‘Our job is to put bums on seats’: Jonny Bairstow hopes England’s ‘exciting’ brand of cricket can drive interest in the sport and inspire the next generation after his stunning century rescues England against New Zealand
- Jonny Bairstow brought up his 10th Test ton off just 95 balls against New Zealand
- A delighted Bairstow said it is ‘why you want to play the game as a young kid’
- The 32-year-old loved the atmosphere on Headingley’s Western Terrace
- He also praised an ‘unbelievable’ performance from debutant Jamie Overton
Jonny Bairstow vowed to continue his swashbuckling approach and inspire the next generation after another sensational century rescued England on a remarkable day of Test cricket.
The Yorkshireman, who sealed victory in the second Test with a dazzling display of explosive hitting alongside Ben Stokes, was England’s hero again on his home ground after his side had slumped to 55 for six.
Bairstow put on an unbeaten 209 with debutant Jamie Overton, bringing up his tenth Test hundred off just 95 balls to send the home crowd into raptures.
Jonny Bairstow achieved his 10th Test century off just 95 balls against New Zealand on Friday
‘It’s special, I guess it’s your personality coming out isn’t it?’ Bairstow said. ‘It’s why you want to play the game as a young kid – our job is to inspire the next generation.
‘Our job is to make people want to watch cricket, our job is to put bums on seats here and I think people might want to watch the brand of cricket that we’re playing at the moment which is exciting.’
At tea, England 91 for six, still trailing by 238 runs but Bairstow insisted that despite the carnage that unfolded where England lost six wickets in an hour, it was still a case of sticking to the attacking brand of cricket that has been adopted under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.
‘There wasn’t anything specific said (by Stokes or McCullum at tea). It was good luck and enjoy,’ said the 32-year-old. ‘There’s different ways of looking at it, you can either go into your shell and bat the way in which people have done for years and years and try to survive.
Bairstow wants to continue helping England to play ‘exciting’ cricket that entertains crowds
‘But when you’ve got bowlers like Trent Boult and Tim Southee that are bowling so well, you need to transfer the momentum and take them off their lengths.’
Bairstow and Overton set a new record seventh-wicket partnership for England in Test cricket and the Yorkshireman was full of praise for the way in which England’s No8 took on the New Zealand attack as he approaches a remarkable century of his own on Test debut.
‘He played unbelievably, didn’t he?’ Bairstow said of the debutant. ‘To come out and play with that freedom and clarity and the power off the back foot to the spinners, the power in his pulls off Neil Wagner — to be doing that in your first Test match…
‘I guess it helps being 6ft 5in but blooming heck, it was some seriously special striking and some unbelievable hitting.’
The 32-year-old also praised an ‘unbelievable’ performance from debutant Jamie Overton
‘Hopefully in the morning we’ll be able to experience him getting his maiden Test hundred which will be absolutely lovely but the way in which he’s played and the way he’s gone about is a huge credit to him.’
Bairstow’s ton was his fourth in Tests this year, and each of them have come with England under the cosh. His second Test century at Headingley was one to savour.
‘I’ve been fortunate to have some really good times here but each Test that comes around you want to be the one that scores the runs because it’s your home ground,’ he added.
‘The atmosphere on the Western Terrace sounded amazing and hopefully, it’s just the start of what’s going to be a fantastic weekend to come.’