Bairstow lives England dream
Jonny Bairstow described his England debut as a “dream come true” after he helped wrap up a thrilling six-wicket win over India.
England chased down a revised target of 241 with 10 balls of their 34 overs to spare in a rain-affected contest, thanks in no small part to Bairstow’s savage unbeaten 41 off 21 deliveries.
He and Ravi Bopara, who finished 37 not out, flayed 75 in just 6.4 overs to make a tricky pursuit under the SWALEC Stadium floodlights appear comfortable and seal a 3-0 series win for the hosts.
“I got a call yesterday and then to start off like this is a dream come true,” said Bairstow, who only joined up with the squad last night after being drafted in as cover for Ben Stokes.
“It wasn’t until today that I found out I was in the team. In some ways it helped. I’m really pleased with the way it started - it was fantastic.”
Bairstow’s coolness under considerable pressure was notable. He hit only his fifth ball in international cricket high over midwicket for six, but later revealed: “There were some nerves.
“That's only natural, and you've just got to turn them into something positive. It was a new challenge and something I really enjoyed.
“I just wanted to go out and play my natural game. It wasn't necessarily easy and it was really pleasing the way it turned out in the end. Ravi played outstandingly well.
“A massive part of it is how the guys, the captain and the coach, make you feel when you come into the set-up. You're made to feel completely at home.”
In making his first senior England appearance, Bairstow followed in the distinguished footsteps of his father David, himself a wicketkeeper-batsman who served Yorkshire with distinction for two decades.
David committed suicide aged 56 in 1998, when Jonathan was eight, and Jonathan, now 21, was presented with his cap before the game by his father’s former team-mate Geoffrey Boycott.
“He would have enjoyed it today,” said Jonathan. “I’m sure he’s up there looking down proud at the moment.”
England captain Alastair Cook, who contributed 50 to an England pursuit that also featured a rapid 63 from Jonathan Trott, was nonetheless awe-struck by Bairstow’s brilliance.
“I’ve never seen an entrance like that in international cricket,” he said of an innings containing one four and three sixes, two of which went out of the ground.
“There was some serious skilled hitting at the end - they were not slogs. That was an unbelievable knock; I can’t praise that enough. He has made a name for himself. We might have just found one.
“That was an outstanding chase. The batting line-up as a whole can take a lot of credit for that, and the way Jonny and Ravi finished it off was spectacular.”
Cook agreed his team had exceeded their own expectations by following up a 4-0 npower Test series whitewash over India – hitherto the number one-ranked team in the world – with an almost equally emphatic scoreline in the ODIs.
“To stay unbeaten in this one-day series is a huge credit to our side and a fantastic effort from the lads,” he said.
“It could have been easy after a few days off. We've already won the series, but to come and chase down that target is very satisfying.”
England’s victory lifted them above India into fourth place in the International Cricket Council ODI rankings. Their ultimate aim is top spot, which they occupy in the Test format following their 4-0 series whitewash over India this summer.
"We're a long way off that, but it's the start of a journey," Cook said. "We know how hungry the lads are.
"It's all about developing young players and giving them a chance. There are really encouraging signs for the future.”