The Yorkshireman has cemented his place in the Test side’s middle order and hit a whopping 387 runs in the three-match series.
“I’m really pleased to back up the form for Yorkshire in an England shirt,” said the 26-year-old. “Being out of the side for a couple of years and going back learning about yourself, it’s never nice to get dropped, but that really spurred me on to try to get back in the side.
“You want to come back into the team and contribute in every way possible – to the people who say you aren’t good enough you want to say ‘I am’. In this series, and in South Africa, I did that.”
England had to settle for a 2-0 series win after the final day of the third Test at Lord’s was abandoned due to rain.
Only 12.2 overs were possible in two spells, with Sri Lanka reaching 78-1 in pursuit of the unlikely 362 they required to win.
Kaushal Silva was the only wicket to fall, trapped lbw by James Anderson, before play was called off just after 5pm.
“It could have been a really good day’s cricket – 100 overs to get 300 runs on a pretty good Lord’s wicket,” said captain Alastair Cook.
“It would have been good to see our guys under pressure and I think it would have been good for the crowd, but the English weather got in the way.”
Nevertheless, Cook was able to take great satisfaction from a dominant display across a one-sided series.
“We won two, one by an innings, one by nine wickets and we declared in the other to try to set up a win,” he added. “A pretty good three games.
“Of course there is always that room for improvement but we’ve won another one of the trophies and we’ve got another one to go against Pakistan.”
England’s declaration on 233-7 had left all results possible and the likelihood of an intriguing culmination to a series already wrapped up by Cook’s team with wide-margin successes at Headingley and then Chester-le-Street.
After play got under way at 1.20pm and then briefly resumed following another two-and-a-half-hour interruption, James Anderson struck with a brilliant piece of swing bowling to see off Kaushal Silva.
Under cloud cover, Anderson produced a devilish inswinger up the slope to have Silva lbw playing no stroke.
But two more downpours confirmed the inevitable draw shortly after 5pm, Sri Lanka having moved to 78-1 from a start-of-play 32 without loss.
A slightly untypical Lord’s pitch had demonstrated increasingly variable bounce –from the pavilion end especially – and some sharp turn too on day four.
England therefore fancied their chances of inflicting their first whitewash in any series of three matches or more since they beat India 4-0 in 2011.
Bairstow’s unbeaten 167 in the first innings, and career-best batting too from Chris Woakes first time round and then Alex Hales – who fell just six short of a maiden Test hundred – had earned a position to push for victory. But it was not to be.