Jonny Bairstow proved to be the thorn for the West Indian bowling line-up yet again, as he registered another impressive century last night in the first Test of the 2022 Wisden Trophy at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. The wicketkeeper batsman remained unbeaten at 109, as his gritty century put the visitors in a strong position at stumps, ending the day’s play at 268/6.
Bairstow, who will soon be seen playing for Punjab Kings in the TATA Indian Premier League, walked out to bat with his team in a spot of bother at 48/4. The visitors had already lost both openers and their talismanic captain Joe Root, but Bairstow’s arrival helped steady the ship as he stitched together a crucial 67-run partnership with Ben Stokes.
Stokes departed in the 40th over, but Bairstow held fort along with new batter Ben Foakes, as England coasted away from danger. The duo added 99 runs for the sixth wicket, blunting the pace battery of West Indies which boasted the likes of Kemar Roach, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph and Jayden Seales.
Bairstow showed great restraint against this quality bowling line-up, scoring marginally above a strike rate of 50, and getting eight boundaries enroute to getting another Test ton. This is the second successive red ball game in which Bairstow managed to score a century, following on from the practice match against the West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI where he managed to score 106*.
The 32-year-old was also the only visiting player to score a ton in the 2021-22 Ashes, when he scored 113 against a grueling Aussie bowling attack in Sydney. With this century against West Indies, Jonny Bairstow also now has more away centuries (6) than some of England’s elites like Graham Gooch, Mike Gatting, Michael Vaughan, Ben Stokes to name a few.
The Englishman seems to have hit a purple patch at exactly the right moment ahead of the 2022 Indian Premier League, and Punjab Kings fans would be hopeful for this momentum to carry on through the next couple of months as well.