THE only good thing about Jonny Bairstow’s confounding omission from England’s one-day squad is that it allows him to improve on his stunning statistics for Yorkshire this summer.
Bairstow had 980 County Championship runs to his name when he walked out to bat just before lunch at Headingley yesterday.
By the time he was last out for 91 an hour after tea, that total had risen to 1,071 courtesy of his fifth half-century to go with five hundreds in 13 innings at the remarkable average of 107.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, ye England selectors.
Bairstow’s latest tour de force, which made a mockery of England’s decision to leave him out of the one-day games against Australia that start today – even if it is a different sort of cricket – helped Yorkshire to 391 in reply to Somerset’s first innings 110.
It was a typically stylish performance that showed why Bairstow is very much a batsman for all three formats.
The gifted 25-year-old, who clinched the one-day series against New Zealand with an unbeaten 83 at Chester-le-Street, and who struck 74 in the decisive fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, would surely have reached yet another century had he not been trying to hit out towards the end.
Unbeaten on 90 when last man Ryan Sidebottom strode to the crease, Bairstow was bowled trying to club Jim Allenby over mid-wicket and into the middle of next week.
“It would have been nice to get a hundred, but I’m pleased with my form and pleased to have got to 1,000 runs,” said Bairstow, who joint top-scored with Gary Ballance before Somerset reached 44-2 in reply, 237 behind their hosts.
“At the same time, it’s important now that I kick on and make sure that I finish the season strongly.
“I was disappointed not to be in the one-day squad, which is only natural because you want to play for England as much as you can, but I just want to score as many runs as I can for Yorkshire now and keep making contributions.
“The bowlers have done a fantastic job in this game, and we’ve got ourselves into a very good position.”
After those bowlers ran riot on day one, Yorkshire resumed on 138-3 yesterday, a lead of 28.
Ballance, 49 overnight, reached his half-century in the second over as he and nightwatchman Steve Patterson continued their stand.
Patterson is no mug with the bat – he scored 42 and 44 not out batting at No 10 in the reverse fixture at Taunton – and he kept pace with Ballance in challenging conditions that belied the pleasant September sunshine.
Although Patterson rode his luck at times – what prospering nightwatchman does not? –he also played some handsome strokes as the home side consolidated their strong position.
It took the second new ball to break the stand five overs before lunch, Ballance caught at second slip by Marcus Trescothick off Craig Overton.
The left-hander faced 188 balls and hit 12 fours, most of them neatly persuaded through the offside or nicely nudged off the hips, the stand with Patterson worth 90 in 31 overs.
Patterson had 44 at lunch and needed 10 more to beat his career-best of 53 against Sussex at Hove in 2011.
As one wag in the press box put it, however, Patterson is perhaps not used to batting straight after lunch and he fell to the third delivery after the break, caught behind off Overton after a 107-ball innings that included seven fours.
Overton is tall and his competitive instinct high, but his fuse grew short when he had two lbw appeals turned down by umpire Steve Garratt.
The crowd vented their displeasure as Overton stayed down on his haunches after one appeal, and the bowler’s mood did not lighten when Trescothick dropped a routine catch at second slip when Finch was 13.
Overton got his man next ball, however, Finch trapped lbw during a spell that confirmed Overton to be an excellent prospect at the age of 21.
Bairstow and Tim Bresnan added 46 before the latter was bowled by Tim Groenewald, Bairstow then going on to share a 60-stand with James Middlebrook before the spinner was taken at mid-off.
Jack Brooks was bowled by Lewis Gregory, who finished with 3-74, but Overton was the pick with 4-64.
Trailing by 281, Somerset’s reply began as badly as their first innings. Finch stuck out a right hand at third slip to somehow catch Tom Abell off Brooks, and then Sidebottom trapped Trescothick in front.
It has been a difficult game for the Somerset captain, who has made 10 runs in total and shelled two catches.
Yorkshire battled for further breakthroughs but Tom Cooper and James Hildreth – the latter dropped at fourth slip by Bresnan off Brooks in the last over – held firm.