Jonny Bairstow accused Australia of setting a bad example for youngsters through their controversial defeat at Lord’s, doubling down on England’s criticism of the sacking.
In a fiery postscript to his unbeaten 99 at Old Trafford on Friday, Bairstow blasted critics who questioned the 33-year-old’s place in the England squad, and had a few choice words for Australia’s Josh Hazlewood.
He also revealed his struggle to come back from a broken leg and dislocated ankle at this Ashes summer, saying surgeons have warned him he may never walk again.
But he saved his sharpest reflection for Australia, speaking for the first time since England accused tourists of violating the spirit of cricket by stumping Bairstow as he came out of his crease.
Speedy Aussie Josh Hazlewood is praying that rain will spoil the remainder of the fourth test that would give Australia series victory.
Bairstow hit an unbeaten 99, setting England up for victory in the event of no rain.
“The way we’ve played this game and we’ve played it over the last 18 months is something we’re very proud of,” Bairstow said.
‘It wasn’t the way I wanted to be at Lord’s.
‘That’s an integral part of the game now. We have seen it on other occasions.
“I’ve even heard of it (happening) now at the cricket club. That’s not necessarily what you want to hear.
Bairstow questioned the Australians’ level of confidence after hearing Hazlewood’s comments about the hope of rain.
‘The example for me is when you look at small children approaching. You want to play the game and play it like I’ve always played it, you play it hard, you play it fair.
And on another day it does not happen.
Australia have routinely defended stumping ever since, pointing out that it was within the rules and that Bairstow should blame himself for being careless with his wicket.
Bairstow’s comments can be seen as disingenuous after footage from a County Cricket match revealed he had also pulled off a controversial hit.
A clip tweeted by the popular sports media account Jomboy shows Nottinghamshire batsman Samit Patel leaving a delivery during a match against Yorkshire.
Bairstow is seen hitting a batsman in the split second he was out of his crease in a dismissal that bore striking similarities to his hit at Lord’s.
Standing behind the stumps, Bairstow removes the bails for the split second Patel has his foot in the air.
“That’s very, very smart of Jonny Bairstow,” the commentator said.
The comments came after Bairstow crushed 99 from 81 balls to take the game away from Australia on the third day of the fourth Test, helping England to 592 in their first innings.
Australia were stuck 4-113 in their second innings, needing a further 162 runs for England to come back to bat, prompting Hazlewood to say the team are hoping rain will save them from what looks like certain defeat.
“Obviously it’s a forecast and forecasts can change all the time,” Hazlewood said.
‘Rain and light play an important role in cricket and always have.
‘So yeah, it would be great to lose a few overs here and there and make our job a bit easier to hang on there. That’s pretty obvious.
Bairstow responded when he questioned the confidence level of tourists after hearing Hazlewood’s comments.
“Obviously the way we’ve played the game and we’ve played it over the last 18 months is something we’re very proud of,” he said.
‘If those are the comments that are coming in, well, the weather is the weather. I’m not (veteran British meteorologist) Michael Fish.
Bairstow looks puzzled as he is left after Australia’s Alex Carey (green gloves)’s controversial strike at Lord’s as Cam Green looks on.
Bairstow also criticized reporters for not acknowledging his effort to return from injury after consistently failing to keep wicket in previous years.
“Holding up after three years without holding up, it’s one of those things that takes a little bit of time, regardless of the ankle,” Bairstow said.
‘That’s an integral part of this.
“It would be like you guys taking a three-year sabbatical and then coming back and writing at the same level that you do, day after day.”