Batting on middle
England day 4, have just lost an early wicket, Jonny Bairstow (JB) into bat with 74 runs to get, he is facing a brand new ball, a turning wicket with the surface breaking up, bowlers producing ‘chip pan spit’ like bounce, not to mention there are 3 men around the bat.
An observation from play
Standing at the non-striker's end, JB is watching his teammates getting taken apart by the guile and skill of the Sri Lankan spinners. Joe roots currently facing, Jonny spots a change of field, he sharply gets Joe’s attention, Joe stops, takes a step back, recalculates and sweeps a single into that very gap. The next ball JB runs out England’s captain (who’s batting off the back of a double test hundred and the team’s best player of spin)
The atmosphere around the bat is so tense, light is fading fast, the Sri Lankan’s are compellingly excitable, passionate about crawling back the first innings embarrassing batting shortfall, JB is relentlessly going through his routine, after every dot ball, he walks to the edge of the crease. There, he studies the field and waits for it to be set and still before approaching his guard. Setting the pace of the game, displaying poise and self-control.
Tactics and changing guard
Both bowlers (left and right-hand finger spinners) changed to bowling around the wicket to JB, this brought changes from his guard yesterday, JB is now batting on middle, he also opts for a forward press into the line of the ball and has taken out the trigger across, by bowling from wide of the crease, they have altered the angle in which ball comes from. Therefore, stopping him from being able to bat outside from off stump, reducing the number of times he sweeps. What they didn’t plan on is JB immediate riposte, demonstrating how good his plans and preparation have been from winter training.
Here’s Joe Root demonstrating different trigger movements.
JB innings was all about fight and survival, to ensure if there’s any chance of play tomorrow, he’s made it clear he wants to be there to take ownership, and be the one to win the game, to walk off with the bat in his hand, not under his arm!
Potentially a very different game if JB would’ve lost his wicket.