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Jonny Bairstow: England won’t be shutting up shop vs India | ‘Virat Kohli clash a bit of craic’


England’s Jonny Bairstow played down his clashes with India’s Virat Kohli after registering another century

Jonny Bairstow promised England would continue to take the fight to India even from a precarious position after an eventful day three of the delayed fifth Test brought another memorable hundred and a row with Virat Kohli.

England face a sizeable battle to avoid a series defeat to India as they trail by 257 runs at Edgbaston, with the tourists only three down at stumps on day three.

Bairstow (106) hit another magnificent century – his third in as many games and fifth in his last eight Tests – to help England, reeling at 84-5 overnight, post 284 in their first innings.

India, with a lead of 132, lost Shubman Gill (4) in James Anderson’s opening over, but with Cheteshwar Pujara (50no) leading by example – bringing up a 33rd Test fifty late in the day – they battled their way to a dominant position at 125-3 by stumps.

Bairstow, speaking to Sky Sports at the close of play, reflected on another personal high but admitted England are facing an uphill task to pull of a win and a 2-2 draw in the Covid-delayed series.

“Yeah pretty pleased obviously, it’s been a good few weeks,” he said.

“It was pretty tough last night, they hit their straps consistently very well, and there were some tough periods, like we know there is in Test cricket. You have to try and work through them.

“It was a tricky period last night and we said we need to shift a bit of the momentum back on them this morning, and that’s what we were trying to do.

Highlights from day three of the fifth Test between England and India at Edgbaston

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Highlights from day three of the fifth Test between England and India at Edgbaston

Highlights from day three of the fifth Test between England and India at Edgbaston

“Last night was just purely survival. The positive mentality, you’ve got to able to shift up and down haven’t you? To be in a positive frame of mind, but at the same time remain calm and pick and choose your balls.

“This morning they bowled well, and it was a choice to try and shift it back to them.

“I’m just thinking ‘ball’, that’s exactly what it is. It’s just taking the simplicity of it, and flipping everything back to remain as free as you can.

“Hopefully that can continue for a little while.

Jonny Bairstow: England won't be shutting up shop vs India | 'Virat Kohli clash a bit of craic'

“Absolutely it’s going to be tough. We’re well aware of that.

“We’d liked to have scored a few more to get a little bit closer to them. But at the same time, from the position we were in, we didn’t do too bad to get where we are.

“If we nick a couple of them in the morning, and Stokes mentioned it at the toss, we’ll have a chase and that’s exactly what we’ll be trying to do.

“We won’t be shutting up shop, that’s for sure.”

Bairstow celebrates his hundred against India on day three at Edgbaston

Bairstow celebrates his hundred against India on day three at Edgbaston

Bairstow appeared to be sparked into life on day three after a heated exchange with Kohli in the middle.

Bairstow, who had watchfully seen out the previous evening’s play, had only 13 runs from his first 63 deliveries, but after a few words with Kohli he motored to an 11th Test ton, his next 87 runs blasted off just 56 balls.

Kohli caught a Mohammed Shami delivery to dismiss Bairstow, blowing him a kiss as the England man departed, before the former India captain was caught on 20 by Joe Root after a sensational Ben Stokes delivery and Sam Billings juggle.

Afterwards, Bairstow played down the incidents with Kohli.

“We’ve played against each other for a solid 10 years now, so it’s a bit of craic,” he said.

“We’re fiercely competitive on the field and that’s what it’s about.

Jonny Bairstow and Virat Kohli had an old-fashioned battle of words on day three of the fifth Test between England and India

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Jonny Bairstow and Virat Kohli had an old-fashioned battle of words on day three of the fifth Test between England and India

Jonny Bairstow and Virat Kohli had an old-fashioned battle of words on day three of the fifth Test between England and India

“We’re playing Test cricket, we’re two competitors, that’s why we play the game and that’s what brings the best out of us.

“You want to be out there, you want to do your best and you want to win. Whatever it takes, you want to get your team over the line.

“That’s part and parcel of the game.”

Nasser: England are still in the game but tomorrow morning crucial

Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain on England…

“They’re probably in a slightly more difficult place than they have been in the last three Tests.

“I know they like chasing, but obviously the quality of the [India] attack, and there were just signs on this pitch that it was going a little bit uneven. It might spin for (Ravindra) Jadeja.

“Tomorrow morning is going to be crucial. England are still in the game, but a couple of hours of Rishabh Pant and that game will be taken away from them.

“They [England] will occasionally cross that line. They were 60-6 in the last game at Headingley, they were 140 all out first innings Lords.

“There will be times they get it wrong, but let’s just give them a chance so they can learn from their mistakes.

“It’s not going to be from being bottom of the World Test Championship to winning every game and every session.

“They’re going to get it wrong occasionally, and you can just learn from those times you don’t quite get it right.

“I don’t think there’ll be a competitive declaration [from India], simply because they know England are going to come, whatever.

“So why would you declare? Just go, and in the end you might say: ‘Well go on then, Ben Stokes said in interview ‘We don’t play for draws,’ here’s seven an over, off you go England.’

“I think there’ll be a smart declaration from India.”


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