ENG vs WI 2017, 1st ODI: The Opportunities are Few and Far Between – Jonny Bairstow
When life gives you chances, make them count like Jonny Bairstow. After being in and out of the Test team, the wicketkeeper-batsman has fully cemented his place and is now looking set to follow the same trajectory in the 50-overs format too.
Despite being one of the most consistent England players in the last couple of years, he did nit get considered for the selection in ODIs, but a much-needed opportunity arrived when Jason Roy got axed for the first One-Day International.
Bairstow fully capitalised on the opportunity, scoring his maiden ODI century to guide England to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Windies in the first ODI on Tuesday (September 19). The timely century will surely do a world of good for the player who had played just 27 ODIs despite making his debut way back in 2011.
Speaking after the game, Bairstow admitted he needed to make the opportunity count to carve a place for himself in the settled batting lineup which has scored 300-plus totals on a consistent basis in the last one year or so.
“It seems a long time ago that I made my debut in one-day cricket,” Bairstow told Sky Sports. “There’s been ups and downs. When you get a chance, you try and come in and take your chance, but at the same time, with the strength and depth we’ve got, it’s been so settled for over a year now. The opportunities are few and far between, so when you do get one, it’s important that you do try and take it.”
“We’ve got a serious belief within the side. We didn’t necessarily do ourselves justice in the Champions Trophy but going forward to the World Cup and the rest of this series; we need to rectify that,” Bairstow added.
Meanwhile, England captain Eoin Morgan was delighted over his bowlers’ comeback after they were taken to cleaners by Chris Gayle in the initial stage. Riding on Gayle’s quick start, the visitors had reached 45 for no loss in six overs, but the game turned in the hosts’ favour once Moeen Ali accounted for Evin Lewis and Chris Woakes sent back Gayle in quick succession.
Windies never managed to recover from the setbacks and managed to put up a modest 204 for nine in a 42 overs game.
“I thought we came back really well,” Morgan said. “It didn’t take us that long to adapt to conditions. We went to slower balls and variations and hard into the wicket which normally works here. The bowling unit, in general, put in a really good benchmark for the start of the series. Normally a performance like that is a reaction, so it’s encouraging to start the series like this.”
Morgan’ Windies counterpart, Jason Holder, on the other hand, said the series is still up for grabs and admitted his team needs to improve. The two-time world champions have missed an automatic spot for the next World Cup after the defeat.
“The series isn’t over – it’s just one game down. We’ve just to got to focus on this series first” – but he knows his team needs to improve their one-day cricket,” Holder said.
The captain further rued his batsmen’s failure to keep the scoreboard ticking with ones and twos.
“If you’re not getting boundaries, you need to rotate the strike,” said Holder. “In the middle, we got a little stuck. It’s an area we really need to improve on in terms of rotating the strike. It’s been an area of concern for a while now. We are a naturally boundary-hitting team but if the boundaries aren’t coming, we need to find another option.”
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