Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting MERCURY NEWS to 80360 or email us
Bairstow tipped to bounce back
Jonny Bairstow has been backed to return to Test cricket a stronger player following the disappointment of being left out of the ongoing series against South Africa.
Bairstow, 22, scored an excellent 139 in the second innings of the drawn first unofficial Test between England Lions and Australia A at Old Trafford, a timely reminder to the England selectors ahead of the squad announcement for next week's third Test against the South Africans at Lord's, especially with Kevin Pietersen's place in the squad far from secure.
Bairstow scored just 38 runs in three Tests against the West Indies earlier this summer, but England and Wales Cricket Board performance director David Parsons said: "Hopefully that innings will have reminded him and us as to the talent he has in his game."
Parsons added: "You always worry how players will respond to being left out and he would have been very disappointed. But he got a hundred for Yorkshire recently and came here and played positively. When his time comes next - who knows when it will be - hopefully that experience of the three Test matches he's had will have done him the world of good.
"You can look at a number of players who have been successful in international cricket and see that they've had a little spell where they've not had it all their own way first time and gone away to work on their game and come back and done well.
"Ian Bell is one who's had that early experience, been left out and come back with his game in order."
The Lions set the tourists a target of 354 from a minimum of 64 overs during the final two sessions of day four, which Ed Cowan's men did not even contemplate chasing as they finished on 144 for four from 62 overs. The second and final match of the series will be played at Edgbaston, starting on Tuesday.
"Any time you put an England side out against an Australia side it's going to be competitive," said Parsons, who also reserved praise for left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan after his six-wicket haul during day three. "Our team feel as if they acquitted themselves well and had the better of the draw.
"Kerrigan was one of the other guys who has impressed this week. His six wickets was a standout. He's relatively new to the game but one of three or four young spinners around the game at the moment who we can get excited about.
"When he takes his wickets, he tends to take more than just the one or two. He has shown himself capable of turning matches around. He did that in the first innings and we were hoping that him and (James) Tredwell and the other bowlers could do that in the second too."