Bairstow shines for England

Jonny Bairstow

Jonny Bairstow

First published in National Sport © by

Jonny Bairstow's maiden international half-century carried England to 150 for seven in tonight's second Twenty20 match against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Bairstow (60 not out) had clearly got his eye in during the unbeaten 22 he made in vain in Thursday's defeat, and showed the benefit of that experience with an innings of rich potential and one too which gave England a better than even chance of victory.

His clean striking and an expert shot selection belying his 22 years were both key attributes, as they were when he impressed so many on his England debut in last September's one-day international win over India in Cardiff.

This time, Bairstow was helping to set a score rather than complete a chase - after Stuart Broad chose to bat first on the same pitch used two days ago.

Bairstow entered the equation at 49 for three in the seventh over, after Kevin Pietersen and Craig Kieswetter had given the tourists an encouraging start in pursuit of the win they need to level this three-match series with one still to play in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Pietersen again looked in imperious form until a sweep at only Saeed Ajmal's second delivery went fine and straight into Umar Gul's hands to end the opening stand with Kieswetter.

Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan both went lbw in single figures, respectively pushing across Gul and missing Mohammad Hafeez on the defence. Bairstow had already announced himself with a straight six off Shahid Afridi, and two boundaries, when Kieswetter went for one big shot too many at the leg-spinner and picked out long-off.

The young Yorkshireman went on to hit five fours in all, and two sixes, from 46 balls - keeping his nerve, and momentum, as a succession of partners chipped in around him to give England at least a par total to bowl at.

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