JONNY BAIRSTOW is too modest to make mention of the fact that he scored a hundred in last year’s Headingley Test.
The Yorkshireman smashed a brilliant 140 as England thrashed Sri Lanka by an innings.
“The last time we had a Test match here it was good for us as a team, and hopefully this will be exactly the same,” he said, as he faced the media ahead of the game against West Indies that starts on Friday.
“I’m sure the Western Terrace will be bouncing again, and I always enjoy coming home and playing at Headingley. It’s something that’s been permanently embedded in my career so far, and hopefully will be for a long time to come.
“No matter who you are, there’s something really special about playing on your home ground, wherever that may be.”
It will be Bairstow’s third appearance in a Headingley Test, and the 44th of an increasingly distinguished career. He hit 64 and 26 not out against New Zealand at Leeds in 2013, sharing in a century stand in the first innings with Joe Root as the now England captain made his maiden Test hundred.
In total, Bairstow has played 38 first-class matches at Headingley, scoring 2,606 runs at 53.18 with eight hundreds, 12 fifties and a top-score of 246.
It is a ground that somehow seems to bring the best out of him.
“We know early on it can be a little bit spicy, and if you get through those difficult periods, if it’s a bit cloudy and it’s nipping or swinging, then it’s a fantastic place to bat,” he said.
“But, at the same time, if you go at it in a way that you don’t respect the conditions, and you don’t respect what the ball’s doing, then it can be difficult.
“It’s been a huge part of my career to date, and I always love playing here. We always get fantastic support.”
After a determined fight to get to the top, Bairstow is now one of the first names on England’s team-sheet. He can bat pretty much anywhere and is an excellent wicketkeeper.
“I’m pretty happy with where I am,” he reflected. “Over the last 18 months to two years now, it’s been consistent selection in the side, so it’s been good for me personally to have that.
“Hopefully, that’s enabled me now to kick on and keep my performances improving looking ahead to this game, to Lord’s, the rest of the summer and beyond.”