Jonny Bairstow’s quick-fire 99* rounded off a staggering England run-spree against Australia in a must-win fourth Ashes Test for the hosts at Old Trafford on Friday.
England were eventually bowled out for 592 in reply to Australia’s first innings 317, a lead of 275 runs, after lunch on the third day.
Bairstow was only on 49* when joined in the middle by James Anderson on the England last man’s Lancashire home ground.
But the Yorkshireman responded with a blizzard of boundaries and it looked as if he might break the record for England’s fastest Test century – Gilbert Jessop’s 76-ball effort against Australia at The Oval back in 1902.
Summer 2022 vibes 😍
50 up in style for Jonny!
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 21, 2023
He just failed to overhaul that mark and then, having turned down the chance to get the two he needed for his hundred by only running a single, the England wicketkeeper was left stranded on an unbeaten 99 after Anderson was lbw to all-rounder Cameron Green.
The 33-year-old Bairstow faced 81 balls, including 10 fours and four sixes as he just fell short of what would have been his 13th Test century.
All of Australia’s three frontline bowlers, conceded more than 100 runs each, with Josh Hazlewood taking 5-126 in his 27 overs.
England’s innings, which featured Zak Crawley’s superb 189, saw six of their top seven all make at least fifty – the first time they had achieved this feat since Andy Sandham led the way with 325 against the West Indies in Jamaica in 1930.
Bairstow was just the third Englishman to be left marooned on 99* in a Test following Geoffrey Boycott, against Australia in Perth in 1979-80 and Alex Tudor, against New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999.
England, 2-1 down with two to play must win in Manchester to maintain their hopes of regaining the Ashes from Test world champions Australia.
© Agence France-Presse