Jonny Bairstow described his first Test century at Lord’s as a goosebumps moment that has been four years in the making, having come within five runs of getting his name on the famous honours board earlier in his career.
The Yorkshire right-hander’s unbeaten 107 was his third century in Test cricket, continuing a golden run of form and following on from the 140 he made at Headingley last month as he became just the second England wicketkeeper, after Les Ames against West Indies in 1930, to score two hundreds in a series.
In doing so, Bairstow also passed the 95 he made at Lord’s against South Africa in 2012 when, in his first summer of international cricket, he was parachuted into the side in place of Kevin Pietersen – a moment that has stuck with the 26-year-old since.
“It’s been an amazing few weeks and hopefully it can continue like this for many years,” said Bairstow of his recent form. “But why didn’t I do it four years ago? They were five runs that loomed over me for a few years and many people asked ‘can he, can’t he?’. So it’s nice to set the record straight and say I’m happy with the way I’m playing.
“There were always going to be memories [of the innings against South Africa]. To go one step further and make a hundred in front of a packed house at Lord’s is a very special feeling. The ovation, the crowd, it’s something I will never forget – it was a pinch yourself, goosebumps moment.”
Bairstow is a different beast from the batsman who made his Test debut four years ago and finds himself in the middle of a run-soaked summer that has already returned five first-class hundreds and an average of 97 against the red ball.
The wicketkeeper, whose technique was questioned during the 2013-14 Ashes tour, said: “There’s been talk of my technique over the years but at the moment I am pleased with the way I am striking the ball and moving. I used to play the ball slightly further out in front of me, but now I play a bit later and underneath my eyes.”