Tearful Bairstow enjoys best day of his life

CAPE TOWN: Jonny Bairstow pumped his chest to the sky and wiped away a tear as he completed an emotional maiden test hundred for England against South Africa on Sunday, amid a record-breaking stand with Ben Stokes.


Stokes, Bairstow tear apart South African bowlers

The red-haired England wicketkeeper last year lost his grandfather, with whom he shared a close relationship, while his dad David, a former England cricketer, killed himself in 1998.

“Obviously after everything that has gone on in the last year or so it’s fantastic to get over the line for me and my family,” he told reporters after finishing on 150 not out with his mother and sister watching on from the stands.

“They have supported me all through my career. To have them here in Cape Town is lovely and it is my mum’s birthday on the last day of the test so hopefully we can cap off a great game.

“It was probably the best day of my life and one I will never forget.”

After being recalled to the England side during last year’s Ashes triumph over Australia, Bairstow's place in the team has come under scrutiny.

"It has been a little while coming. There was a lot of talk here and there so I’m delighted to get over the line today,” he said.

Stokes and Bairstow scored 399 in a record sixth-wicket stand as England declared on 629 for six on the second day of the second test at Newlands.

It was a bludgeoning performance from Stokes, who scored a record-breaking 258 off 198 balls.

"It was an exhibition of stroke play," Bairstow said. "We just clicked in and supported each other all the way through. To play a knock like that is something quite spectacular.

“I’ve grown up with Stokesy and seen him play some fantastic knocks and to witness that today was extremely special and something a lot of people will never forget.”

England will seek to take an even firmer hold on the test on Monday by quickly dismissing South Africa, who closed on 141 for two.

"It will be a strong move from us if we can come back in the morning and take some chances," Bairstow said. “Our bowlers have a wealth of experience in all different conditions and hopefully we can come out tomorrow, utilise a bit of reverse swing, moisture in the pitch and we go from there."