Versatile Bairstow Aces Study By Turning To Kotla > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Versatile Bairstow aces trial by spin at Kotla

Bairstow led SRH's chase with a brisk 48 off 28 balls.

Around this time last year, Jonny Bairstow was in the Sky Sports studios in West London, demonstrating how a powerful base is essential to big hitting. He had been ignored at the IPL auctions again, for the second year running even as Ben Stokes landed a windfall of 1.7 million pounds. Twelve months later, here was Bairstow, no longer playing the expert on TV back home but instead in the midst of the IPL frenzy, demonstrating in person the advantages of a powerful base.

In the context of the game, his latest innings, 48 off 28, perhaps can hold its own, even when compared to his maiden IPL hundred last week. It wasn't a pitch designed for free-flowing batting. If anything, batting wouldn't have been fun on the low, slow surface. The only other individual score that came close to Bairstow's was the 43 made by Delhi skipper Shreyas Iyer. And even Iyer, certainly more localised and used to playing on such surfaces apart from being a breezy stroke-maker himself, took 41 balls to conjure those runs up. Iyer wasn't the only one either to make batting look difficult on Thursday.

Bairstow though was in full flow from the time he walked out to bat. And while others struggled to get the ball off the 30-yard circle with regular conviction, the Englishman kept clearing it very comfortably and convincingly. The power game has not always been a major feature of Bairstow's batting. He's previously talked on Sky about 'range hitting', which he describes as slogging at balls and watching it sail into the stands for "positive reinforcement." Technically, Bairstow has made a conscious effort to stand taller with a higher back-lift, allowing his bottom-hand to take charge a bit more and thus adding some extra distance to the big hits. As a result, sometimes even the mistimed shots seem good enough to clear fielders and fences.

Bairstow's footwork against spin was a la Michael Clarke, the former Australian captain, who incidentally was on commentary. Unlike the young Indian batsmen in the Delhi Capitals line-up, who mostly played spin off the back-foot, like a number of them do in around the country on a slow pitch, Bairstow ran down the track at every opportunity and totaled runs all around.

The contrast in Bairstow's approach to batting on the Delhi wicket stood out even in terms of his batting numbers. His 48 included only three singles, and he didn't mind playing dot balls, with the new-found confidence of knowing that he can find the boundary when required. No wonder he backed himself even on occasions where he didn't reach the pitch of the ball. He still swung at them hard, and routinely hit the ball over the fielders.

It wasn't a game plan that came off without a hiccup. He was dropped on 5 when Axar Patel couldn't take a simple return catch. But he made amends the next time he jumped out and couldn't quite reach the ball, by hitting the left-arm spinner for a boundary.

His footwork and execution against spin is likely to have impressed Clarke, and it did win Bairstow high praise from another former Australian captain who was at the Kotla, Delhi coach Ricky Ponting. "Jonny (Bairstow) is in red-hot form at the moment, coming off a hundred and when you're confident like that, you don't think about the negative result. You use your feet and expect the ball to hit the middle every time," said Ponting.

While Bairstow found a way to flourish on a pitch he could have been possibly allowed to fail on, his team would have strangely felt at home here. It was on a pitch like this back in 2013, while playing their maiden IPL season that the Sunrisers had discovered their trademark "choking the opposition" strategy with two legspinners in Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma, slowing the game down. And that's exactly what their spinners here, led by Mohammad Nabi, put the Delhi batsmen through. That their new English export would acclimatize himself so seamlessly is only another sign of how valuable Bairstow is rapidly proving to be for the Sunrisers' hopes this season.

Live Home Series
Player Schedule
Points Table Cricket Rankings
Cricket Clothing Cricket Equipment
Cricinfo Apps Download