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‘No reason why not’ – Bairstow confident of England revival

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

England wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow believes that there’s enough time for his team to stage a comeback, after they finished the second day of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford on 23/1, trailing Australia by 474 runs in the first innings.

Australia took the honours on Thursday, September 5, in Manchester, having first posted a substantial first-innings total of 497/8, and then removing England opener Joe Denly in the final hour of play. The hosts now face a stiff challenge on the third day, against a well-rounded bowling attack in trying conditions. Bairstow, however, spoke positively about their chances, saying there is no reason why the home team can’t turn it around, like they did in Headingley.

“There are three innings and three days of cricket left,” Bairstow said. “If we can go out and apply ourselves tomorrow, bat for a long period of time like we did at Headingley, there is no reason why not.”

England had looked down and out after being bundled out for 67 in the first innings at Leeds, and were eventually set a target of 359. Ben Stokes then produced a heroic 135* to dramatically turn the tables on Australia and ensure that the series remained up for grabs at 1-1.

Bairstow believes that breaking the game down into small instalments would be the way to approach the remainder of the Test.

“Let’s look at the next day, let’s look at the next session and see where we get to,” he said. “I don’t think looking too far ahead, we’ve had two contrasting days with the weather, we’ll see how the pitch changes over a period of time.”

That England face an uphill task was once again down to the brilliance of Steve Smith, who registered his third double century, each coming against England, to continue his dream comeback to Test cricket. England’s bowlers, much like they did in the second Test at Lord’s, persisted with short-ball tactics to try and unsettle the right-hander, but couldn’t breach his defences as he raised the three-figure mark for the third time in four innings this series.

Bairstow, however, backed England’s Plan A against the ace batsman and said that it’ll pay dividends soon.

“I am sure we are the only team around the world who have tried a few different plans,” the Yorkshire cricketer said. “We’ll be sticking to the plans that we’ve got. He’s played and missed to a few balls today, which he hasn’t previously in the series. On another day, we get him out earlier.”

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