Miller swayed by timely knock as Root presses his claims

Jonny Bairstow is helping to make life more difficult for England’s Test selectors – but that is the way they like it.

Bairstow was the predictable choice to replace the injured Ravi Bopara in a 13-man squad to face the West Indies and is highly likely to make his Test debut as England’s No 6 at Lord’s on Thursday.

The 22-year-old is therefore set to emulate his late father David as a Test cricketer, having been chosen ahead of his England Lions captain James Taylor among others.

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While Bairstow’s Yorkshire team-mate Joe Root pressed his claims with an unbeaten century as the Lions beat the West Indies, Bairstow’s first-innings 50 in that match – Taylor hit a century – was only part of the persuasive case.

Bairstow’s elevation also comes following his six one-day international and six Twenty20 caps since a sparkling 50-over debut against India in Cardiff last September.

National selector Geoff Miller indicated nonetheless that it was a tough decision to choose between Bairstow and Taylor, while Samit Patel was the man most recently in possession in England’s last two Tests in Sri Lanka when Bopara had a side strain.

When Essex batsman Bopara suffered a torn thigh muscle bowling at Chelmsford, it became clear England would have to look to the Lions. After nominating Bairstow in a squad also containing Steve Finn and Graham Onions among five seam options, Miller acknowledged runs against the West Indies had pressed the Yorkshireman’s claims.

“He obviously played well against an international attack, but he’s been doing well for Yorkshire for two years,” said Miller.

“We did discuss James Taylor. Jonny’s got the nod, but the point is now there are quite a few players knocking on the door.

“It’s making the job a little bit harder, but that’s how we want it; to be able to pick who we think is the best.”

The Lions provided their Test superiors with a handy template of how to beat the West Indies after surging to a 10-wicket victory on the back of Sheffield-born Root’s 115 not out.

Michael Carberry was also unbeaten on 72 as the Lions sent the Windies packing from Northampton with a heavy defeat and injury concerns for key pace bowlers Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul ahead of Thursday’s first Test at Lord’s.

The Lions openers barely had a moment’s worry against a depleted attack as they knocked off 197 to win with more than a session to spare. Root’s share brought him his second first-class century, much of it relatively easy pickings as he accelerated the scoring rate and the West Indies notably eased off.

A delighted Root was quick to credit left-handed opening parter Carberry.

“They bowled pretty well in patches and ‘Carbs’ played extremely well,” said Root.