Jonny Bairstow believes the series decider against New Zealand can provide England with valuable experience ahead of the World Cup in 2019.
The Three Lions take on the Black Caps in Christchurch with the series level at 2-2 ahead of the final match of a thrilling ODI series.
England are looking for a ninth victory in their last 10 ODI series and Bairstow believes the fixture – which starts at 10pm GMT – will go some way to replicating the pressure of a knockout match in the World Cup.
Bairstow said: “It’s huge. The way the guys reacted to situations over the last two ODI series helps. You can look back at the way we closed it out in Sydney and in Wellington, when the guys have been asked to stand up whether chasing down a total or closing it out with the ball.
“There have been guys who have stood up. If it’s not meant to be, we will learn from it and take it into the next series. The World Cup’s not tomorrow, or in two days, it’s in 16 months. This is part of the journey, it’s about getting it right for then.
“We are a fast learning team. You don’t put a string of results together like we have before, and change the way we play so quickly, if you’re not fast learners and fast adaptors.”
Bairstow, 28, scored a stunning 138 in the fourth ODI in Dunedin and put on a 190-run second-wicket stand with fellow centurion Joe Root.
The Yorkshiremen took England to 267/1 in Dunedin only for Bairstow’s dismissal to spark the loss of six wickets for 21 runs.
Bairstow admits there is an instinctive understanding between himself and Root when they find themselves together in the middle.
“We have known each other since we were 13. When we get together and are batting, it just all clicks,” Bairstow added.
“We first met at the indoor school at Headingley – on a scholarship programme at Yorkshire. We were both tiny tots back then.
“It’s been a great journey so far, and there are a lot more memories to come playing together.”
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