England batter Jonny Bairstow on Tuesday (June 14) scored the second-fastest century for his country in Test cricket and surpassed the record of current skipper Ben Stokes. Bairstow achieved this feat during the second Test of the three-match series against New Zealand at Trent Bridge, where he smashed his ton in just 77 balls. The record for the fastest Test century for England is held by Gilbert Jessop against Australia in 1902 at The Oval.
Former India opener Virender Sehwag led the praise and calling it an ‘an innings of a lifetime’. “Jonny Bairstow, an innings of a lifetime, one of the best counter-attacking 4th innings you will ever see. Well done England , Test Cricket is Best Cricket,” Sehwag wrote.
Jonny Bairstow, an innings of a lifetime, one of the best counter-attacking 4th innings you will ever see.Well done England , Test Cricket is Best Cricket. #ENGvNZ pic.twitter.com/BV5dVzbIqk
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) June 14, 2022
Coming to the second Test, Bairstow and captain Ben Stokes shined for England with the bat, helping their side win the second Test against New Zealand by five wickets and clinch the three-match series. It was a see-saw contest between the Kiwis and England. While mammoth 500-plus scores during the first innings of both sides suggested that the match could head to a draw, New Zealand ended up setting a challenging target of 299, which England chased down with five wickets and more than 20 overs to spare.
“It was great fun, one of those things when you get in that mood, just go with it. Do or die, so you’ve got to do. Not sure about ‘picking the right ball’… strip it back, it’s only you and the bowler there. Just watch the ball, that`s the zone and you have to get in it,” said Bairstow.
“Ben (Stokes) said don’t even think about hitting one down, hit it into the stands… When there’s been so many runs scored in the game, you don’t look at it as a record run-chase, we saw it as a one-day game. Pitch good, outfield fast, positive approach, the brand of cricket, and the players who can play that brand of cricket. Let’s see what’s going to happen because it’s going to be a journey,” added Bairstow.
Chasing 299, England was not off a good start as they lost opener Zak Crawley for a duck a the score of 12. A 41-run stand between Ollie Pope and Alex Lees followed but the former gave away his wicket to pacer Matt Henry for 18, after he was caught by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell. Root, the hero of previous innings fell for just 3.
Lees and Bairstow tried to build a stand before the former fell for 44, sinking England to 93/4 after he was dismissed by Southee. From then on, Bairstow and captain Ben Stokes took the control of the game.
They smashed Kiwi bowlers left and right. Bairstow was on another level altogether, completing his century in 77 balls, and achieving the fastest hundred in the fourth innings of the game. The 179-run stand between the duo was broken by pacer Trent Boult, who dismissed Bairstow for an entertaining 136 off 92 consisting of 14 fours and seven sixes after he was caught by Blundell. However, Stokes carried on and won the game for his side, scoring 75 off 70 with 10 fours and four sixes.
Wicketkeeper-batter Ben Foakes stayed unbeaten at 12. Trent Boult was the pick of the bowlers for Kiwis, taking 3/94. Southee and Henry got a wicket each.
(with agency inputs)