Jonny Bairstow’s first Ashes hundred has instantly become his new personal favourite.
It is 18 months since the England wicketkeeper last reached three figures in Tests – he fell an agonising single run short against South Africa at Old Trafford last summer – and, in doing so on the biggest stage of all, he allowed a “whole heap of emotions” to come out. After the fist-pumping and jumping for joy at the WACA, he threw in a “light-hearted” and spontaneous ‘head-butt’ of the helmet he had just taken off – revisiting the unusual greeting he imparted to Australia opener Cameron Bancroft at the start of the tour.
That bar-room prank ended up causing an unwitting Bairstow plenty of consternation, of course – but, as he added his century to Dawid Malan’s on a fluctuating second day of the third Test, he demonstrated it has not cost him his sense of humour.
England went on to lose their last six wickets for 35 to finish 403 all out and then could not stop Steve Smith (92 not out) leading his team to 203-3 at stumps.
Bairstow (119) nonetheless had much reason for personal satisfaction after he and Malan (140) pushed their double-century fifth-wicket stand into Ashes record territory.
“This hundred in many ways was my favourite, because obviously I’ve played in a few Ashes so far now,” said the Yorkshireman.
You want to be able to look back in the archives when you’ve retired, and say to your kids, your grandkids, ‘I made an Ashes hundred at the WACA’.Jonny Bairstow
“To score an Ashes hundred is something you dream about as a kid, and it’s eluded me until now.
“To get it at the WACA, away from home, means a heck of a lot.”
It was only when he got caught up in the celebration that he instinctively bumped his forehead on his helmet.
“That was a bit of light-hearted fun, wasn’t it, with everything that’s gone on?” he added.
“I’d not thought about (doing it). It was a whole heap of emotions, and that’s exactly what Ashes cricket, what Test cricket, is about.
“(There’s a) huge amount of passion within the game – that’s been throughout the series.”
“You want to be able to look back in the archives when you’ve retired, and say to your kids, your grandkids, ‘I made an Ashes hundred at the WACA’.
“It meant a huge amount. We talk about a badge of honour, when you’re out there in the dirt on a flat one... but this was a badge of honour for Mala (Malan) and me. I’m delighted to get my first Ashes hundred.”
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