Bairstow oblivious to century feat
Jonny Bairstow’s brutal 53-ball hundred for England had the statisticians scurrying to find out where it stands among the quickest in one-day cricket.
But the man himself did not even know he had reached three figures against a Hyderabad Cricket Association XI, after hitting the final ball of the innings high over long-on for his eighth six to do so, until his team-mates told him as he returned to the dressing room.
Bairstow’s unbeaten 104 followed hefty contributions from openers Alastair Cook and Craig Kieswetter, who made 85 and 71 respectively, and an equally brisk 74 from Jonathan Trott, his partner in a fourth-wicket stand of 143 in 15.5 overs that powered England to a mammoth 367 for four.
That preceded Scott Borthwick’s 5-31 and Stuart Meaker’s 3-30 as the hosts were bowled out for only 114 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in England’s final warm-up match before the start of the one-day series against India on Friday.
Bairstow faced only two balls of the final over, bowled by Ashish Reddy, as he and Samit Patel tried to build as big a total as possible, but he was oblivious to the fact that a memorable landmark was in his sights.
“This ground only had a little scoreboard which didn’t have individual scores, so I didn’t know about it until I walked back into the dressing room,” said the 22-year-old Yorkshireman.
“I didn’t have a clue, even when I was walking off. But I got told in the dressing-room, and I was delighted to get that milestone.
“I had no idea at all. I was just in the zone, batting every ball as it comes. When I got in and found out, I was over the moon.”
Bairstow appeared almost equally pleased with England’s collective performance, and a second successive victory at the ground where the first ODI will be held.
“It was a fantastic performance by the boys,” he said, before casting his mind back to Saturday’s occasionally faltering display, when they defended a total of 219.
“We’re delighted with the way we started the game and posted that total - on a pitch where we perhaps didn’t score as many as we should in the first game.
“Maybe the other day, we didn’t adapt quite quick enough. But we did this time.
“We were very pleased to get the win the other day. But coming into this one we wanted a clinical performance, and to produce something like that is very pleasing.”
If England were a class apart with the bat, young leg-spinner Borthwick and England debutant pace bowler Meaker did not waste any time with the ball either, inducing a collapse of nine wickets for 29 runs on the way to a thoroughly comprehensive 253-run victory.
Bairstow added: “Everyone contributed: Scotty Borthwick with his ’five-for’; Stuart Meaker getting three in the over. It’s fantastic for those guys coming in.
“Cookie and Kiesy set the platform. Then we went on, Trotty and me, and exploded at the end.”
As for his own innings - a second highly significant one after his match-winning 41 not out off 21 balls on ODI debut against India in Cardiff last month - Bairstow pointed to a mixture of power and timing.
“It’s a bit of both,” he said. “You’ve obviously got to have a bit of power, but the technique comes through as well.
“If you lose your shape then you will naturally not connect and time it as well as you’d like to.
“As long as I am keeping on improving in the games and in the nets, and performances like that keep coming, then I’m pleased.
“But on a team level it’s more important that we are happy with a performance before the game later this week.
“We’re pleased with our preparation so far, but without a doubt it will be a completely different challenge (against India) - and a very tough one.”