Jonny Bairstow pulverized Indian fast bowling with his power-hitting as England reached 236-6 after lunch on the third day of the series-deciding test on Sunday.
Bairstow scored his third successive test hundred with an unbeaten 103 off 131 balls. England lost only its captain Ben Stokes for 25 in the morning session before rain intervened for the third successive day.
Sam Billings was not out on 23 and was a mere spectator in a blistering stand with Bairstow, who has hit 14 boundaries and two sixes in yet another masterful display of stroke-making.
Despite Bairstow’s blistering batting, England still trails by 179 runs after India had posted a challenging 416 in its first innings on the back of centuries from Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja.
Bairstow and Stokes survived a tricky first half-hour against Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami after England resumed on 84-5. Both fast bowlers beat the outside edges of the batters multiple times before Bairstow launched the counterattack to perfection.
After moving along to 16 off 65 balls, Bairstow cut lose against the Indian fast bowlers by flicking, driving and pulling the pacers for boundaries. He also hit two big sixes off Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur after umpires changed the ball because it had lost its shape after the brutal hitting of Bairstow.
Bairstow has led England’s transformation of its brand of test cricket with aggressive batting after scoring back-to-back hundreds against New Zealand in the preceding series that England swept 3-0.
He didn’t old back after surviving the first 30 minutes and just before rain took the players off the field, he successfully overturned an lbw ruling through DRS.
Stokes tried to break free and was twice dropped in quick succession when first Thakur couldn’t hold onto a high ball and then Bumrah dropped his counterpart at mid-off.
However, Stokes didn’t much longer with Bumrah holding onto a difficult catch at the same position from the next ball off fast bowler Thakur.
Meanwhile, Wasim Jaffer trolled Michael Vaughan, who had compared Pant with Bairstow.
“This is great viewing! Jonny Bairstow doing a Rishabh Pant,” wrote Jaffer.