Hampshire v Yorkshire, 2nd day, West End

Bairstow first-baller extends agony

Ivo Tennant at West End

July 12, 2012

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Yorkshire 83 for 3 v Hampshire
Scorecard


Jonny Bairstow fends off a short ball during his brief stay, England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day, May 27, 2012
Jonny Bairstow has struggled for form since a testing Test baptism © Getty Images
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Poor Jonny Bairstow. Ever since he was selected for England in mid-May, he has been expected, willed even, to score runs. Whether he is appearing in Test cricket, in T20 or, as now, in a championship fixture, out of form and in conditions wholly alien to his strokeplay, he is a failure if he does not make a sizeable contribution.

In ten innings since that debut at Lord's, he has mustered just 131 runs. He did not add to this tally at West End.

The major incident of the rain-hit day - a sad one from all but Hampshire's perspective - was that Bairstow was dismissed for a golden duck. It was not a propitious time to bat, Hampshire having won the toss on the washed-out opening day of this match and been delighted to put Yorkshire in.

Bairstow came to the crease when Phil Jacques edged Kabir to Michael Bates. Since he was chosen to play for England at Lord's in May, his scores in his ten innings have been 16, 0 not out, 4, 68, 18, 17, 2, 5, 1 and 0. In that time he was unsettled by some short-pitched bowling from West Indies' Kemar Roach and his technique against the quicks has been analysed far and wide.

True, most of these innings have been played in t20 cricket, but even there he has failed individually to shine in a successful Yorkshire side which reached the quarter-finals by topping the group.

It is axiomatic that he is out of form, but the first ball he received would have dismissed many a batsman in touch.

Kabir Ali, for once fully fit, his troubled knee "behaving itself" as he put it, had taken the new ball and he swung it at a full length at fast medium. He pitched up his first ball to Bairstow, found late movement off the pitch and defeated a defensive push. Bates took a straightforward catch.

England's selectors gave Bairstow their blessing to play in this fixture, one involving a lengthy journey, constant rain and conditions far from ideal for any batsman feeling his way back to prominence. Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan are regartded as ahead of him in the pecking order for the first Test at The Oval.

The other wicket to fall was that of Adam Lyth, whom James Tomlinson had leg before in the fourth over. Joe Root batted throughout the 26 overs that were bowled, and will resume - always assuming there is a resumption - four runs short of a half century. He will have to contend with a refreshed Kabir, who had spoken to Craig White, the former Yorkshire all rounder and now Hampshire bowling coach, as to how best to dismiss Bairstow.

"I was trying to bowl in-swingers but I didn't know what was happening," he admitted. "And if I don't know what is happening, the batsman won't either. It is a slow pitch but the ball is nibbling around a bit. This is my fifth championship match of the summer and I am feeling fine."

So another day of high summer and another wholly accurate forecast of rain: for Nigel Gray, Hampshire's head groundsman,it is the wettest cricket season he can recall. He is not the only one.

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Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (July 13, 2012, 19:15 GMT)

@Fifthman: I agree with you about the lack of summer, anyway. On another note, just looking at cricinfo's "County homepage", I observe that almost all the headlines seem to be about the doings/run-scoring/lack-of-run-scoring/speechifyings of current England batsmen (Bell, Pietersen, Bairstow, Strauss). On what is supposed to be a "County homepage" this seems a little remiss. I know England have an important series coming up and monitoring England players' form will interest some people, but it's a bit like cricinfo headline-writers think that nobody values county cricket for its own sake.

Posted by Fifthman on (July 12, 2012, 21:25 GMT)

Bairstow's time will come. But I doubt it will be this summer (if that's what you can call it).

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