'Don't think about hitting it down, just plant it in stands' - Jonny Bairstow on Ben Stokes' advice during Nottingham heroics

Bairstow's 136 off 92 deliveries comprised 14 fours and 7 sixes to help England secure a series victory.

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Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

England’s Jonny Bairstow played one of the most entertaining innings in Tests for a long time and he stole the show on the final day at the Trent Bridge against New Zealand with a stunning knock. Chasing 299 to win, England knew that the task was uphill with not much time left on the day, however, they weren’t backed down by it and produced an incredible victory, thanks to a stupendous century from Bairstow.

The right-hander came in at 56 for 3 and many expected the home side would be happy to play out for a draw. However, his 179-run partnership off just 121 balls with Ben Stokes for the fifth wicket changed the game on its head and the Kiwis were taken aback by the assault from the duo. Bairstow in particular took the New Zealand bowlers to the cleaners with a 92-ball 136 that included 14 fours and seven sixes and recorded the second-fastest Test century by an England batter in the process.

I was just trying to do what the captain said: Jonny Bairstow

Bairstow noted his skipper Ben Stokes‘ words that motivated him and mentioned that Stokes wanted him to go for the maximums rather than curbing down just to fours. He went on to state his confusion in the past about his shot selection for the deliveries and explained that he is now focussing more on watching the ball. He was quite proud of England’s progress in the longest format in the last few years despite the noise around and felt that it has helped their bond grow as well.

“Ben said: ‘Don’t even think about hitting it down, just plant it in the stands. I was just trying to do what the captain said,” Bairstow was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

“I’m not sure about ‘picking the right ball’. Strip it back, it’s only you and the bowler there. That’s the bit that sometimes gets complicated. If you strip it back, and just watch the ball, that’s the zone right there, and you have to get in it.”

“This is No.1 for me, it’d be tricky not to be. There’s been a lot of chatter around England’s Test cricket over a few years, some of it’s been harsh, but I’m hugely proud about how we’ve gone about it in the last few years. It has enabled us to get closer as a group, and if we can keep that momentum, the sky is the limit,” he added.


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