Batsman Jonny Bairstow was pleased to silence some critics with a fine century on day one of England’s third and final Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Sidelined by an ankle injury prior to Friday’s return, Bairstow struck a superb 110 amid cramps and limited mobility due to a foot cast as the visitors climbed to 312 for seven. He replaced the injured Sam Curran in the XI, but wasn’t chosen as wicketkeeper-batsman. Instead, the promising Ben Foakes retained the role.
‘It means a lot. There are different things you go through when you get castigated about being injured for doing x, y and z when people haven’t actually seen what’s gone on,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘The bits behind the scenes, when you’re doing your rehab and sleeping on an ice machine, the things that people don’t see and yet they have an opinion on it. It’s all well and good when things are going well and people have an opinion on how well you’re playing, but it’s the hidden things that they don’t see.’
The talented right-hander filled the number three berth in the batting order with great aplomb, suggesting he’ll retain the berth ahead of all-rounders Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali for the foreseeable future.
‘You’ve got to deliver when you’re asked to. When you’re left out of the side, and you haven’t actually done too much wrong over the last couple of years, and all of the sudden you’re asked to bat in a role where you’ve not batted before, you learn on the job. That’s how I’ve seen it, an opportunity to learn on the job,’ added Bairstow.