Saturday , October 16 2021

When England were aiming against Whiteward against Sri Lanka, Jonny Bairstow returned to number 3 with a problem

Jonny Bairstow returned to the England team for the last Test against Sri Lanka on Friday as the fourth player in three matches to try the problematic number three batting.

While England looks good because they aim for whitebash 3-0 in the series, they need some reliability from the main batsmen and captain Joe Root supports Bairstow, who has lost the wicketkeeper gloves for Ben Foakes, to succeed.

"One thing we all know about Jonny is that whenever he has points to prove or oppose him, he usually comes out and does something very special," Root said.

"Hopefully we will see that with Jonny this week – determination and encouragement to really corner the place for himself. This is an opportunity for him to try and understand the place and he is more than capable of doing it. "

The 29-year-old Bairstow has admitted his disappointment at the injury in training before the first Test of the tour and lost his place to Foakes.

"That's difficult. No one wants to not play, "Bairstow said this week. "The last two and a half years I've been on the team, and that's only three Tests ago, I was in the top 10 batters in the world. And then you don't play. "

Foakes hit the century on Uji's debut and has been circulating as a wicketkeeper, freezing Bairstow out of reckoning. But England desperately needed number three which could be relied upon after Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes failed the previous two tests – as did Root batting at four under curfew.

Root showed that England still won two matches, but admitted that he needed Bairstow to seize his opportunity.

– Higher level –

"At that time (keeping the goal) was not an option for him on this team and I thought it was a very good opportunity for him to bring batting to another level," Root said.

"It would be nice to see him really reach number three with the nape of his neck and use it as an opportunity to start really consistently scoring big in this format."

The return of Bairstow meant Stokes moved back to number five, while another big change for England was resting Jimmy Anderson's quick bowler to give Stuart Broad a chance.

Root said Broad, 32, remained "invaluable" for the England team even though he had been overshadowed by Anderson's 36-year-old achievement to become the quickest wicket with the most Tests.

"He is still one of the best bowling players in England – I really believe that," said the captain, who will then take his troops to the West Indies this winter.

Broad will return to the Sinhalese Sports Club where he made his debut in 2007.

"We are generally very happy to expect people to retire and I think with them both (Broad and Anderson) in particular we have to make the most of them, be smart in managing them and see how long they can go," Root said.

Sri Lanka recalled batsman and part-time bowler Danushka Gunathilaka into their squad after the latest suspension for a foul.

But captain Suranga Lakmal said Gunathilaka was not sure to play even though he admitted "our punches in a little pause."

Suranga will be without Akila Dananjaya spinning player, while the suspect in his bowling action will undergo the International Cricket Council test.

With Rangana Herath now retired, Surangal said the loss of the pair was "a big loss". He still wanted a field suitable for spinners prepared in Colombo.

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