Bairstow and England run riot
Jonny Bairstow dazzled brightest among the new boys as England romped to a 253-run win over a Hyderabad Cricket Association XI in their final warm-up game in India.
Bairstow, who made his international debut only last month, flayed a savage unbeaten 104 off just 53 balls to propel the tourists to 367 for four at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.
There were also worthy contributions from Alastair Cook, Craig Kieswetter and Jonathan Trott, who made 85, 71 and 74 respectively in a daunting total that never came under the slightest threat.
Hyderabad collapsed from 69 without loss to a paltry 114 all out in reply, shot out in 35.3 overs in a contest as one-sided as you are likely to witness in the 50-over format.
Leg-spinner Scott Borthwick, another player relatively new to the international scene, claimed five of the first six wickets and pace bowler Stuart Meaker marked his first appearance in England colours with three in an over to hasten a thoroughly comprehensive victory under the floodlights.
Whatever the shortcomings of the opposition, this performance represented a significant improvement on that witnessed in England's occasionally rusty 56-run win over the same side on Saturday, and will leave them in high spirits ahead of the opening one-day international against India at this venue on Friday.
Bairstow can take the greatest confidence from it. As on his one-day debut against India in Cardiff last month, he looked born for the grandest stage - albeit this time against less than international class opposition - with a thrilling display of striking.
He did not take guard until the 32nd over, but hit six fours and eight sixes - the last off the final ball of the innings to take him to three figures - dominating a stand of 143 for the fourth wicket with Trott in fewer than 16 overs, after Cook and Kieswetter had shared an opening alliance of 159. All on the same surface on which England laboured to 219 four days ago.
Captain Cook, afforded too much width after he won the toss, cruised along at better than a run a ball, while Kieswetter - playing his first game since joining up with the squad following Somerset’s Champions League T20 campaign - was only marginally less fluent.
Cook celebrated his half-century by clubbing a six over deep midwicket off opposite number and leg-spinner Ravi Teja, but eventually went caught on the boundary trying to repeat the dose off Medhi Hasan, who, with 3-63, was alone in emerging with any credit among the Hyderabad bowlers.
Kieswetter also fell trying to attack the slow left-armer, mistiming a pull into the deep off the 86th delivery he faced, before Kevin Pietersen, on the charge, sliced Hasan to backward point as he aimed against the spin moments later.
Three wickets had fallen in six overs, but Trott fed routinely off an attack featuring only one bowler of any pace, and Bairstow was soon consolidating the lasting impression he made at the SWALEC Stadium in the final ODI of the English summer.
Timing, power and placement saw Bairstow race to his half-century in only 33 balls - his fourth six, a straight hit off Teja, took him past the landmark - and his second fifty occupied just 20 deliveries.
Trott’s fifty came up in a more sedate but still healthy 45 balls despite containing only four fours, and between them they - and then Samit Patel, after Trott was run out attempting a scampered second - helped England take 105 off the last 10, riotous overs.
It always looked to be beyond Hyderabad, and so it proved, especially after Borthwick broke the opening stand with the first of five wickets for eight runs to spark a madcap collapse of nine for 29.
Akshat Reddy had given England a small taste of their own medicine with a series of early boundaries, but his cut at Borthwick was well caught by Cook to his right at slip, and two balls later GH Vihari edged a leg-break to the same fielder.
Teja pulled a long-hop straight to short midwicket, and Kieswetter completed a smart stumping when Ahmed Quadri over-balanced first ball.
Borthwick's fifth wicket came when Arjun Yadav holed out in the leg-side deep, two balls after Ibrahim Khaleel was badly dropped by Patel.
But Borthwick was hardly going to complain on a day to remember for him and Meaker, who bagged three tailenders in in the 29th over - two of whom were bowled - en route to figures of 3-30.
Bairstow had even greater reason to be pleased.