Ask any international cricket captain about what his ideal start in an ODI game would be and you’ll hear all sorts of numbers flying around: none for 75 off 15, 1 for 80 off 15, none for 100 off 10 (for the really ambitious skipper).
England’s Jonny Bairstow has reflected on his match-winning ODI century against Pakistan by admitting his Indian Premier League stint batting alongside Australian David Warner has taken his game to new heights.
The 29-year-old’s magnificent century on Tuesday helped England make light work of chasing down a whopping 359-run target to win by six wickets in the third one-day international in Bristol to take a 2-0 series lead.
Pakistan’s 8-358 on a flat pitch looked to have given the tourists a fair chance of victory but it proved inadequate as Bairstow led the England charge.
He smashed 128 from 93 balls after sharing a 159-run first wicket stand with Jason Roy, launching the hosts to their second-highest successful ODI run chase.
“You’re able to learn different things from different coaches and different players,” said Bairstow, who opened the Sunrisers Hyderabad batting with Warner.
“It’s just little things like game plans. He (Warner) hits in completely different areas to potentially myself.
“I guess it’s method more than anything else.
There were still 5.1 overs left when skipper Eoin Morgan struck the winning run.
“Extremely proud, we felt that was on par, and Jonny and Jason were brilliant,” Morgan, who will lead England into the World Cup on home soil, said.
“When guys perform like this it builds confidence, for looking ahead, it builds confidence in the group.”
England had made 373 in their victory at Southampton at the weekend and once again showed the formidable firepower which will make them one of the favourites in the looming tournament.
Openers Roy and Bairstow began tucking into the Pakistan attack with relish, racking up 74 from the first 10 overs and taking it to 159 in 17.3 overs.
Roy struck four sixes in his 76 while Bairstow belted 15 fours and five sixes before he was eventually bowled by Junaid Khan.
Joe Root then chipped in with 43 and Ben Stokes 37 as England romped to the joint fifth-highest successful ODI run chase.
England quick Chris Woakes had earlier reduced Pakistan to 2-27 before opener Imam-ul-Haq hit a superb 151 to enable the visitors to post a big score for the second match in a row.
They smashed 361 in a losing cause at Southampton after the first ODI in the series was washed out at The Oval.