England bring in Bairstow to replace Ballance
London, July 22
England have brought in batsman Jonny Bairstow to replace his Yorkshire teammate Gary Ballance in the only change to their squad for the third Ashes Test against Australia starting next Wednesday at Edgbaston.
Ballance paid the price on Tuesday for labouring to 23 and 14 in his two innings during England’s heavy 405-run defeat in the second Test at Lord’s, which allowed Australia to level the series at 1-1. Bairstow has played 14 Tests, his last appearance coming in 2014 against Australia in Sydney.
“I haven’t been concentrating on anything apart from scoring runs for my county,” Bairstow told the BBC. “The chance has come and I am delighted. It has been a case of working hard over the last few years and just going out and playing. A few things have come together. Consistency-wise I think I am in my best form and striking the ball well and hopefully this will continue,” he added.
England’s Ian Bell moves up the order to bat at No 3, followed by Joe Root, with Bairstow coming in at five, national selector James Whitaker said in an England Cricket Board statement. Bairstow added: “I am desperately disappointed for Gary. He has scored a heck of a lot of runs for England over a short period of time.”
Whitaker said the break ahead of the third Test would give the squad time to reflect on the series so far and said Ballance still had a role to play in England’s future. Turning to Bairstow, he said, “Jonny has worked extremely hard at his game and his record for Yorkshire speaks for itself. He fully deserves this opportunity.”
He added: “Gary was naturally disappointed to miss out on this occasion, however we feel that he will benefit from some time in county cricket to rediscover his form. He has already had plenty of success at international level and as selectors we are confident Gary will play a significant role for England in the future.”