• Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

Ashes: I never doubted my abilities, says Jonny Bairstow, creator of Yorkshire CCC in England

ByRandall B. Phelps

Jan 7, 2022
Star of the century: the Englishman Jonny Bairstow. Photo: Jason O’Brien / PA

After giving up their hopes of retrieving the urn in a rambling 12 days of test cricket in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, Bairstow dug deep into his reserves of courage and determination to release the first hundred tourists in the series on day three in Sydney.

More than three years and 36 innings since registering his last triple-digit score, the 32-year-old has overcome an intimidating set of circumstances to reach 103 not eliminated in the SCG final.

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It was a great act of rebellion. Bairstow started his shot with England at 36-4, faced a fierce attack that left bruises on every hitter who dared to take the crease and fought a vicious 90 mph hit to the right thumb that easily could have him see withdrawing injured on 61.

England’s Jonathan Bairstow celebrates his century (Photo: PA)

Even the issue of going from 99 to 100 was onerous, with the Yorkshireman taking on World No.1 bowler Pat Cummins in the day’s final.

When he cut the fourth ball at the third man for four to reach his seventh try ton, it capped an unforgettable day for Bairstow – whose efforts helped his team finish 258-7, a 158 deficit.

He said, “I’m absolutely over the moon to be really honest. It was the hardest so far under the circumstances.

“It was tough there and I’m really, really happy about it. Obviously they have a really good bowling attack so this was one of the ones where I’m delighted to hit triple digits for England again. I am very, very proud. It has been a lot of hard work. You know how much that means to me.

One day when a handful of batters had their fingers crushed by balls that went up violently, Bairstow pulled off the worst of the lot.

The next ball after Ben Stokes was fired to end a 128-point partnership, Bairstow got his thumb pushed back by a Cummins ball that came to life and could have easily spell the end of his stay.

But not only did he continue after the treatment of physio Craig De Weymarn, but he continued to score with abandonment.

“Anyone who has been around me long enough knows that it takes a long time to get me out of the park,” he explained.

“So, yeah, it was painful but it was a decision I made to stay there. It’s the decisions you make about yourself. The doctors can give you advice, but in the end. Account, you are playing in an Ashes Test match, a New Years Test match in Sydney and it will take a long time for you to get away from it.

The way England were beaten against the Ashes means there will likely be some changes to come in the setup, and Bairstow is among the senior players who may have looked over their shoulders.

It now seems unlikely and he could still get the wicket goalkeeper gloves back after Jos Buttler continued his disappointing streak with an eight-ball duck. When asked if he had started to doubt his ability to enjoy days like this, Bairstow was defiant.

“No, I didn’t. I didn’t think so because with the hard work that I continued to provide, I always felt that I had the capacity to do it, ”he said.

“That’s exactly why you keep playing and why you keep pushing and showing up every day to practice, going to every game doing your best.”

Bairstow gave himself a moment of satisfaction as he mulled over a terse exchange with an Aussie fan over tea break, when he and Stokes were barricaded as they made their way up the stairs to the locker room.

“It was just a little meanness from the crowd,” he said. “It would have been nice if they had been there to give it away when we left at the end. Unfortunately they weren’t there and they missed the end of a fantastic day of cricket testing.

“We are trying to do our job. People are enjoying a day of cricket and unfortunately sometimes there are people who go above the mark. It is important to defend yourself.