Jonny Bairstow’s sensational 136 helped England roar back to win the second Test against New Zealand and claim a series victory on a thrilling final day at Trent Bridge.
Bairstow was the star of the show as he posted the second-fastest century ever recorded by an England batsman. His ton came in just 77 balls, one short of the record of 76 set by Gilbert Jessop back in 1902.
Bairstow’s partnership with captain Ben Stokes, who ended the match scoring 75 not out, had the Nottingham crowd in raptures after they had been given free tickets for the final day and ensured England secured a series victory just two Tests into new head coach Brendon McCullum’s time in charge.
It completed a remarkable turnaround for England, who had to respond to New Zealand’s first innings total of 553 – the highest score they have conceded before coming back to win a Test since 1894.
Set a target of 299 by New Zealand after the Black Caps completed their second innings, England tried to come out of the blocks quickly but Zak Crawley’s dismissal for a duck was an early warning sign.
Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, and first-innings hero Joe Root all fell after lunch to leave England on 93-4, meaning the hosts had to showcase all their mettle to go on and win when a draw had looked the most likely outcome.
Bairstow was in sublime form, smashing seven sixes and 14 fours as the Trent Bridge crowd were treated to a masterclass of run-chasing. He was eventually dismissed by Trent Boult but departed to the field to rapturous applause.
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England knew they could also rely on their new skipper to help deliver the goods and a sweet Stokes drive through the covers secured victory.
Prior to the first match of this series, England had only won one of their last 17 Tests and were in disarray following a nightmare Ashes series over the winter in Australia but the new Stokes and McCullum partnership has had an immediate impact.
After the game, Bairstow, who was named man-of-the-match, said it was a great game of Test cricket and revealed the plan was always to attack after tea.
“It was a good craic, wasn’t it? At least you had something to talk about instead of being dull and boring on the radio,” the Yorkshire batsman said.
“It’s really good fun. The plans after tea was let’s go one of two ways. With the short side and the stand how it is, there’s no point in going down. You just have to keep going up.”
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