Jonny Bairstow’s twin hundreds at the Edgbaston Test against India paved the winning way for England. The hosts were trailing 2-1 in the series but the Englishmen, along with former captain Joe Root, ensured a series-levelling win for the team.
Bairstow’s presence at the crease was no less than a nightmare for the Indian bowlers. Though the visitors managed to get the better of him in the first innings, he was unstoppable in the second. He teamed up with Root, who also scored an unbeaten 142, to stack a match-winning partnership of 269 runs for the fourth wicket.
But during his stay at the crease, Bairstow had to cross the hurdle of Virat Kohli’s words. The former India skipper tried to wind up the Englishman and it resulted in a heated exchange between both of them. Even the umpires had to intervene to calm them off. The incident worked as a booster for Bairstow who eventually shifted gears, helping England post 284 in reply to India’s first-innings score of 416.
The conversation between Kohli and Bairstow took social media by storm. Days after the conclusion of the Test series, veteran pacer James Anderson recalled the incident and said one should not poke the England batter.
“Jonny was 80 not out and Virat had been going at him and sledging him a lot. I don’t know if you saw the strike-rate difference? His strike rate was about 20 before Virat started sledging him and about 150 after. His first words back in the dressing room at lunch were: ‘When will they learn to shut it?’ If there’s somebody you don’t want to rub up the wrong way, it is Jonny Bairstow,” said Anderson, who hosts the Tailenders’ podcast.
The veteran seamer credited the newly-appointed coach in Tests, Brendon McCullum, for England’s recent success in the longer format. The latter’s inclusion has changed the team’s batting approach in the red-ball game which is being termed as ‘Bazball’; a term derived from McCullum’s nickname.
The theory helped the Three Lions white New Zealand last month and also took them to a clinical win against India.
“It’s the freedom we have now. We’re not in hotel rooms, bubbles, having to do Covid tests every day and we can do normal things like go to the shop, go for a beer, see your friends and family. All of those things accumulate together and obviously the excitement of working with Baz and the clarity he gave everyone,” Anderson said.