Bairstow: England ready for third Test

Jonny Bairstow says time off after back-to-back Tests in South Africa has left England refreshed and raring to go as they aim to wrap up the series at the Wanderers this week.

The tourists, 1-0 ahead in the four-match rubber, were given three days off to rest and recuperate in Cape Town following a hectic schedule that saw them play 10 days of Test cricket out of 12.

They travelled to Johannesburg yesterday and resumed training today ahead of the third Test, starting on Thursday, when victory would see England take a 2-0 unassailable lead.

And Bairstow believes the down time in Cape Town has lifted spirits within Trevor Bayliss’ camp.

“Back-to-back Test matches are never easy so it is a case of getting rested and recuperated and back in, as well as getting yourself away from the game too,” the Yorkshireman told

England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow returns to training in Johannesburg today after spending time off in Cape Town

“Having the time off, the lads’ families were here, catching up with them and doing all the things you like to do in Cape Town was fantastic.

“There is a lot of history and heritage that comes with the stadium. It is great to be here, we had a tough training session and are back into the swing of things after a nice couple of days off in between the Tests.

“We are really looking forward to it. A few guys played here a few years ago and there are some good memories from that. We are excited for the Test match and the challenges that are to come for us as a side.”

South Africa, comprehensively beaten in the opener in Durban, showed why they are the number-one ranked Test side in the world at Newlands.

Faced with a daunting score of 629 for six when starting their first innings, the Proteas handled the pressure superbly and were able to declare two runs behind on the back of Hashim Amla’s double-ton and Temba Bavuma’s maiden century.

The hosts then took six quick wickets on the final day to set up a nervy finish, proving they are still a force to be reckoned with.

“They played outstandingly well,” Bairstow said. “We were delighted to score 600 in the first innings and apply pressure to them.

“But the way they came out, you have got to give some credit to them, to score 600 as well, and then put us under some pressure. Day five was good, it just shows how hard the next two games are going to be.”

Bairstow took fond memories away from Cape Town after producing two brilliant innings of contrasting styles.

The 26-year-old struck his maiden Test hundred during a world-record sixth-wicket stand of 399 with double-centurion Ben Stokes, finishing unbeaten on 150, before holding South Africa at bay in the second innings with a defiant 30 not out.

Now the Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman is looking to continue his upward curve in Test cricket.

“Different knocks but I am absolutely delighted to come out and score the runs that I did, sharing that partnership with Stokesy was unbelievable,” he added. 

“Hopefully my confidence will grow and we go into this with some confidence to make more contributions.

“They were completely different scenarios really, complete contrasting scenarios.

“There was a lot of pressure coming in because we hadn’t necessarily applied ourselves as well as we would have liked to have done in that second innings.

“Coming in and just making sure we got through that tricky period was important for us going forward as a team.”

Source: ECB

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