Wicketkeeper Bairstow suffered a “small fracture” to his left middle finger when he failed to gather a ball from James Anderson cleanly on day three of the third Specsavers Test.
He was replaced behind the stumps by Jos Buttler while Virat Kohli (103), Cheteshwar Pujara (72) and Hardik Pandya (52no) were piling up 352-7 declared to leave England facing a world record run chase of 521.
Alternatively, they need to bat out six sessions to stay 2-0 up with two to play – a highly unlikely task, but a little more realistic perhaps in the knowledge Bairstow should be in the middle order.
After the hosts reached stumps on 23-0, Bairstow said: “We are going to see how it is in the morning.
“It is a fracture, but it’s not displaced and that is a big thing. We hope that, with a bit more ice overnight and some protection (it will help).”
The treatment so far has been painful.
“It just goes numb after the ice bath – the first 30 seconds were pretty horrendous,” added Bairstow, who is keeping the faith England can fare much better in their second innings than they did when losing all 10 wickets in one session first time round.
“(India) left the ball well, and we know if we are going to save or win this game that’s exactly what we have to do.
“We know the challenge in front of us, and we know what we have to do to save or win this game.”
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace is calling on England’s senior players, including captain Joe Root and his predecessor Alastair Cook, to rise to the challenge.
“Having had such a poor performance [on Sunday] you would expect your batsmen to show some gumption and some guts and get stuck in and show that they are the best players,” he said.
“You’re looking for Cook, Root, (Ben) Stokes to get stuck in and show they are top quality players.
“The key for us is showing the right intent and from [Sunday’s] innings that would be the biggest disappointment. We lost two wickets in two balls, and the intent went out of our innings.
“We can defend (the players), and we can say we’ve got lots of good players, and players at different stages of their careers, but the key is showing you can do it in the middle.”
Cook and Keaton Jennings have made a start at least.
“They played well, but it’s about continuing that, everyone going in and playing their way and playing with good intent,” added Farbrace.
“Intent doesn’t just mean scoring quickly, it means defending well, leaving well, rotating strike.”
England have not helped themselves here either by dropping six catches.
Farbrace said: “When bowlers are creating opportunities and catches are being dropped that can be soul destroying.
“Nobody means to drop a catch, but we are shelling too many. There’s no hiding place. It’s not good enough – we’ve been saying that for too long.”
Pujara did fall to a slip catch, by Cook off Stokes.
After returning to form here, he said: “I was always confident. Although I didn’t score many runs in county cricket [for Yorkshire] I was playing on challenging pitches.
“I’m really pleased to score those valuable runs for the team.”
Kohli had completed his second century of the series before deciding to call a halt to his side’s second innings late on the third day. Kohli, who scored 97 in the first innings, resumed on eight and batted until shortly after tea for his 103.
He put on 113 for the third wicket with Pujara and 57 for the sixth with Ajinkya Rahane (29).
He was eventually trapped lbw by Chris Woakes, but Hardik Pandya hit a run-a-ball unbeaten 52 to take India’s lead past 500.
Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid took the last two wickets to fall before the declaration to end with figures of 3-101.
Scoreboard: Page 18.