Jonny Bairstow talks up influence of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum - Barmy Army Menu
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Jonny Bairstow talks up influence of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum

Jonny Bairstow has talked up the influence of new captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum after his stunning 77-ball century helped England win the second Test and the series in impressive style.

Indeed, day 5 at Trent Bridge was when the McStokes truly took flight. England’s victory at Lord’s was an impressive start but the win in Nottingham and particularly the way they chased down 299 on day five, has the potential to be a seminal moment for the squad and perhaps for Test cricket.

The positivity with which they approached the fourth innings chase – from Alex Lees all the way to Ben Foakes – showed the new fearlessness with which Stokes and McCullum’s England want to play.

It’s a fearlessness that everyone has hoped to see since the new captain and coach were put together, a fearlessness that their characters demand, and one that is going to get the best out of Bairstow.

England’s number five was the hero at Trent Bridge as he once again proved the doubters wrong. Seriously, how many times have we told you not to underestimate YJB?

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With the hosts 93 for 4 in their fourth innings chase of 299, the Kiwis will have felt they had some control in the game but Bairstow and his skipper proved otherwise.

England’s explosive middle-order duo came out after tea and took New Zealand’s world-renowned bowling attack to pieces.

Bairstow hit the second-fastest Test century by an England player, bringing up three figures in 77 balls, and finished on 132 off 92 while his captain was there to hit the winning runs – though he looks to have injured himself during his 75* off 70.

Given the new positive approach in the McStokes era, there was never any question that England were going to go for it but no one could’ve predicted the speed with which they completed the chase.

Rarely does anyone overshadow Stokesy but such was the case at Trent Bridge as Bairstow played one of the great fourth innings knocks to prove what an asset he is to this team.

Speaking to TMS after the game, he was pressed on the impact of the faith put in him by Stokes and McCullum and of the positive approach they encourage.

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“It means a lot”, he explained. “There are going to be times when it doesn’t come off, that’s part and parcel of it but if you keep the intent that you’ve shown. The way in which I’ve gone about my cricket has always been try and be positive.

“I’ve always tried to be positive. I’ve always tried to take the positive option. Sometimes to my downfall, that’s part and parcel of the game but there are also periods of time when you look at things and you are able to change a game.

“That’s one of the things that I pride myself on. The runs that I’ve scored when it’s been tough but also how I’ve been able to change games of cricket when we’ve been going alright and also when it’s been tricky as well.”

Bairstow added: “I know that we were three or four wickets down but the belief was still there. We’ve had people that have come down and played special knocks and that’s exactly what we fully believed this morning when we were coming to the ground.

“We wanted to take some wickets and that’s exactly what we did. They played well all the way through and fortunately, we were brave enough to take this challenge on.

“We took it on straight from the horns.”