Bairstow’s brilliance gets Yorkshire out of jail

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow

Jonny Bairstow continued his superb LV=County Championship form, hitting his 15th first-class century to keep Yorkshire afloat against Warwickshire on the opening day at Edgbaston.

On the fringes of England’s teams this year, Bairstow has responded with runs galore. He went into this match with 636 from eight championship innings at an average of 106 and continued in the same vein with an electrifying knock which lit up Edgbaston on a day of spectacular lightning storms.

As Yorkshire struggled to 213 all out, Bairstow towered above his colleagues as he stroked 108 from 139 balls with 15 fours. The value of his work heightened in the closing overs of the day when Warwickshire lost two wickets without a run on the board, reaching the close on 11 for two.

Bairstow went in with his team in trouble at 26 for three and appeared to bat in different conditions to anyone else. Voraciously punishing any ball that was loose, and plenty which weren’t, he appears ready as can be for Ashes combat if the call comes.

How his team needed him against a Warwickshire bowling attack which shrugged off the absence of injured seamers Chris Woakes and Keith Barker to regularly prune the White Rose’s batting.

Chris Wright led the way with an excellent five for 40, starting with a fiery new-ball burst which removed Will Rhodes, beaten for pace and bowled, and Jack Leaning, caught at third slip. Former Yorkshire seamer Oliver Hannon-Dalby had Andrew Gale caught at slip before Alex Lees was stumped off Jeetan Patel by Peter McKay, who is playing because first-choice wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose is ill.

McKay had an impressive day with one expensive exception. In the last over before lunch he failed to hold a difficult leg-side offering by Bairstow, on 37, off Wright.

While Bairstow exploited his reprieve, his partners continued to come and go with Rikki Clarke having a hand in the next three dismissals. The all-rounder trapped Aaron Finch lbw and had Tim Bresnan caught by McKay before taking a second-slip catch off Hannon-Dalby to remove James Middlebrook.

After the storm, Yorkshire resumed on 184 for seven and Bairstow, on 94, soon completed a high-class 134-ball ton before before Wright wrapped up the innings with three wickets in 16 balls.

Warwickshire started their reply disastrously, losing two wickets in the first three balls from Ryan Sidebottom as Varun Chopra left a straight one and was bowled and Wright fell lbw.