Johnny Bairstow in uniform leading England’s attack against India in the Edgbaston decider

Johnny Bairstow’s outstanding form continued as he raced for another century to hold England in the Edgbaston showdown against India.

After several hundred in a row in a career-best series against New Zealand and four overall this year, Bairstow scored 91 on his third morning in Birmingham, but kept up with his team’s 200 points out of six.

Barstow hit 12 fours and two sixes, turning a difficult start into a dominant game, but Ben Stokes’ attempts to impose himself on high-profile offense were less successful.

He was dropped on 18 and 25, but did not heed his warnings, caught from the next ball after the second delay.

England were in the pit early in the day, 332 back at 84 for five and with Jasprit Bumra and Mohammed Shami to fight back.

Shami performed a miraculous but unsuccessful spell from Pavilion End and on several occasions was able to end Bairstow’s stay early.

He hit both edges, extracting a generous movement of the seam, with Bairstow hanging at his fingertips at times. A lively exchange with Virat Kohli seemed to harden his resolve and he suddenly began to find the middle of the bat.


Ben Stokes dropped out twice during an eventful stint in the crease (Mike Egerton/PA)

With a slightly berserk Stokes on the other end, Bairstow found a groove – leaning hard into a pair of drives before launching himself into the air with two disparaging slams to the ground.

Shami almost got his reward when Stokes came down from the field and skied with a thick leading edge to take cover. But Shardul Thakur never looked comfortable, despite having plenty of time to calm down and fiddle, to Stokes’ relief and the crowd’s obvious delight.

Bairstow salted the seamstress’s wounds by throwing the next two balls at four, one flying over the square foot and the next detonating straight and true.

Stokes wanted to join the charge but was two hits behind his team mate and got lucky again when he smashed Thakur right on Bamru in the middle of the attack. The skipper from India made a mess out of it by juggling it in slow motion, but he was going to get a chance to make amends.

Emboldened by his luck, Stokes threw the same punch again, this time hitting a little harder and a little more accurately, but was brilliantly caught by Bamra diving to his left.

Stokes reacted by throwing his head back and laughing, but at 149 of 6 in response to 416, England were still in trouble.

However, Barstow has a habit of handling difficult situations and has continued to work with Sam Billings as support.

Mohammed Siraj and Thakur had no means to silence him and Bairstow was ruthless and fearless against anything short.


Shardul Thakur sacked Stokes but later sacked the England captain (Mike Egerton/PA).

The frontier count continued to rise as he moved to square foot, moved to third man, and hit deadlifts twice for six.

He was given a weight of 89 pounds, but he successfully passed the test due to the inside edge and was only nine tons short when the rain brought an early lunch.