Bairstow restores some pride with brilliant Ashes hundred on day three in Sydney
Jonny Bairstow restored some much needed faith in the ability of English batsmen to score Test runs with a second brilliant Ashes ton Down Under.
Despite carrying a thumb injury from an earlier blow, he carved Pat Cummins over gully to bring up the century and with arms aloft he left out a roar of satisfaction as he soaked up the applause from all round the SCG.
Restored to the side in Melbourne, Bairstow repaid that decision with the seventh hundred of his career and crucially the first of the series by an England player to take the team to the close 258-7, still 158 behind.
And with Ben Stokes cracking 66 in their partnership of 128, Australia 's bowlers were made to toil for their rewards for just the third time in the series.
For a brief moment the duo revived memories of their remarkable partnership in Cape Town in 2015, but this time the injured Stokes could not sustain the big-hitting firepower, falling lbw to Nathan Lyon.
Stokes had been in agony throughout his whole innings, clutching his sore left side after almost every shot whether it was a forward defensive or a powerful pull.
And judging by his reactions it would be fanciful to think that Stokes will have any further part to play in this series once this match reaches its conclusion.
There could be no debate about his eventual dismissal as Lyon got one to skid on and hit his pad bang in front of the stumps, unlike the previous occasion umpire Paul Reiffel put up his finger.
Stokes had left the ball from Cameron Green, it sailed past his pads and then deviated into the hands of Alex Carey the keeper.
Everyone appealed, although not entirely sure for what, and Reiffel gave it out, again not entirely sure why.
Replays showed the 84 mph delivery had actually cannoned into the stumps but failed to dislodge the bail so Stokes was free to continue and reach his 25th Test half century.
It was the first time that an England batsman had raised their bat since Joe Root on Boxing Day and just their third batsman to do so at all.
He had taken the team a long way from the position he found them in when he walked to the middle as part of three wicket mini collapse that all fell with the score on 36.
Zak Crawley had left a gap for Scott Boland to nip the ball back through when he had made 18, Joe Root played a loose waft at a wide one for a duck before Dawid Malan fell into the leg slip trap set for him.
All three dismissals were pretty soft as has been the feature of this series, but none were as hard to see as England opener Haseeb Hameed playing and expansive drive and missing the ball by a huge distance as it cannoned into his middle stump.
But after 70 dot balls in a row and at 36-4, Stokes and Bairstow finally got up and running to good effect to give England a much needed wicketless session.
On their way off for tea a group of Aussie fans thought it was time to give them some abuse causing Stokes to stop and stare, but the stewards removed them from their seats instead.
Five overs after the break their fun was over when Lyon got a reward he barely deserved having been milked at over six an over.
And the very next ball there was yet more damage for England, but physical this time, as Bairstow was struck painfully on the tip of the right thumb by a Cummins short ball.
With Jos Buttler having injured his hand keeping the day before, both potential wicket-keepers could be harbouring broken bones, which is why Ollie Pope went to brush up on his glovework in the nets.
With the bat, Buttler failed to make any impression, chipping a tame catch to short cover for a duck.
But Mark Wood more than made up for it with a well timed swashbuckling knock of 39 that took England flying past the follow on target and towards respectability.
Source: Read Full Article