Jonny Bairstow was once again the man for England yesterday, as his century guided England to 279-6 against Sri Lanka in the final test of the series at Lord’s. While England have already won the series, thanks to comprehensive victories in the previous two tests, they will want to complete a clean-sweep against a weak Sri Lanka side, in order to set them up well for the more challenging series against Pakistan.
Hopes of a victory looked to have crumbled before Bairstow came to the crease though, as England’s top order collapsed. After a promising start by England, Hales was dismissed with the score on 56, before being swiftly followed by Compton and Root. Vince then went after just 10 more runs had been scored, leading England teetering on 84-4. Captain Alastair Cook was still at the crease though, and he was joined by Jonny Bairstow. Between the two, they managed to pull England back to a more respectable score, before Cook was dismissed with the score on 164.
Bairstow continued to lead the recovery process, and was joined by the hero from the previous match, Moeen Ali. The latter looked to be going well, batting patiently to reach 25 from 60 balls, however his innings came to an end when he was caught by Angelo Mathews from the bowling of Herath. Amongst the falling wickets though, Jonny Bairstow reached his century, for the third time in six test matches. He ended the day unbeaten on 107, alongside Chris Woakes, who batted well for his 23 runs.
The century from Bairstow will take some of the focus away from the England top order, hwoever there’s no doubt that it will be causing the selectors some concern. Most concerning will be the form of Nick Compton, who has underwhelmed with the bat since his recall. Will the selectors decide to stick with him when Pakistan visit, or will they decide that he needs some time in the county game to regain his form?
The day belonged to Bairstow though, and he brought up an impressive stat with his century: he is now the highest scoring batsman in the world over the past year. This comes courtesy of having hit 2,272 runs at a stunning average of 73.29. His stats for just this season are even better though, with his 828 first-class runs coming with an average of 104.50. Is there really any doubting who England’s man of the series will be?