With Jonny Bairstow recently having lost his Test central contract it makes for an opportune time to look at how, particularly at his peak, he impressed in Test cricket with both bat and gloves and set a new England Test record for a wicket-keeping all-rounder. Paul Dyson looks at how he compares with his England predecessors.
Although England’s last Ashes tour of Australia in 2017/18 was a huge disappointment for many people and the team as a whole, some of the individual players came out of it with their reputations still intact, or even enhanced. One of these was Yorkshire’s very own Jonny Bairstow who scored a century in the Perth Test and kept wicket to a very high standard throughout, conceding only 17 byes in the whole series despite Australia’s high scores.
Bairstow finished the series with a total of 306 runs and 11 dismissals and this is the sixth occasion on which he has scored at least 300 runs and effected at least ten dismissals in the same series. This is easily a record for an England wicket-keeper, as the following shows.
300 RUNS AND TEN DISMISSALS IN A TEST SERIES BY AN ENGLAND WICKET–KEEPER
6 – JM Bairstow – 2015/16 v South Africa, 2016 v Sri Lanka, 2016 v Pakistan, 2016/17 v India, 2017 v South Africa, 2017/18 v Australia
3 – AJ Stewart – 1993 v Australia, 1998 v South Africa, 1999/2000 v South Africa
2 – LEG Ames – 1929/30 v West Indies, 1938/39 v South Africa
1 – APE Knott – 1974/75 v Australia
1 – RC Russell – 1989 v Australia
1 – MJ Prior – 2012/13 v New Zealand
It is interesting to note that this feat was achieved by only one player before 1989. Of the 25 batsmen who have scored more than 100 first-class centuries Les Ames, who is in third place in the above table, is the only wicket-keeper. The status quo before the 1960s was that England’s Test selectors would always choose the best wicket-keeper. The ability of Ames with the bat was the one exception to this practice; Lancashire’s George Duckworth was regarded as the better ‘keeper during the time that the pair were contemporaries as Test players but Ames had 47 Test caps to Duckworth’s 24. In the one Test in which they appeared together it was Duckworth who kept wicket.
Now for a look at Bairstow’s record in each of the six series outlined above.
BAIRSTOW – 300 RUNS AND TEN DISMISSALS IN A SERIES
It can now be seen that these series represented the peak of Bairstow’s Test career. For all England supporters there is no doubt that he provided some memories of great performances.
Bairstow’s total of six is only two fewer than that of the other five ‘keepers added together. One is left with the feeling of frustration that he may never be able to add to this list ever again. However, he will now have more opportunity to add to the Yorkshire records which he holds.