Photos: John Heald Photography
Jonny Bairstow hailed Yorkshire’s character as they bounced back from being bowled out for 50 on day one against Essex at Chelmsford to gain the advantage at close.
Bairstow was bowled for seven in the first innings as the White Rose were put under serious pressure before the bowlers responded to restrict the Essex lead to just 92, with 20 wickets falling before tea.
The England wicketkeeper was then promoted to open the batting and hit a belligerent 50 as the visitors closed on 161-2 in their second innings, a lead of 69.
Harry Brook closed the day unbeaten on 57, his maiden first-team fifty.
“It was interesting wasn’t it,” said Bairstow.
“It was difficult to sum up to be honest.
“There was plenty in the pitch, and Essex bowled well. Every time there was something on offer we either missed it or nicked it. You’ve got to give credit to the bowlers.
“But for us to fight back, bowl them out cheaply and be 70 in front shows where we’re at. I think we’re in a good position. We’ve got a lot of batting still to come.
Watch our interview with Jonny Bairstow.
Watch Bairstow’s innings.
“The way Harry and Puj played at the end stands us in good stead.
“We scored 160 there in a session, and that doesn’t happen too often.
“We have a guy there who’s scored 14 Test hundreds with a young lad who has a huge amount of gift and excitement.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice in the first innings, so it’s not the most upbeat dressing room I’ve ever been in, but it’s a damn sight better than it could have been.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen 20 wickets fall in two sessions. What does tomorrow hold, who knows?”
Highlights from Day 1.
He went on: “The conditions this morning suited bowling, although it looked a pretty good pitch when we turned up.
“You could look back and say we maybe could have done something different, but that’s the nature of cricket.”
On the decision for him to open the batting in the second innings, Bairstow added: “It was just a case of ‘Do you fancy it?’ And, yes, of course I did.
“I said ‘Look, if you want me to go and do it, I will’. It can be difficult to send a young lad out on a pitch that’s doing a bit against guys who are on their home ground and have done very well recently.
“It was an opportunity to go out and just play.
“It wasn’t something I thought too much about because I’ve done it against the second new ball plenty of times and in white ball cricket.
“It wasn’t a case of changing the way I played, more so being positive.”