Bairstow given show of faith by England coach Bayliss
Jonny Bairstow has been handed a show of faith by England coach Trevor Bayliss, who insists the World Cup winner is at his most dangerous when the pressure is on.
Bairstow played a vital role in landing England their long-awaited one-day silverware earlier last month but has become a less consistent contributor in the Test arena.
He was dismissed for eight and six as Australia won the Ashes opener by a crushing margin of 251, having bagged a pair of ducks against Ireland a week earlier.
That sequence of low scores lowered his average to 22.91 since the start of last summer, well below his career mark of 35.70 and nowhere near a true representation of man with six Test hundreds and 20 half-centuries to his name.
While there is no real appetite to drop Bairstow, both he and Jos Buttler gave huge amounts during the World Cup campaign and the idea that they might benefit from some time out of the glare has its supporters.
Bayliss has no such inclination. Asked if he was concerned about the wicketkeeper-batsman’s position ahead of next week’s second Specsavers Test at Lord’s, Bayliss said: “I wouldn’t have thought so. He’s got a bit in the bank, Jonny.
“We know what a class player he is and he’s at his best when he’s got a point to prove. He usually finds a way to motivate himself. When he’s got a point to prove that’s usually when he’s at the top of his game.”
Bayliss was also supportive of Bairstow’s ODI opening partner Jason Roy. Roy has yet to show he can replicate his domineering limited-overs style in the longer format, with different balls, different bowlers and different field settings adding up to very different results so far.
Roy’s only knock of note in his first four innings came when he was in at number three against Ireland, nightwatchman Jack Leach having taken the shine off the Dukes ball.
His second outing against Australia began promisingly enough but ended in ghastly fashion, charging down the crease and bowled through the gate by Nathan Lyon in what was ostensibly a day five rearguard.
Roy has been instructed to play his natural game wherever possible and Bayliss declined to punish him for doing just that.
“I thought he was trying throughout both innings to knuckle down and play in a Test match mode. But if he gets out like he did he’s got to take it on the chin, we’ve got to take it on the chin,” he said.
“If you’ve been applauding him for playing those kind of shots elsewhere it’s a bit hard to be too critical if he gets out playing that way.”
One obvious up-side in a losing cause was Roy’s Surrey captain Rory Burns, who ground out a maiden hundred in Birmingham to lay down a marker at the highest level.
He does not have a classical appearance at the crease or the widest array of strokes, but he does have an Ashes century at the first time of asking.
“We knew he was a fighter. He’s got a good style about him as a bloke so I’m very happy for him,” said Bayliss.
“He’d probably be the first to admit he hasn’t got the copybook technique but neither has the number four in the other team either (Steve Smith) and he scored plenty too.
“That just proves you don’t have to have the perfect technique to be able to score runs. It’s about understanding how your technique works and trying to make the best of the positions you find yourself in.”