Bairstow’s chance cut emphatically short

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow
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Jonny Bairstow wasted a glorious chance to try to prove he deserves a place in England’s squad for the First Test next week against South Africa.

With Essex’s Ravi Bopara now offering an in-form alternative in the England middle order, Bairstow needed runs at the Ageas Bowl yesterday – and was out first ball.

He was left to contemplate his failure as rain clouds enveloped the stadium, washing out the last two sessions as the weather had done the whole of the first day.

When umpires Nigel Cowley and George Sharp went through the formality of calling off play for the day at tea, Yorkshire had lurched to 83-3 after losing the toss.

Yorkshire’s plight had been worse. At one stage, after 11 overs, Yorkshire were 28-3 but Joe Root and Gary Ballance compiled a resolute recovery, adding 55 for the fourth wicket.

Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams had no hesitation in fielding first after winning the toss and it was easy to see why when the match finally got under way on time on the second day.

Hampshire’s new-ball pair of Kabir Ali, the experienced former Worcestershire and England pace bowler, and James Tomlinson, with left-arm swing, posed all kinds of early problems.

Adam Lyth endured an uncomfortable few minutes at the crease before being trapped in front for two in Tomlinson’s second over

Yorkshire captain Phil Jaques also played and missed far too often for a player of his stature but it was hardly surprising since the conditions heavily favoured the bowlers under overcast skies.

At 28, Jaques groped at a delivery from Kabir Ali which left him and Michael Bates took the catch behind the wicket. Next man in was Bairstow, carrying the burden of personal expectation.

But his first ball from Ali was a good one, the forward prod indeterminate, and Bates had no trouble completing his second, straightforward catch.

With more rain forecast, Bairstow may not get a second chance in this match to remind the England selectors of his capabilities.

Yorkshire looked to be in some disarray at this point but Root, with great patience, and Balance began the task of repairing the damage and rebuilding the innings.

Root hit successive deliveries from Sean Ervine for four in the last over before lunch and Ballance overcame a shaky start to display growing authority.

At the premature close Root’s unbeaten 46 had come from 83 balls and included six fours. Ballance’s 17 not out was made from 38 balls. By the time play was abandoned, pools of water had formed on the outfield and the damage had been done.

Steve Harmison has been named in the Yorkshire team to answer the club’s injury crisis but may face a long wait for his opportunity.

Display of the day: Joe Root for the way he overcame difficult batting conditions, capable and experienced bowling, to manufacture a sensible and valuable unbeaten 46.