Promoted Bairstow repays England's faith
By Amlan Chakraborty
MOHALI, India (Reuters) - Circumstances conspired to push Jonny Bairstow up England's batting order in the third test against India and the 27-year-old believes he repaid the faith with a composed knock of 89 to rescue his team after a poor start on Saturday.
Bairstow's cultured innings stood out in an otherwise woeful batting exhibition from England's top order which nullified the advantage of winning a good toss at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
At least five batsmen, including skipper Alastair Cook, were guilty of poor shot selection and it could have been even more embarrassing for England but for the 50-plus partnerships Bairstow forged with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.
"After winning the toss, it was disappointing to lose the wickets that we have," Bairstow said after what he described as a "scrappy" opening day of the third test.
"At the same time it could have been a disastrous day as well. It could have been something if we didn't knuckle down and work hard through the last bit of the morning session, the afternoon session and the evening session. We could have been bowling tonight."
With Buttler replacing the struggling Ben Duckett, England had to rejig their batting order, promoting Moeen Ali and Bairstow to numbers four and five.
While Moeen failed justify his move up, Bairstow did not let down his team who are 1-0 down in the five-match series.
"I don't really mind where I bat. It's not really something that plays on my mind," said the ginger-haired wicketkeeper.
"It's quite pleasing to be batting at five, because I feel I'm in good form.
"The confidence that captain showed in me to bat me at five, along with the coach and rest of the side, is really good and I'd like to think that I repaid them today with the faith they put in me.
"Batting at number five, six or seven doesn't change my mentality. It's a case of just go out and try and score as many runs as possible."
Off-spinner Jayant Yadav ended Bairstow's four-hour vigil by trapping him lbw and the batsman did not hide his disappointment at being unable to see through the day.
"That hurt me pretty bad to get out like that, because I thought I played quite nicely all through the day," Bairstow said.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)