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Jonny Bairstow ton saves England after Supreme Order collapse to start West India Series in Antigua

JONNY Bairstow picked up where he left off in Australia to spare England’s Antigua blush.

Bairstow met England’s only Ashes ton in Sydney, the only match Joe Root’s men did not lose.

England's Jonny Bairstow celebrates after swinging the game with a century

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England’s Jonny Bairstow celebrates after swinging the game with a centuryPhoto credit: Getty
Jonny Bairstow showed poise and patience to revitalize England on day one in Antigua

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Jonny Bairstow showed poise and patience to revitalize England on day one in AntiguaPhoto credit: Reuters

And after another top-flight collapse, North Sound lit up Bairstow’s beaming smile as he swept Kraigg Brathwaite to the fence to end an excellent eighth century of testing and ensure the ‘Red Ball Reset’ wasn’t just a painful runback .

Bairstow hit 17 fours in a five-hour stay, mixing stamina with a determination to bat away the bad ball and deservedly celebrating with a leap and roar of joy and a swipe of his racquet as he went into triple figures before finishing with an unbeaten 109.

With Ben Foakes recalled, also heading down with a solid 42 before being pinned in front by the superb Jason Holder, the pair saved England from a dangerous 115 for five to end the day on 268 for six.

Bairstow was right to be delighted with his first century against the West Indies, given that his previous nine Tests against them had only included 197 runs from an average of just under 15.

But with Sir Viv Richards peering into the ground that bears his name, Bairstow displayed more solid attributes, conservative at first but eventually blossoming with timing, power and confidence.

It turned a position of demoralizing disorder into one where England will attempt to complete a 12-inning streak without going over 300 and put the Windies in the heat.

That was also badly needed after England’s lunchtime had come down like a week-long pizza.

While Root won the toss and opted for the bat, England – with six substitutions from the side destroyed in Hobart – were quickly back to bad old routine.

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Bad shots, poor judgment, and a lack of patience revived that lingering sense of desperation among the frontline troops of the Barmy Army.

The surface offered some sideways movement but no more than the standard deviation for the new ball, but top order technique was once again found to be lacking.

Root was often the only glimmer of hope. This time he was just part of the distress signal.

Alex Lees lasted just nine balls on his debut and caught just four half-forwards after being cleverly set up for the inswinger by Kemar Roach.

The next moment, Zak Crawley, who had scored two away goals before Jayden Seales opened, waved airily for a wide ball, although goalkeeper Joshua Da Silva responded deftly to bag the inside edge.

And with Root also leaving, his bail trimmed by an in-ducker he mistakenly left – third luck for Roach after a game and miss and then a third slip from the previous two balls – England once again stared into the abyss.

Jason Holder celebrates with Kraigg Brathwaite after sacking England's Dan Lawrence at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua

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Jason Holder celebrates with Kraigg Brathwaite after sacking England’s Dan Lawrence at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in AntiguaPhoto credit: Reuters
Ben Stokes shows his frustration after being bowled for 36 by Jayden Seales

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Ben Stokes shows his frustration after being bowled for 36 by Jayden SealesPhoto credit: Getty

Fifty balls, 43 minutes, 27 for three.

It soon got worse. Dan Lawrence lasted an hour before goading the disciplined Holder straight to Jermaine Blackwood for 20.

That made Bairstow join Ben Stokes, who cautiously and then more aggressively added 67s on either side of lunch.

But when Stokes died to a large inside margin in front of Seales for 36 just as he was beginning to unleash his attacking weapons, England were in trouble again.

It was looking way below average on a flattened and slowing pitch, which showed when Foakes crunched two drives in a row behind Roach.

England's No. 5 Ben Stokes started day one's fightback mid-innings in the first Test

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England’s No. 5 Ben Stokes started day one’s fightback mid-innings in the first TestPhoto credit: Getty

The pair started pacing the aisles in the final session, and Bairstow got his 50 through square left arm Veerasammy Permaul to the fence for his eighth boundary.

Foakes, back on the side for the first time in 12 months, showed a similar intent, clinging to anything short and whipping through the center of the goal.

Bairstow checked successfully when it was decided Permaul was caught behind him – he wasn’t nearly that far – but Foakes wasn’t so lucky as Holder caught him on the knee roll a run away from a century stand.

However, Chris Woakes did keep Bairstow company on his milestone in a straight 50 partnership as England shadowed the opening day.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/cricket/17887656/west-indies-vs-england-bairstow-first-test-cricket/ Jonny Bairstow ton saves England after Supreme Order collapse to start West India Series in Antigua

Ashley

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