Bairstow boost: England batter shines in return from broken leg

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England have received a boost ahead of their upcoming Ashes Test series against Australia, with news that experienced batter Jonny Bairstow has returned to the crease for the first time in eight months.

Bairstow turned out for the Yorkshire second XI against Nottinghamshire in what was his first hit-out since breaking his leg in September last year, and the 33-year-old looked comfortable as he compiled a steady 97 at Headingley.

The right-hander hit 13 fours and two massive sixes during his 88-ball stay as Yorkshire ended the opening day of the four-day contest in a strong position at 437/7.

"Once he got going, he looked like he'd never been away," Yorkshire second XI coach Tom Smith said after play.

"Watching him towards the end, the way he plays the late cut, the way he drives the ball, the way he played the spinner, one shot over extra cover showed that international class."

Bairstow was all smiles prior to play commencing
Bairstow was all smiles prior to play commencing

Bairstow had been in career best form up until his accident on a golf course in September last year, with the veteran having hit six centuries for his country and played a major role in England's renaissance under new coach Brendon McCullum.

The unfortunate leg injury paved the way for young gun Harry Brook to get his chance at Test level and the right-hander made the most of the opportunity by compiling four centuries from six Test matches.

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But Bairstow is in contention to win his spot back in England's Test XI this summer should his return from injury prove successful, although he may have to do so through the guise as wicket-keeper.

It is believed Bairstow will spend some time with the gloves during Nottinghamshire's innings and the veteran could be in line to replace incumbent keeper Ben Foakes during a busy upcoming schedule.

Bairstow is expected to turn out for Yorkshire's first XI next week, while the one-off Test against Ireland at the start of June precedes the eagerly-awaited five-match Ashes series at home against Australia.

Bairstow was England's only century maker during their disastrous 4-0 Ashes loss to Australia at the start of last year, with his innings in Sydney starting his eight-month purple patch of form up until his leg injury.


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