Nottingham, June 15 (Ajit Weekly News) England batter Jonny Bairstow has revealed after playing the match-winning knock of 136 against New Zealand at Trent Bridge that he followed his captain Ben Stokes’ instructions to hit the ball as far as he could into the stands.
Chasing 299 on the fifth and final day of the second Test, with both first-innings leading scorers Ollie Pope (18) and Joe Root (3) back in the dressing room along with Zak Crawley (0), England were staring at a collapse.
However, Bairstow’s T20-style batting — he scored 136 off just 92 deliveries at a strike rate of nearly 148 — did the trick for the hosts as they went on to win the match and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Bairstow smashed seven maximums and 14 boundaries in his 150-minute stay at the crease, and in partnership with Stokes (75 not out) helped the team win the thrilling Test by five wickets.
“It was great fun, one of those things when you get in that mood, just go with it. Do or die, so you’ve got to do. Not sure about ‘picking the right ball’… strip it back, it’s only you and the bowler there. Just watch the ball, that’s the zone and you have to get in it,” said Bairstow.
“Ben (Stokes) said don’t even think about hitting one down, hit it into the stands… When there’s been so many runs scored in the game, you don’t look at it as a record run-chase, we saw it as a one-day game.
“Pitch good, outfield fast, positive approach, the brand of cricket, and the players who can play that brand of cricket. Let’s see what’s going to happen because it’s going to be a journey,” added Bairstow.
Bairstow added that this was perhaps his best century. The 32-year-old has played 85 Tests and scored nine centuries.
“The pitch was good, that never-say-die attitude allowed people to go and flourish. Joe (Root) and Popey (Ollie Pope) set up the way (in the first innings) (and) we capitalised at the end. This is No.1 for me, tricky not to be, a lot of chatter around England’s Test cricket, some of it’s been harsh, but we’ve battled through a few things. And if we can keep close as a group and go forward, the sky is the limit,” he added.
–Ajit Weekly News