Birmingham, July 3: Jonny Bairstow once again revived England from a precarious situation and went on slamming his 11 Test century in the ongoing fifth Test against India here in Birmingham on Sunday (July 3). Bairstow notched up his third consecutive Test century, his fifth in 2022.
Bairstow walked into the middle at 12* off 47 deliveries at the start of play on day three and started batting cautiously but an exchange of words with former India captain Virat Kohli on the pitch changed the complexion of the game. Bairstow was batting on 16* off 65 deliveries but that incident with Kohli charged up the right-handed batter and he started hitting fours and sixes.
He first went on completing his fifty off just 81 deliveries and then went on to slam an imperious century off just 119 deliveries. The hundred of just 119 balls by Bairstow is the fastest any player has reached a hundred against India in Tests since January 2016.
Bairstow smashed 14 fours and two maximums in his knock en route to his century and counter-attacked Indian bowlers. It was his innings which pushed the Indians on the back foot and helped the hosts go past the 200-run mark as they were 84 for 5 when the play started on day three. He struck a partnership of 66 runs with Ben Stokes for the sixth wicket and later forged a massive 91-run stand with Sam Billings for the seventh wicket.
Bairstow - who is going through the form of his life in Test cricket - has been going through a superb run and looked an entirely different beast after Kohli sledged him. He started hitting Indian bowlers all around the park and played some aggressive pull shots. Watching Bairstow hit the visiting team after a heated exchange of words with Kohli, former cricketers claimed the India batter poked the bear at the wrong time.
Former India opener Virender Sehwag tweeted, "Jonny Bairstow's Strike Rate before Kohli's Sledging -: 21. Post Sledging - 150. Pujara ki tarah khel rahe thhey, Kohli ne Pant banwa diya bewajah sledge karke (He was batting like Pujara, Kohli's sledging made him play like Pant) #IndvsEng.
"Former West Indies cricketer, Ian Bishop tweeted, "Don't poke the Bear that is Johnny Bairstow again please."
New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham wrote on Twitter, "Why do opposing teams keep making Jonny Bairstow angry lol, he gets 10x better. Give him a gift basket each morning, let him know you're having his car valeted while he's batting. Anything to keep him happy."