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Ashes 2013: Aussie Test Shows Jonny Bairstow Is out of His Depth

Agar vs. Bairstow: A tale of two stories
Agar vs. Bairstow: A tale of two storiesLaurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2013

It’s both gratifying and tormenting to watch the story of a one-hit wonder unfold before you, something a lot of people are now thinking is a fate which will befall Jonny Bairstow.

Having made his first true impact on the international stage last year, many felt that the 23-year-old’s top score of 95 in the first innings of the third test against South Africa was the beginning of something great.

However, after being picked for the 2013 Ashes test series, it seems that those who were more scrupulous towards the youngster’s inclusion may have been right after all.

Much to the disappointment of batsman Nick Compton, Bairstow found his way into Andy Flower’s team, but just three days into the series, Bairstow has shown himself to be short of the required pedigree at times.

Admittedly, the Yorkshire man’s descent has fallen in conjunction with the rise of Australia’s Ashton Agar. But how poetic should it be that the one starlet currently keeping the visitors’ test series alive bowls out the young Ashes debutant, not exactly helping his side on the third day of proceedings?

For that was the story that unwound on Friday, as Bairstow managed to make just 15 runs, which is light-years away from the almost-century that made him such a topic of fascination back against South Africa in 2012.

It’s for that exact reason which depicts age isn’t the factor here, too. If 19-year-old Agar can have such a strong opening to the series, and even 22-year-old Joe Root has shown tempered consistency, then it would seem to just be a case of pedigree.

Invited to England’s Champions Trophy squad, Bairstow’s time preparing for this Australian examination may have been better served back in Yorkshire, at least giving the player something to do in the build-up for this series.

But instead, England chose to retain the Bradford native as a 12th man, something which may have affected Bairstow’s preparation.

However, when there were other, more reliable options in the hunt for an Ashes bow, it’s decisions such as these that only serve to raise more questions. Mainly, why was it allowed to happen?

Three days into the Ashes series and Bairstow was bowled for just 15 runs by Agar, but he has never really looked comfortable in his surroundings.

Heads now turn to just whether or not the player can expect to see a call-up for the second test with Nick Compton and others waiting in the wings with bated breath. Our fascination with youth means that emerging talent will always be given its chance to shine if it feels warranted, but has Bairstow’s already come and gone?

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