Brilliant Bairstow stakes Test claim

Jonny Bairstow has hit 906 runs in 11 innings at an average of 100.66
Jonny Bairstow has hit 906 runs in 11 innings at an average of 100.66
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Jonny Bairstow staked his claim for a Test berth in the strongest possible way on the first day of Yorkshire’s LV=County Championship match against Worcestershire at Scarborough.

While England crumbled at Lord’s, Bairstow continued the best batting form of his career by powering his way to 139 off 183 balls with 18 fours and a six to give him 906 runs in 11 innings at an average of 100.66 since returning to Yorkshire’s Championship side.

The 25-year-old’s knocks during this purple patch now include one-double century, four centuries and three half-centuries.

But skipper Andrew Gale ensured this was no one-man show by the County Champions as he also struck an attractive 127 not out and featured with Bairstow in a fourth-wicket stand of 254 in 58 overs.

Yorkshire, who won the toss, closed on 357 for five.

Not until Gale and Bairstow came together did Yorkshire master Worcestershire’s spirited opening attack which saw Joe Leach pick up the first three wickets with only 57 scored.

Openers Alex Lees and Will Rhodes both perished with casual drives which ended up in Ross Whiteley’s hands at first slip and when Leach returned for a second spell he had Jack Leaning lbw.

Gale, whose six previous Championship innings at North Marine Road had yielded 651 runs, looked settled from the start but he was never able to keep pace with Bairstow who had sprinted to 43 when he had to receive brief treatment for an apparent back problem.

He looked untroubled, however, and the second of two boundaries in an over off Jack Shantry took him to his 50 from 48 balls with 10 fours.

Gale moved the partnership into three figures and his own half-century contained six fours and was scored off 103 balls.

Bairstow’s batting became even more belligerent and three fours and a two in five balls from Leach charged him to his century from 112 balls with 16 boundaries and shortly afterwards he had scored more runs than the entire England team in their demise at Lord’s.

Bairstow had moved on to 126 when he gave his first half-chance, driving a ball through Brett D’Oliveira’s outstretched hands at short extra cover. The batsmen ran two to overtake Yorkshire’s previous best fourth wicket stand against Worcestershire of an unbroken 210 between Arthur Mitchell and Maurice Leyland at Worcester in 1933.

Gale completed his century off 183 balls before Bairstow lifted D’Oliveira high over mid-wicket for his first six but he was out next ball cutting the leg-spinner to Tom Fell at backward point and departing to a standing ovation.