Jonny Bairstow is expecting a “fantastic” Test series between growing rivals England and New Zealand later this month after yet another nail-biting white ball encounter.
England won a rain-shortened fifth T20 against the BlackCaps in Auckland today, by virtue of a Super Over after both sides finished tied on 146 from 11 overs.
Bairstow smashed 47 off 18 balls at Eden Park in the regulation encounter before hitting eight off three balls as England accrued 17 off the Super Over and defended it.
It means they won the five-match series 3-2 following on from July’s famous one-day World Cup final win over the same opponents at Lord’s, via boundary count-back following a tied 50-over clash and then a tied Super Over.
“We don’t want this to keep happening, I don’t think,” said Bairstow after the teams’ second Super Over decider.
“I don’t think anyone wants to keep that going, but it just shows how close the sides are and how close it’s been throughout the series.
“It sets up what’s going to be a fantastic Test series as well.”
Bairstow opened the batting in four of the five matches – he was rested from the other – and posted scores of 35, nought, eight and 47.
“I don’t feel like I’ve potentially scored as many as I wanted during the series,” he said. “So to contribute in a shortened game – obviously the pitch here is quite favourable for the batters – to get some runs was pleasing.”
Yorkshire star Bairstow and his England team-mates were up against it when New Zealand racked up 146-5 following a delayed start, with Martin Guptill top-scoring with 50.
But he was just one of half a dozen England players in their eleven who last year played in the T10 (10 overs per side) League in the United Arab Emirates last November, experience of which he says came into play as they looked to close out this particular series.
Last year, Bairstow smashed the format’s highest ever score, 84 off just 24 balls in a brief stay in the Gulf, though his record was beaten almost immediately by Alex Hales.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the 30-year-old added: “It was pretty imposing to try and chase down 150, but a lot of the guys played in the T10 last year and said, ‘Look, we’re not far off here – if we can get within striking distance with the small boundaries, we’ve got a chance’.”
The two-match Test series starts at Mount Maunganui on November 20, though England have two warm-up games beforehand, one which starts tomorrow (Monday).
Joe Root returns to captain the side having been rested from the T20s, while New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, another man with Yorkshire connections, is expected to be fit after missing the T20s with a hip injury.
Bairstow was initially left out of the Test squad, but he has been drafted in as injury over for Joe Denly.
New White Rose signing Dawid Malan was rested from the final T20 and now prepares for pre-season with his new county.
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