Johnny Bairstow England were 268 for six at stumps on the first day of the first Test in Antigua on Tuesday, with Johnny Bairstow returning from a poor start with an eighth Test century. The creation of Bairstow, an unbeaten 109, was the foundation on which the tourists scored 48 for the loss of four wickets after captain Joe Root opted to bat after winning the toss, which deteriorated as the match progressed.
The 32-year-old Yorkshire man, one of the few England players to come out with any credit from the Ashes campaign that ended in Australia two months ago, demonstrated his determination by scoring a century in his final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
He hit 17 fours off 216 balls, significantly disrupting the balance of the game for five hours already.
Bairstow got invaluable support from Ben Stokes (36) and gave impetus to the resistance by scoring 67 for the fifth wicket.
This was followed by a more productive partnership with Ben Fox (42), who added 99 for the sixth wicket, while another all-rounder Chris Vokes (24 not out) ensured that the British Caribbean were exhausted. With an unbeaten seventh – the wicket stand is already worth 54 runs.
“We talked about partnerships and how invaluable they are, not only at the top but throughout the order and it is important for us to continue that effort tomorrow,” Bairstow said with a smile at the end of the day.
“I think there’s a lot more to this (for the bowlers) so we have to continue batting well again.”
The next two sessions of the day impressed the spectators as they added 211 runs for the loss of two more wickets, unlike the opening exchanges when the West Indies seemed to have done nothing wrong.
With the second new ball coming in the last half hour of the day, Bairstow and Vokes’ will was not damaged, with pacers Kemar Roach, Jaden Seals and former captain Jason Holder taking two wickets in the first half. Accident. For a well-set couple.
While Bairstow was concerned about signs that the pitch was declining, Roach took a different view.
“Obviously we were tired in the last session of the day and had to tighten up with our lines and length,” he admits. “We need to get the rest of the wickets as soon as possible, and then go there and react aggressively to take the lead in the first innings. In my opinion this is a very good pitch to bat on.
The other unfortunate pacer of the quartet, the local boy, was upset when Vokes attempted a right-hand diving in that final session, leaving the West Indies generally missed by a secure holder on the third slip. Aljari Joseph.
Within half an hour of the start of the match England’s crisp top-order was exposed again and the West Indies players were excited for the root out.
It was Roach’s second wicket, and senior Seamer dismissed debutant Alex Lee in the third over of the day in a leg-before decision.
The second opener, Jack Crowley, sealed the diving catch in the excellent over by Joshua da Silva in the next over, responding to a sharp inner edge that the wicketkeeper tried to force an off-side shot.
England finally got lucky when Rochini Jermaine, who was running towards the Third Man Boundary, missed the route on the Blackwood Third Slip. But for the next ball, the Premier batsman chose no shot and the ball hit the right hand side and went so far as to clip the off-stump top.
Dan Lawrence joined Stokes and the pair seemed to be struggling enough to survive at least in front of the holder who bowled five consecutive maiden overs this morning, allowing Lawrence to edit slips for Blackwood and the former. Captain. First wicket.
Seals ended the afternoon session with a good full-length delivery from Stokes, but LBW decided on Fox after Holder Tea.
By then England were well on their way to victory and Bairstow West Indies captain Craig Brathwaite had scored a well-deserved century in part-time bowling and demonstrated a missing will from English cricket in the desperate Australian campaign.