ENG v SRI: Bairstow century steers England fightback

Bairstow hits one of 13 boundaries on day one at Lord’s

Jonny Bairstow hit his second century of the series to guide England away from danger against Sri Lanka on day one of the third Test at Lord’s.

The visitors were left rueing a costly drop when the Yorkshireman had hit just 11 – and how he made them pay, steering England from 84/4 to 279/6 at stumps.

Sri Lanka will be happy with their days work though, after being put into the field on a glorious day at Lord’s before Alastair Cook and Alex Hales got England off to a great start. 

Cook had also looked on course for another century at Lord’s. With the 10,000 test run monkey off his back he seemed back to his best; easing into cover drives he was the quicker of the two openers and looked in superb touch.

Hales was the first to go, dismissed by Herath for 18 following an ugly swing across the line to spark a mini-collapse.

Nick Compton then walked to the crease as an England international for possibly the last time, but he lasted only eleven balls before edging a drive to the keeper for one.  A sad shake of the head and whispered expletive his reaction to another tame dismissal.

Joe Root followed soon after (LBW for 3) to leave England 71/3, and when James Vince went for 10 just after lunch England needed rescuing.

That they were allowed to was thanks to a terrible bit of fielding from Shaminda Eranga at midwicket; Bairstow clipping straight to the fielder only to see the ball squirt free of his fingers.

It was the turning point in the day.

Cook and Bairstow added 80 before the former went LBW for 85. This brought Moeen Ali to the crease hoping to add to his century in Durham.

However, he got to just 25 before he became Herath’s second victim.

Bairstow survived a perilously close LBW review before finally reaching three figures shortly before stumps. He and Chris Woakes putting on a half-century partnership an over after. 

The calls for Bairstow to bat higher up the order are not far from being bellowed. This is a batsman in rich form as well as one enjoying a slice of luck along the way. Few will begrudge that.

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