Jonny Bairstow unleashed brutality in the three-match series against New Zealand striking at 120
Photo : AP
- Jonny Bairstow scored 369 runs in 293 balls in his last three innings
- Bairstow ended the series with a strike rate of 120
- England won the series 3-0 against New Zealand
Cricketers generally focus on Test cricket and the longer formats of the game to get back into form or score runs and take that form into the shorter. Many cricketers in the past including Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis have admitted that going from Tests to T20s is much easier than vice-versa. But who knew, someone would take their IPL form into Test matches and put on some of the most brutal displays of aggressive batting in the longest format of the game.
Bairstow, coming from the West Indies Test series took a few games to readjust to the T20 format in the IPL for Punjab Kings. However, once he hit form, he became unstoppable, especially in the last 4-5 games. Bairstow had a similar start to the New Zealand series with scores of 1, 16 and 8. But something changed for Bairstow coming into the second innings at Trent Bridge. All the shackles broke and the advice from the skipper - as clear as 'Don't even think about hitting on ground' - when England were chasing 299 in 72 overs helped Bairstow apply his T20 skills without any hesitation and he went berserk.
A 77-ball century at Trent Bridge was the first sign of Bazball (the nickname of Brendon McCullum era in England's Test cricket). However, it reached the level of insanity when Bairstow played like this with a debutant, who is a No. 8 and the side was reeling at 55/6 in the first innings at Headingley. Bairstow smashed a 157-ball 162, the second-fastest 150 for an England player and from looking like conceding a lead of over 100, England took a lead of 31 runs.
The second innings was no different. Bairstow walked in 185/3 when England lost Ollie Pope early on Day 5. Root was batting in his fifties and who knew, he would remain on 86 and Bairstow would blast a 44-ball 71. That was some unreal hitting anyone has seen. Bairstow ended the series at a strike rate of 120.
Bairstow's 120 is the second-highest strike rate for an individual batter in a Test series (minimum 300 runs) just behind Shahid Afridi's 121; highest for a batter in a Test series (minimum 300 balls) overtaking Ben Stokes' 109; highest for a batter in a Test series (350+ runs), overtaking Clive Lloyd's 109 among others.
The fans couldn't keep calm as some suggested that someone should tell him that the white-ball series is still a few days away, while many couldn't believe what they saw as they compared many batters' IPL strike rate to Bairstow's 120.
Here are some of the reactions:
India will have to beware as England are on the prowl and 3-0 against New Zealand is just an indicator of what they can do.