Jonny Bairstow continues his amazing form with another century but England are struggling and India are on top in the fifth Test

JONNY BAIRSTOW played his fourth exceptional innings at the trot and continues to make the remarkable and historic look routine.

No English batsman has ever produced such ferocity and quick goals in three consecutive Test matches.

Jonny Bairstow has been on fire lately


Jonny Bairstow has been on fire latelyPhoto credit: Getty
India celebrates as Ben Stokes is sacked


India celebrates as Ben Stokes is sackedPhoto credit: Getty

Bairstow’s Ledger at Trent Bridge, Headingley and now Edgbaston has an incredible 475 runs from just 434 balls.

His four innings are worth telling individually — 136 balls from 93, 162 balls from 157, 71 not out of 44 balls and 106 balls from 140.

Those are almost unbelievable numbers, a collection of consecutive demolition work unequaled by anyone in Test cricket. Bairstow has taken Twenty20 to tryouts and it’s absolutely brilliant.

He was the big beneficiary of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum’s so-called “Bazball” aggressive approach. In fact, Bairstow is the main representative of Bazball and also has an increased role in the On-Field Brains Trust.

And yet, despite Bairstow’s innings on the third day of the fifth Test, England are on course to lose to India and give up the series 3-1 (remember they are 2-1 down compared to last summer).

In the end, India was 125-3, building on a first innings lead of 132 and able to set England a goal that even Bairstow and company would find difficult to overcome.

They’d be even further ahead if it didn’t come at an inflated price for the funeral. A total of 15 overs were lost as the crowd continued to be fleeced by slow play or, as on Saturday, a shameful reluctance to start earlier after rain delays.

In the morning, Bairstow took his time getting settled, but when he decided to put his foot down, he went from 16 to his century in just 54 deliveries.


He lofted fast bowlers back over their heads for one-bounce fours, hooked for sixes and once dumped fast bowler Shardul Thakur with a contemptuous smack in the crowd over the long mid-wicket line.

A fight with Virat Kohli seemed to fuel him. Stumps mics picked up Bairstow and told Kohli to shut up – with an expletive, of course – after Kohli used fruity language to express his irritation at a game and a miss.

The referees had to intervene and there were some tense moments. But it ended with Kohli giving Bairstow a seemingly forgiving pat on the arm, despite the former India captain blowing him a kiss when he was outside.

Bairstow insisted the incident was nothing – just two “passionate” cricketers trying to do what was best for their countries.

Stokes is trying to be ultra-aggressive and lead the charge with the racquet this summer, but at times he’s veered towards slogging. In contrast, Bairstow was selective in the balls he tried to hit and clinical in his execution.

Stokes offered two chances before leaving for 25. First a skier that Thakur spilled in the middle of the wicket and then a drive in the middle that Jasprit Bumrah fumbled.

But on the next ball, Bumrah had a much more difficult chance, jumping left down the middle.

Bairstow was dealt at 89lbw but he immediately demanded a replay that showed an advantage.

His fifth Test century in 2022 came with a boundary that he owed to a miss from the normally safe Ravi Jadeja. It occupied 119 balls – not bad considering he was 16 of 65 deliveries.

Bairstow was eventually caught in a slip, Stuart Broad skied an attempted slog, Sam Billings dragged on and Matthew Potts pushed into the slips.

By the time India struck again, Jimmy Anderson had immediately caught Shubman Gill on the second slip for the second time in the match.

Hanuma Vihari parried an attempted drive to the third slip and then Kohli edged a snort from Stokes and although wicketkeeper Billings dropped the original chance, Joe Root caught the rebound on the first slip.

Kohli has not scored an international century in any format since November 2019.

Towards the end England were reduced to negative tactics, with Root aiming his spinners well outside the stump and Anderson sending bouncers down all around the wicket. Not much sign of “Bazball”.

Cheteshwar Pujara reached his half-century just before the end and Rishabh Pant, who hit a brilliant century in India’s first innings, will resume game 30 on Monday morning with license to seek fast runs. Jonny Bairstow continues his amazing form with another century but England are struggling and India are on top in the fifth Test


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