As with last week’s piece we are looking back to 2019’s World Cup. Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root each made two centuries in England’s campaign and this total was more than any of their team-mates. Paul Dyson looks at their performances in all ODIs and how the pair measure up to the best of England’s batsmen in the format.

In the early part of 2018 England were leading a five-match ODI series 2-1 in New Zealand. Dunedin provided the fourth venue and Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy began the game by completing an opening partnership of 77 from 62 balls. It looked as though the visitors may well be on their way to a big total and, eventually, a series-clinching victory. Bairstow’s Yorkshire colleague, Joe Root, came out to join him at the fall of Roy’s wicket and the pair put the New Zealand bowlers to the sword in memorable style. The next 109 minutes certainly emphasised the thrust towards a large score as Bairstow and Root produced a second-wicket stand of 190 from only 164 balls.

It was the first time that two Yorkshire players had each made a century in the same ODI and the duo broke the record for the highest ODI partnership by two players from the same county. (The previous record had also been set in New Zealand when, in 1996/97, Alec Stewart and Graeme Thorpe of Surrey had shared a stand of 170 at Christchurch.) Bairstow and Root have since added a second century stand together when they put together 120 from 122 balls, also for the second wicket, against Afghanistan at Old Trafford in this year’s World Cup.

The pair have shone on many occasions as individuals in England’s top order line-up but how do Bairstow and Root stand in the pantheon of England’s best batsmen in ODIs? The following summary, which shows where each of them stands amongst England’s batsmen who have scored at least 1,000 runs, indicates this.

Most Runs Most Centuries Highest Average Highest Strike-Rate
Jonny Bairstow 2,861, 18th 9, 4th= 47.68, 3rd 104.07, 3rd
Joe Root 5,856, 2nd 16, 1st 51.36, 1st 87.37

So, the records of both players put each of them very high on the list of England’s greatest-ever ODI batsmen. As far as the first column is concerned Root is 748 runs behind the record held by Eoin Morgan but the latter has played in 67 more games! Root’s 16 ODI centuries are four ahead of Morgan and Marcus Trescothick; Bairstow’s total of nine is equalled by Kevin Pietersen and two contemporatries – Jos Buttler and Jason Roy. Regarding averages, it is Jonathan Trott who comes between our two Yorkshire players; he has 2,819 runs at an average of 51.25. Finally, Bairstow’s excellent strike-rate is being surpassed only by Roy (just) whose is 107.40 but more than ten runs ahead is Buttler with 119.83.

It is now obvious that Bairstow and Root have both made their mark on England’s ODI records. May they not only continue to do so but, hopefully, help their country to build on the success of winning the World Cup for the first time.

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