Antigua: Jonny Bairstow expects England to make full use of the capricious Antigua pitch after sharing his delight at a half-century made in spite of the testing conditions at the start of the second Test against the West Indies.
A slightly frustrating final session on day one for Joe Root’s bowlers took them to 89 overs in the series without a wicket, as the openers John Campbell and Kraigg Brathwaite repelled all the tourists could offer on a surface of considerable variable bounce. Bairstow, who described himself as “chuffed” at making 52 from his new No. 3 role in England’s 187 all out, felt the response from the home side was slightly fortuitous and insisted his teammates remain very much in the contest.
He said: “I don’t see there being any problem [with the pitch], both teams have to bat on it.
“For them to only score 30 runs off 21 overs at the end was testament to our bowlers and on another day we could have picked up a couple of wickets.
“There’s a ridge and also a difference in grass halfway down where the ball was bouncing from, and that’s not going anywhere. So it’s definitely encouraging for our guys going into the days ahead. With the skills we have and the experience, I’m looking forward to how we go.”
Bairstow ended day one behind the stumps once more after Ben Foakes suffered heavy bruising to his right hand when struck by a Shannon Gabriel short ball which dismissed the batsman after a second deflection.
“Of course you enjoy something you’ve worked hard on for a number of years, to be back out there with the gloves on,” said Bairstow. “It’s like riding a bike in many ways. You’ve just got to catch a few and then you are straight back into the rhythms.”
Kemar Roach, fresh from his game-shaping performance in the first Test, followed up with figures of four for 30. He said: “I think 250 is par and there is a lot of work to be done. But we bat deep. We have a very good bowling attack and we’re in good stead; if we keep working hard we’ll put some numbers on the board for the West Indies. I’m pretty happy with the pitch as a fast bowler.”
Australia will play top-ranked England and Sri Lanka in their last warm-up matches before defending their Cricket World Cup crown.
All 10 teams will play two warm-ups each over May 24-28 before the tournament begins on May 30 in London.
The games are spread over Bristol, Cardiff, Southampton, and London.
The games will be 50 overs per side but not carry official one-day international status as teams can field their entire 15-man squads.
Friday, May 24
Pakistan vs Afghanistan, Bristol
Sri Lanka vs South Africa, Cardiff
Saturday, May 25
England vs Australia, Southampton
India vs New Zealand, London
Sunday, May 26
South Africa vs West Indies, Bristol
Pakistan vs Bangladesh, Cardiff
Monday, May 27
Australia vs Sri Lanka, Southampton
England vs Afghanistan, London
Tuesday, May 28
West Indies vs New Zealand, Bristol
Bangladesh vs India, Cardiff