England v SA, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 2nd day August 17, 2012

Bairstow vindicates his selection

Having been picked in place of one of England's finest ever batsman, Jonny Bairstow succeeded in the most testing of circumstances
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Had Jonny Bairstow been accompanied on his walk to the crease by a wake of vultures, the pressure on him could hardly have been greater.

On the biggest stage, against the best attack, with the No. 1 Test ranking at stake, Bairstow battled through several spells of wonderfully hostile fast bowling to record the highest score of the match to date and resurrect his side's flagging victory hopes.

England were teetering on 54 for 4 when he joined Ian Bell, still 255 runs behind and in danger of failing to reach the follow-on mark of 110. By the close they were just 101 behind with five wickets in hand. The Test, the series and the No.1 ranking all remain in the balance. It is largely due to Bairstow.

In years to come, we may come to compare this innings with Jonathan Trott's Test debut against Australia at the Oval in 2009. This is not Bairstow's debut, of course. He has played three Tests previously but, having had some weakness against the short ball exploited by West Indies' fast bowlers, he came into this match with many questions to answer about his technique and temperament and many doubters to silence. Certainly the South Africa side were quick to remind him - both vocally and with a number of searing short deliveries - of his previous struggles.

Bairstow also played this innings in the knowledge that he was the replacement for Kevin Pietersen, the man of the match in the last Test and, arguably, England's best middle order batsman for half a century. Bairstow knew that his was a controversial selection and he knew that some were willing him to fail. He knew, too, that when he came out to bat that his side were desperately in need of a substantial contribution. It takes something quite special to perform in such circumstances.

But perhaps we should not have been surprised. Bairstow has only played 13 international limited-overs games and he has won the man of the match award in two of them. He has shown before that he has the temperament to thrive in such circumstances, not least on his international debut at Cardiff when he seized an ODI against the World Champions, India, by the scruff of the neck and pulled off a remarkable victory.

There is no doubt that, just as Pietersen was dropped for perceived flaws in his character, Bairstow was selected by perceived strengths in his.

Bairstow lost confidence after his experience against West Indies. His next eight innings after the series in all formats brought him a top score of just 27 and five scores under six. He spoke to Geoffrey Boycott, a close family friend for many years, and worked hard with England batting coaches Graham Gooch and Graham Thorpe but ultimately, according to his county coach, he just required more time in the middle. A century, albeit a century on a sluggish, flat pitch, against Australia A last week was perfect preparation for this match.

"He was disappointed after the West Indies series," Martin Moxon, the director of cricket at Yorkshire, said. "He had a rough few weeks and a little bit of doubt crept into his mind. It can be tough when you struggle a bit and then you hear people questioning you and your technique.

"But I don't think anyone who knew him well thought that he had a serious problem against the short ball. It was just that he hadn't been exposed to that much genuinely quick bowling and, to improve, you have to face more of it.

"The most important thing he could do was get that belief in himself back again. He needed a long innings and he got it by scoring a century against Leicestershire. He followed that with a century for England Lions against an Australia A side which included a proper fast bowler in Mitchell Johnson last week, so he went into the Test with his confidence restored.

"It's no surprise to anyone at Yorkshire that he has played this innings. He has character in abundance and I'm sure he'll go on to have a long career for England now."

It would be naive to suggest that this innings proves that Kevin Pietersen may not be missed by England, though. Equally, it would be simplistic to conclude that Bairstow is certain to enjoy a long and glorious Test career.

Sport rarely offers such certainty and it should not be overlooked that several of England's top order - notably Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott - were guilty of strokes unbecoming of batsmen of their class. On merit and ignoring personality issues Pietersen still walks in this team.

But it surely bodes well for Bairstow, for England and for cricket in Britain that a 22-year-old can be plucked from the county game and perform so admirably in such circumstances. There is still considerable work to do on day three - England need a first innings lead to be confident of forcing a result in this game - but from a position where they were clinging on desperately, they have now transferred just a little of the pressure on to the shoulders of the South Africa team. And their record of dealing with pressure is not the best.

This was not a wholly convincing innings. There were times when Bairstow was unsettled by the short ball, times when he was beaten outside off stump and times, such as the edge that flew between the slips and the gully to bring up his maiden Test half-century, when he enjoyed some fortune.

But perhaps those struggles made Bairstow's innings all the more impressive. It forced him to work. It forced a thorough examination of technique and temperament and, in between some nervous moments, he showed the patience to wait for the scoring opportunity - after 69 deliveries he had scored only 28 runs - the ability to leave well and the ability to put away the poor ball - including the poor short ball - with encouraging confidence. Bairstow was tested, certainly, but he passed with some flair.

"He showed great character," Ian Bell, his partner in a stand of 124 for England's fifth-wicket said afterwards. "He was tested on areas he has worked on and handled himself brilliantly. South Africa really tested him but he got through it.

"He was probably committed to one thing against the short ball. Against the West Indies he maybe didn't know whether he wanted to take it on or get under it. But he showed good technique, he got his hands out of the way to Morkel and Steyn then when he wanted to take it on he committed to that. We started to see the shots you hear about from him in county cricket."

Sometimes we make too much of character. While coaches often state that it is more important than natural talent that approach would, taken to its logical conclusion, mean Nelson Mandela opening the batting for South Africa and Florence Nightingale the bowling for England.

But there is no doubt that, just as Pietersen was dropped for perceived flaws in his character, Bairstow was selected by perceived strengths in his. And, in arguably as high a pressure situation as a Test can be played, he fully vindicated that selection.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ross_Co on August 18, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    @Ben Tumilty - Phil Hughes scored a century against this attack. Not that I'm saying that Hughes is a champion - almost home-grown English in his mediocrity in fact - but a better player of the short ball than Bairstow beyond any doubt. Bairstow certainly had his own technique against the chin music - I suppose if you drop the bat on the ground & cover your face with your hands, you stand very little chance of getting caught.

  • Meety on August 18, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    @Ben Tumilty - the bits I've seen of his innings may suggest his weakness against the short ball is a myth. The myth won't be disproven by a good 90 though, also bear in mind, that the WIndies pacers were a bit quicker, & someone like Cummins or Pattinson being that extra 5+kph faster may disturb him with short stuff. There was enuff in the WIndies series to suggest he could have a problem, & I think teams will have it in their Plan A or B to him for a while to come. It is TEST cricket after all!

  • on August 18, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Give credit where credit is due, young Bairstow's holding England up and keeping them somewhat in it at the moment, but to you KP haters, Bairstow's not our #4 replacement, he's filling in for our #6 (who was Bopara, then Morgan, and now Bairstow after Bopara pulled out citing personal reasons). I expect the KP saga to close soon but the ECB would be living in cloud cuckoo land if they think they've found a replacement for KP. However, Bairstow would make a fine #6 if he can continue to churn out the runs. Blooding young talent is never a bad thing. Remember, England are a much stronger team with KP in the side irrespective of events that have occurred.

  • thebrotherswaugh on August 18, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    @Ben Tumilty, looks comfortable against the short ball? Who're you kiddin. A bit of chin music from Steyn early on day 3 and he'll turn to jelly and meekly give his wicket away. As for Phil Hughes, that's one of the reasons he ain't in the resurgent AUS team. But a moot point, because your popgun attack can't afford to bowl short, that's just 'money for old rope' from the 80 mph fraternity. You've had your miracle already, none of the same in the Saffers 2nd dig, barring the all-too-frequent questionable umpiring decisions that always seem to go the way of the Poms. SA will treat the Pom attack with the utter disdain it deserves and rack up a serious lead (they'll only need 200), then rip through ENG. The Barmy Army should pray for rain, it's your only hope. Gonna be a very messy tour of IND for your guys; I expect a few careers to end, and yep, Swanny's at the top of that list.

  • on August 18, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    RandyOz - were you not watching? About 60% of the balls bowled at him were short! And he seemed to play them very well, pulling well, leaving well. To be fair to him, he looks a darn sight more comfortable against the short ball than Phil Hughes...

  • JG2704 on August 18, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    Re dealing with pressure , I'm not sure either team has handled pressure that well in recent times. England certainly haven't as they proved in UAE,SL 1st test here. Re SA , I'm not sure. I think maybe at times they get a little complacent. I mean when they needed to chase down a challenging score on a pitch where they bowled Aus out for 47 they did it with ease. When they had 300+ runs to play with against that same Aus side in the 2nd test , their dynamic pace attack could not defend it. Obviously something must be put down to Aus batsmen playing well but I also wonder if - esp when Aus were 170 odd for 5 they thought they had the game sewn up. Just a thought

  • RednWhiteArmy on August 18, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Superb effort from another exciting future prospect. If he was an aussie he would have been playing for 2 or 3 years now, i mean they cant even replace ponting and he's 38 like hussey.. Have australia actually found any decent batsman since "pup" in 2002? Using watson as opener with 2 pensioners in the middle order must set alarm bells ringing.

  • on August 18, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    Bairstow played very well to lead the English recovery.Showing dedication and the urge to stay at crease to face Steyn & Co. especially when the side is in such precarious position and the person whom Bairstow replaced deserves praise.However to say he is a superstar in waiting or the ideal replacement of KP in such short span of time would be inappropriate.Surely he has talent but still there is a long way to go.

  • on August 18, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Gutsy is a much over-used word but it sums up Bairstow's innings on a wonderful sunny afternoon of intense Test cricket at the home of cricket. Well done, young man, your late father would have been very proud of you.

  • SamRoy on August 18, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    I thought Bairstow batted aggressively yet without giving any chances.Which in short implies he batted really well. However, we need to put things into perspective a little bit.There was no lateral movement when the sun was out which made batting very easy, a lot easier than first day. But he had to deal with scoreboard pressure of 54-4. So very well played but nothing out of the ordinary. Anyway, this is going to be a close game and given SA's record in close games, England are favourites to win this game, in my opinion.

  • Ross_Co on August 18, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    @Ben Tumilty - Phil Hughes scored a century against this attack. Not that I'm saying that Hughes is a champion - almost home-grown English in his mediocrity in fact - but a better player of the short ball than Bairstow beyond any doubt. Bairstow certainly had his own technique against the chin music - I suppose if you drop the bat on the ground & cover your face with your hands, you stand very little chance of getting caught.

  • Meety on August 18, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    @Ben Tumilty - the bits I've seen of his innings may suggest his weakness against the short ball is a myth. The myth won't be disproven by a good 90 though, also bear in mind, that the WIndies pacers were a bit quicker, & someone like Cummins or Pattinson being that extra 5+kph faster may disturb him with short stuff. There was enuff in the WIndies series to suggest he could have a problem, & I think teams will have it in their Plan A or B to him for a while to come. It is TEST cricket after all!

  • on August 18, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Give credit where credit is due, young Bairstow's holding England up and keeping them somewhat in it at the moment, but to you KP haters, Bairstow's not our #4 replacement, he's filling in for our #6 (who was Bopara, then Morgan, and now Bairstow after Bopara pulled out citing personal reasons). I expect the KP saga to close soon but the ECB would be living in cloud cuckoo land if they think they've found a replacement for KP. However, Bairstow would make a fine #6 if he can continue to churn out the runs. Blooding young talent is never a bad thing. Remember, England are a much stronger team with KP in the side irrespective of events that have occurred.

  • thebrotherswaugh on August 18, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    @Ben Tumilty, looks comfortable against the short ball? Who're you kiddin. A bit of chin music from Steyn early on day 3 and he'll turn to jelly and meekly give his wicket away. As for Phil Hughes, that's one of the reasons he ain't in the resurgent AUS team. But a moot point, because your popgun attack can't afford to bowl short, that's just 'money for old rope' from the 80 mph fraternity. You've had your miracle already, none of the same in the Saffers 2nd dig, barring the all-too-frequent questionable umpiring decisions that always seem to go the way of the Poms. SA will treat the Pom attack with the utter disdain it deserves and rack up a serious lead (they'll only need 200), then rip through ENG. The Barmy Army should pray for rain, it's your only hope. Gonna be a very messy tour of IND for your guys; I expect a few careers to end, and yep, Swanny's at the top of that list.

  • on August 18, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    RandyOz - were you not watching? About 60% of the balls bowled at him were short! And he seemed to play them very well, pulling well, leaving well. To be fair to him, he looks a darn sight more comfortable against the short ball than Phil Hughes...

  • JG2704 on August 18, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    Re dealing with pressure , I'm not sure either team has handled pressure that well in recent times. England certainly haven't as they proved in UAE,SL 1st test here. Re SA , I'm not sure. I think maybe at times they get a little complacent. I mean when they needed to chase down a challenging score on a pitch where they bowled Aus out for 47 they did it with ease. When they had 300+ runs to play with against that same Aus side in the 2nd test , their dynamic pace attack could not defend it. Obviously something must be put down to Aus batsmen playing well but I also wonder if - esp when Aus were 170 odd for 5 they thought they had the game sewn up. Just a thought

  • RednWhiteArmy on August 18, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Superb effort from another exciting future prospect. If he was an aussie he would have been playing for 2 or 3 years now, i mean they cant even replace ponting and he's 38 like hussey.. Have australia actually found any decent batsman since "pup" in 2002? Using watson as opener with 2 pensioners in the middle order must set alarm bells ringing.

  • on August 18, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    Bairstow played very well to lead the English recovery.Showing dedication and the urge to stay at crease to face Steyn & Co. especially when the side is in such precarious position and the person whom Bairstow replaced deserves praise.However to say he is a superstar in waiting or the ideal replacement of KP in such short span of time would be inappropriate.Surely he has talent but still there is a long way to go.

  • on August 18, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Gutsy is a much over-used word but it sums up Bairstow's innings on a wonderful sunny afternoon of intense Test cricket at the home of cricket. Well done, young man, your late father would have been very proud of you.

  • SamRoy on August 18, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    I thought Bairstow batted aggressively yet without giving any chances.Which in short implies he batted really well. However, we need to put things into perspective a little bit.There was no lateral movement when the sun was out which made batting very easy, a lot easier than first day. But he had to deal with scoreboard pressure of 54-4. So very well played but nothing out of the ordinary. Anyway, this is going to be a close game and given SA's record in close games, England are favourites to win this game, in my opinion.

  • Bilal94 on August 18, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    What is it with these Pietersen replacements.First Bell in ODIs then Hales in T20s and now Bairstow in tests.It seems whoeverreplaces him performs.

  • phoenixsteve on August 18, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    Maybe we've seen a new England star in the making? A star who doesn't have a huge ego, a star who everybody in the team likes, a star who can rise to the occasion and a star for the future? I really really hope so! The key to lauching this stardom will be tomorrow's new ball and whether England can establish a significant lead? 100 would be nice, 150 even better and 200+ enough! This game is not over and all 4 results remain possible. I for one will be watching from 3 am here in Phoenix, Arizona .... more daytime Zombie to come! COME ON ENGLAMD!!!

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 18, 2012, 2:49 GMT

    hahahahaha !! It's funny how Dobell uses smart words to say England has a better chance to win this game. I know about SA and their association with the 'C' word. However, SA also know that this is their best chance of winning the series and also taking the no.1 title as an added gift. I am sure they are thinking positively just as must as England are positive in squaring the series and retaining the no.1 title. As a neutral, I am enjoying these kind of articles from the English columnists and reaction to them by SA fans.

  • RandyOZ on August 18, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    Still looks extremely suspect against the short ball, and SA will realise they didnt exploit this enough. I doubt he will add to his overnight score.

  • jezzastyles on August 18, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    One innings does not make a career, but it certainly illustrated that the young man possesses the skills and fortitude to make it on the biggest stage of all. Steyn and Morkel were steaming in and bowling a very demanding line and length. This was a classy knock. Yes, he struggled against the WI, but every batsmen, regardless of ability, is going to have patches of poor form. He certainly made the most of this opportunity, and that's all you can expect from any player. The article made comparisons to Trott, whose form in this series has been very poor. Trott must register a score of 50+ in the 2nd inning, no excuses. Once again, congratulations to Bairstow - he's done all of the hard work, he must push on and score a big hundred.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 18, 2012, 2:12 GMT

    I don't know how well Bairstow would perform in the future BUT he surely has grabbed this opportunity with both hands. He looks promising and he's young. He has it in him to handle pressure. Hopefully he can continue on tomorrow and build a substantial lead with Prior. The first 45 minutes will be CRUCIAL from England's perspective. If they can handle Steyn and co. with the new ball then batting should become easy in the middle periods. A gripping test match so far. Being a T20 fan, I enjoyed all the video highlights. :D

  • VillageBlacksmith on August 18, 2012, 1:28 GMT

    JB looks a good prospect, and credit where it is due... at 22 JB has shown a lot of courage, both in his personal and professional life, a lot more than the armchair snipers on this site... I enjoyed the comedy moment in the article tho... An ''Australia A side which included a proper fast bowler in Mitchell Johnson last week''... Yeah right!.... ''He bowls to the left... he bowls to the right...'' etc etc

  • maddinson on August 18, 2012, 1:26 GMT

    I was shocked that only after just 2-3 test matches he was bracketed in the league of Raina who is playing international cricket for 5-6 years and don't have any kind of answers against a decent bowling line up. However it is too early to even praise him, all the best Johny..

  • jmcilhinney on August 18, 2012, 0:55 GMT

    Excellent stuff from Bairstow. It's just one innings but the nay-sayers were assuring us that even that would never happen. This was a mature innings under considerable pressure. I think his troubles against the short ball were a bit overstated though. He didn't do well against WI but it was only one innings where he really came unstuck against short-pitched bowling. It looked to be a result of indecision to me. He now seems to have a definite plan and the short ball and it worked here. I think SA actually did him a favour by bowling so much short stuff because he looked extremely confident later on in pulling a few bouncers away. He also looked quite comfortable against Tahir's leg spin. I guess having faced Rashid a lot at Yorkshire may have help with that. Hopefully that's a sign that he will be more comfortable in India if he goes on the tour this winter.

  • jmcilhinney on August 18, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    @ SICHO on (August 17 2012, 20:52 PM GMT), um, I think that George was referring to SA's record of handling pressure over a significantly longer period than just this series. It wasn't he who coined the term "chokers" for SA. Whether deserved or not, it's been a widely held view of this team for some time. Maybe this series is a sign that they are going to shake that tag. If England pull off a victory in this game though, it will only be reinforced. Given that England are in a better position now than SA were in their first innings, a lead is still well within the realms of possibility. Much work to do though, and they need some contributions from the lower order, as SA got. Definitely time for Broad to justify that "allrounder" tag. Obviously Bairstow and Prior are the key though. If they weather the storm and get rolling they could put on some fairly quick runs. If either or both go early though, England are right behind the 8 ball.

  • suniljoseph on August 17, 2012, 23:36 GMT

    in my opininion south africa are the worst team when it comes to pressure. and that is why they are called chokers. if england take a considerable lead in the first innings, i am sure south africa will struggle even to save this test match.let us hope the third day be another fascinating one.

  • maddy20 on August 17, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    Though I disagree with some points such as using England handling pressure well(especially considering how they squandered their advantage in the first 2 tests), the praise of Bairstow is well justified. Like many others I though he is gonna fail especially after his similar dismissals throught the series against WI, where Tino Best and Roach made him their bunny. It was watchful, gritty, gutsy, aggressive all at the same time. His toughest test though awaits him in the first session tomorrow morning, after SA take the new ball.

  • on August 17, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    Overrating your players once again.

  • on August 17, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    @TestOfTime, I don't think you've understood the analogy at all. He's pointing at a flaw in the thinking that character is better than talent. Try re-reading that section of the article.

  • Daniel_Smith on August 17, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    There's signs of promise here and fair play to Bairstow for showing some character. Unless England get a slight lead tomorrow then the match is South Africa's for the taking. The turning point in this series was the second day when Cook got out after making a century. If he had stayed in then the first test may well have been different. Worth bearing that in mind tomorrow. The first session will be crucial. The problem for England is that South Africa know they can settle for a draw and it needs England to produce something special. I can't see it happening somehow. England are a good team. South Africa are on the verge of being a great team and that's the difference.

  • SICHO on August 17, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    "And their record of dealing with pressure is no the best.", you gotta be kidding me!! What was Mr Dobell watching over the last 2 Test huh? England dominated the 1st day of the 1st Test. SA came back strongly, again, KP dominated the bowlers, and was removed 2nd ball of the next day and SA were right in the game. This guy is just a one-sided, bias writer. Everything to him is about England, no respect to the opposition at all. Just the same as David Hopps who suggested that SA were going to be dismissed under 150 after the Pietersen innings. Shame.

  • TestOfTime on August 17, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    Nelson Mandela and Florence Nightingale? Really? Determination in one field would mean success in every other?? Would that mean the highly talented Michael Schumacher would blaze centuries in cricket? Such wrong analogies. Secondly, this is just 1 half century. so what? there's the new ball and there's the second innings. hold on before you make him the next best thing on earth

  • Blindedview on August 17, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    Good innings from little jonny...proved me as well as several other doubters wrong.but tomorrow will be the deciding day.I hope the saffas don't choke this time around in there second innings/.

  • peter4135 on August 17, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    O well...here we go again...there's no way that england will win this test Mr. Dobell,no way!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 17, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    Meh, we'll see... Second innings yet to come!

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  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 17, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    Meh, we'll see... Second innings yet to come!

  • peter4135 on August 17, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    O well...here we go again...there's no way that england will win this test Mr. Dobell,no way!

  • Blindedview on August 17, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    Good innings from little jonny...proved me as well as several other doubters wrong.but tomorrow will be the deciding day.I hope the saffas don't choke this time around in there second innings/.

  • TestOfTime on August 17, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    Nelson Mandela and Florence Nightingale? Really? Determination in one field would mean success in every other?? Would that mean the highly talented Michael Schumacher would blaze centuries in cricket? Such wrong analogies. Secondly, this is just 1 half century. so what? there's the new ball and there's the second innings. hold on before you make him the next best thing on earth

  • SICHO on August 17, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    "And their record of dealing with pressure is no the best.", you gotta be kidding me!! What was Mr Dobell watching over the last 2 Test huh? England dominated the 1st day of the 1st Test. SA came back strongly, again, KP dominated the bowlers, and was removed 2nd ball of the next day and SA were right in the game. This guy is just a one-sided, bias writer. Everything to him is about England, no respect to the opposition at all. Just the same as David Hopps who suggested that SA were going to be dismissed under 150 after the Pietersen innings. Shame.

  • Daniel_Smith on August 17, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    There's signs of promise here and fair play to Bairstow for showing some character. Unless England get a slight lead tomorrow then the match is South Africa's for the taking. The turning point in this series was the second day when Cook got out after making a century. If he had stayed in then the first test may well have been different. Worth bearing that in mind tomorrow. The first session will be crucial. The problem for England is that South Africa know they can settle for a draw and it needs England to produce something special. I can't see it happening somehow. England are a good team. South Africa are on the verge of being a great team and that's the difference.

  • on August 17, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    @TestOfTime, I don't think you've understood the analogy at all. He's pointing at a flaw in the thinking that character is better than talent. Try re-reading that section of the article.

  • on August 17, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    Overrating your players once again.

  • maddy20 on August 17, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    Though I disagree with some points such as using England handling pressure well(especially considering how they squandered their advantage in the first 2 tests), the praise of Bairstow is well justified. Like many others I though he is gonna fail especially after his similar dismissals throught the series against WI, where Tino Best and Roach made him their bunny. It was watchful, gritty, gutsy, aggressive all at the same time. His toughest test though awaits him in the first session tomorrow morning, after SA take the new ball.

  • suniljoseph on August 17, 2012, 23:36 GMT

    in my opininion south africa are the worst team when it comes to pressure. and that is why they are called chokers. if england take a considerable lead in the first innings, i am sure south africa will struggle even to save this test match.let us hope the third day be another fascinating one.