Jonny Bairstow likely to feature in first Test following Ollie Pope’s injury

Jonny Bairstow is reportedly in line to play his first Test match at home since 2019 as the Yorkshire batsman is primed to replace Ollie Pope, who suffered a grade three quadriceps tear last week. Bairstow last played Test cricket in February, where he posted 3 ducks in 4 innings against India.

India might have to contend with a second Yorkshireman in the England middle-order as reports have emerged claiming that Jonny Bairstow is all set to make his Test return at Trent Bridge. Bairstow has not played a Test match in England since Ashes 2019, and was overlooked for the two-Test series against New Zealand in June, which the Kiwis won 1-0. However, an untimely injury to incumbent Ollie Pope is believed to have opened the door for Bairstow who, according to The Telegraph, will slot into the England middle-order come the first Test, either ahead of Dan Lawrence or alongside the Essex batsman. 

Bairstow showcased fine form in the first week of The Hundred, where he posted scores of 56 and 72, captaining Welsh Fire. However, it has been a struggle in red-ball cricket for the 31-year-old, who has not scored a ton in over two years. Since 2019, Bairstow has featured in 14 Test matches and has averaged a mere 20.04, notching up just two fifty-plus scores in 27 innings. His last assignment in the whites was against India in February, and it turned out to be a forgettable experience for the Yorkshireman, who ended up posting three ducks in four innings. 

In contrast, his competitor Lawrence has shown both promise and form at the highest level, having scored two fifties in his last four Test innings. In his last appearance for England – which came against New Zealand in Birmingham – the Essex man finished with 81*, ending as the joint highest run-getter in the innings for the side which endured a collapse on the very first day. 

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