Jonny Bairstow took his team to its desired position but eventually finished one short of his personal milestone as luck deserted him when it mattered the most. Resuming at 260/6, England were rocked by a charging spell of Kagiso Rabada that saw them lose two quick wickets – nightwatchman Tony Roland – Jones and Moeen Ali – in short successions.
Bairstow, batting at 33 not out, was now left to deal with the tail enders in order to take the innings ahead which looked tough as the Proteas looked pretty determined to deliver the knock out blows.
No. 9 – Stuart Broad came in and was quickly removed after trying to be aggressive.
But, the real joy of witnessing Test cricket the unfolded slowly with dashes of aggressive stroke making as Bairstow kept switching between farming the strike and playing solid drives to advance toward his fourth test centuries. He aptly acknowledged the sensibility of being the only proper batsman remaining in the batting order in the manner he safeguarded Anderson while in the middle.
Both the batsman were saved on one occasion each, off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj. But, just when the Old Trafford crowd felt that Luck was showering on the last batting duo, misfortune struck.
Standing just one run away from his fourth test century, Bairstow tried in vain to sweep Keshav Maharaj and was dismissed leg before. Kumar Dharamsena chose to go with the bowler’s appeal which was by challenged with the DRS but was upheld.
No. 11, Anderson, stayed unbeaten at 4 not out from 15 balls.
Bairstow majestic efforts saw England go past the desire 350 runs mark and finish at 362. But he himself ended up becoming a part of the very small league of players who have been stranded at 99, joining the likes of Brendon McCullum (versus Sri Lanka in 2005) and MS Dhoni (versus Australia in 2012).