Jonny Bairstow: Always enjoy batting with Joe Root

England batsman Jonny Bairstow says piling on runs for England with his Yorkshire teammate Joe Root in front of a full crowd at Lord’s on day three of the second Test is as special as it gets for him.

Jonny Bairstow complemented Joe Root’s typical style of collecting runs via dabs, cuts and square drives by playing a few gorgeous strokes in the traditional ‘V’.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Joe Root stole the limelight on a sunny day at Lord’s as he handed England the lead in the second Test against India with a fluent, unbeaten 180. Jonny Bairstow, his Yorkshire teammate, was among the many batting partners Root had during the day. Bairstow played numerous attractive strokes during his blossoming innings of 57 (107b, 7x4) that ended prematurely when he fell to a short ball from Mohammed Siraj eight deliveries before the new ball was taken.

Bairstow looked in supreme touch as he complemented Root’s typical style of collecting runs via dabs, cuts and square drives by playing a few gorgeous strokes in the traditional ‘V’ (the arc between mid-off and mid-on). His 121-run partnership with Root laid a solid base for England.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary

Speaking to the media at the end of the third day’s play, Bairstow said he was happy that England had grabbed a first-innings lead of 27.

“I think the game today went through a few different periods,” he said.

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“This morning, the ball was a bit harder, and then as you probably saw, the pitch became kind of slow because the ball got softer, and it was more challenging and difficult to rotate the strike and also score boundaries. It ebbed and flowed all day, I think. If you had said, let’s have England a lead by the end of the day, you would have been fairly happy with that,” he explained.

‘Special’ player 

He praised Root, saying he had run out of superlatives to describe his value to the team. Root went past 9,000 runs in Test cricket during his knock on Saturday, after going past Graham Gooch on day two to become the second-highest run-getter in the format for England, behind Alastair Cook.

“He is in second place in the leaderboard among run-scorers in the history of the English game. It is very special to pass 9,000 Test runs in this game. It’s extremely special to score another 180 not out at Lord’s (he scored 180 at the same venue against Australia in 2013). I’ve run out of superlatives there, and to see him in the form that he is, playing the way he is, it’s awesome to be out there with him. It’s awesome to be out there putting on partnerships with him and enjoying every single moment of it as I’ve done over many years,” Bairstow said.

He said he enjoyed batting with Root.

HIGHLIGHTS - ENG v IND, 2nd TEST, DAY 3

“Joe and I, we said, when we were walking out…we were smiling to each other: ‘How good is it to be walking out on Saturday at Lord’s with your best mates?’ That’s exactly what it was. We really enjoyed our partnership; it was about having fun while you’re out there and really relishing and trying to put us in a position that would bring parity, and we’ve done that and gone slightly past them.

“To have a full crowd back at Lord’s with a new stand with family and friends here was really special,” Bairstow said.

How is Root as a batting partner?

“There are different parts of it, depending upon situations, if we’re seeing something about various bowlers, then we’ll chat about it. I think I’ve been batting with him for such a long period of time over many years that you get a gauge of each other’s temperament. You get a gauge of how you’re feeling in the middle,” replied Bairstow.

Timely fifty 

Bairstow’s 57 ended his half-century drought in Test matches. The last time he had scored a fifty was also at Lord’s, in 2019, in an Ashes Test. He said he was buoyed by how he batted on the third day and hoped a big knock was around the corner for him.

“You want to be playing. If you’re playing and you’re scoring runs, then you want to be within the side. I also think it (his selection) depends on how the balance of the side works. There are different balances and different looks that you can go for. You have to be mindful of that,” he said.

Bairstow wasn’t ready yet to predict an England win but he hoped day four would be a challenging one for India.

“I’m not a bookie; I don’t think I’ll ever be one. Let’s see how tomorrow goes. We’ve got a new ball in our hands. We saw it was tough and challenging when they got their second new ball today. We come in tomorrow all fired up; we’ve got guys we’re able to challenge in every way possible. We’ve got the pace of Woody (Mark Wood), we’ve got the swing of Jimmy (Anderson), we’ve got the nip of Ollie Rob (Ollie Robinson). Not to mention Sammy Curran (Sam Curran). It’s going to be a really challenging day hopefully, for the Indians. We’ll be looking to make sure we challenge every part of their game.”

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