Jonny Bairstow: England batter hits 97 for Yorkshire seconds in injury comeback
|Second XI County Championship, Clean Slate Headingley (day one of four)|
|Yorkshire 437-7: Bairstow 97, Bean 70; Stone 2-35, Pettman 3-71|
|Nottinghamshire: Yet to bat|
|Scorecard (external site)|
Jonny Bairstow scored 97 as he made his return from injury for Yorkshire in a second XI game against Nottinghamshire.
Playing for the first time since breaking his leg in September, the England batter struck 13 fours and two sixes in his 88 balls at Headingley.
He was dropped on 21 off England team-mate Olly Stone and was out when he hit the quick to cover in the 56th over.
The 33-year-old is expected to play for Yorkshire’s first XI next week as he attempts to regain his England place.
England play Ireland on 1 June before the men’s Ashes series begins against Australia on 16 June.
“Once he got going, he looked like he’d never been away,” said Yorkshire second XI coach Tom Smith.
“Watching him towards the end, the way he plays the late cut, the way he drives the ball, the way he played the spinner, one shot over extra cover showed that international class.”
Batting at four, Bairstow was troubled by Stone after lunch, offering a straightforward chance to second slip that was nevertheless spilled and playing and missing three more times in the space of four balls.
He nicked between keeper and slip on 55 and played the occasional false shot but otherwise looked in decent touch against a modest, inexperienced attack, Stone aside, while showing no obvious sign of discomfort.
Stone, who was in England’s squad for the recent Test series against New Zealand but did not play, bowled impressively at speeds towards 90mph as he looks to put himself in Ashes contention, with England pace bowling coach Neil Killeen in attendance in Leeds.
Bairstow’s first boundary, a flick off the pads over mid-wicket, came from his 18th ball and he followed that with a pull for four a ball later.
An over before his dismissal the right-hander slog-swept Calvin Harrison for six over mid-wicket and clubbed the leg-spinner over the long-on fence two balls later.
Bairstow was in fine form before his injury, sustained when slipping on a golf course, having scored 1,061 Test runs in 2022, including six centuries.
But his replacement Harry Brook has since secured his position with four hundreds in six Tests at an average of 80.90 during England’s winter.
That means deposing current first-choice wicketkeeper Ben Foakes may be Bairstow’s best chance of returning to the side and Yorkshire director of cricket Darren Gough said Bairstow had indicated a desire to keep wicket when he makes his first-team comeback.
It is planned that Bairstow will spend time as wicketkeeper and field without the gloves when Yorkshire come to bowl.
“He was a little bit nervous this morning, it was like his debut again,” said Smith. “It was obviously his first game in quite a while.
“He had a little chat with the lads this morning and it was quite funny – ‘Just watch it on the running’. His first run he sprinted a single and we had a chuckle to ourselves.
“It’s not just his cricket, but the experience he brings.”
Yorkshire ended day one of the four-day contest on 437-7.