Australia A deny Lions at Old Trafford
Jonny Bairstow’s century allowed England Lions to declare at lunch on the final day at Old Trafford with defeat improbable, but Australia A comfortably secured a draw.
Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow, whose three Tests to date came against West Indies earlier this summer, reminded the selectors of his talent with 139 from 168 balls - including 20 fours and two sixes.
He underpinned the Lions’ total of 315 for six declared in their second innings, setting the tourists an unlikely target of 354 from a minimum of 64 overs during the final two sessions of the match.
Ed Cowan's side did not even contemplate going after an asking rate in excess of five and a half runs per over and the players shook hands at 5:40pm with the tourists on 144 for four from 62. The sides meet again at Edgbaston from Tuesday.
Samit Patel had a hand in three of the four wickets to fall. He pouched a smart catch at second slip to get rid of Cowan off James Harris before forcing Liam Davis, on 43, to edge to a juggling Bairstow at slip where he eventually held on one-handed.
Patel then caught Tom Cooper at silly point when the batsman swept a James Tredwell delivery into his boot shortly after tea.
Stuart Meaker picked up the fourth wicket courtesy of another excellent catch by Bairstow at first slip, one-handed diving to his left, to get rid of Tim Paine shortly before the match drew to a close. Michael Klinger top-scored for the visitors with an unbeaten 65.
The Lions this morning resumed on 158 for three and Bairstow advanced from 73 in partnership with Craig Kieswetter, the pair adding 96 in 19 overs for the fifth wicket after left-arm spinner Jon Holland trapped nightwatchman Tredwell lbw with the day's fourth ball. Kieswetter finished 66 not out, hitting three sixes.
Bairstow, who was dropped from the Test team after the Windies series, lofted Nathan Lyon straight down the ground before smearing the off-colour Mitchell Johnson over square-leg.
The tourists resorted to bowling part-time spin during the latter stages of the morning session and Bairstow fell when he was caught behind as he attempted to reverse-sweep a Peter Forrest off-break. It was Forrest’s maiden first-class wicket.
Holland had Chris Woakes stumped by Tim Paine en route to figures of 3-69.