Bairstow wants to be England's long-term wicketkeeper


His career behind the stumps is in its infancy, but Jonny Bairstow is aiming to be England's Test wicketkeeper for the long haul.

Bairstow took the gloves from Jos Buttler during the series against Pakistan in November and has retained the position for the tour of South Africa, costing the latter his place in the side.

Although Bairstow has only acted as wicketkeeper-batsman in five Tests, his first two a baptism of fire late in the 5-0 Ashes whitewash at the hands of Australia in 2013-14, the Yorkshireman is determined to continue contributing in both roles.

However, the 26-year-old knows he faces a tough initiation as he looks to make the position his own.

"I don't think you can ever say you've nailed it down [the wicketkeeper's spot], but I'm pleased with the contributions I've made," said Bairstow.

"When I played as just a batsman in the Pakistan series I made some decent contributions there but then perhaps didn't go on to make that big contribution.

"I think I've only kept for four or five Test matches so it's still a natural learning curve, you're still bedding into Test cricket as a batsman and as a wicketkeeper. I'm still a young guy learning what is a massive test for everybody. It's a massive learning curve.

"I'm pleased with the way I'm catching the ball and now pleased with the way I'm moving. Hopefully people will be able to get behind me with my keeping and my contributions with my batting and hopefully that will bring me more confidence too.

"I'd like to think I'm in the side for my keeping for a long time now as I've put in a lot of time, energy and pain into it and can't see any reason why I won't be keeping for England in the future."

Having fallen five shot of a maiden Test century against South Africa at Lord's in 2012, Bairstow finally reached the milestone in the drawn second Test against South Africa this month.

His unbeaten 150 formed part of a record-breaking 399-run stand with Ben Stokes, who hit the second fastest double-hundred in Test history off 163 balls.

"It was an unbelievable knock from Ben and it was a pleasure to be at the other end and be a little part of that partnership.

"It was amazing, my family were out there so it was a big week for them too and to miss out in 2012 was getting to be a bit of a pain in the backside.

"To contribute not just in the last game but the first Test as well was really pleasing and it was an emotional week."

The third Test starts in Johannesburg on Thursday, with England leading the four-match series 1-0.