat, cheering his partner to a spectacular debut century.
“Jamie played unbelievably. I guess it helps being 6ft 5in but blooming heck, that was some seriously special striking; unbelievable hitting,” said Bairstow. “Hopefully in the morning we will be able to experience him getting his maiden Test hundred which would be absolutely lovely.”