Jonny Bairstow says England cricket team's ODI series win over New Zealand a statement of intent
Opener, who scored the third-fastest one-day hundred by an England batsman, lauds his team for playing like it was a World Cup knockout match
Jonny Bairstow was delighted to play the starring role in a "clinical and ruthless performance" as England trounced New Zealand by seven wickets to seal their sixth successive one-day international series victory.
Bairstow hit 104 to make a mockery of the Kiwis' under-par 223 all out in a victory achieved with a landslide 17.2 overs to spare, in what had been billed as a showdown decider likely to go down to the wire at Hagley Oval.
It did no such thing, largely because of England's exemplary bowling after Eoin Morgan put New Zealand in - and then Bairstow accelerated the process by hitting eight fours and six sixes in a brutal 58-ball century as he and Alex Hales (61) raced to 155 for none in little more than 20 overs.
After he had followed his 138 in defeat in Dunedin three days earlier with the fastest ODI hundred by an England opener, Bairstow was on a high personally - and also on behalf of a team who had recovered their composure so emphatically.
"We spoke many times about how it was 2-2, and this was a huge game," he said. "I think [it was great] the way the guys went out in a game that people had compared to a knockout in the World Cup next year and said 'Right, this is how we'll react'.
"We were disappointed with how we did in the last game when we could have potentially won the series - because we got ourselves into a position [to do that].
"That didn't happen... [and] wasn't good enough from us."
England shot themselves in the foot on Wednesday, squandering a near-impregnable position by losing six wickets for 21 runs.
From the outset in Christchurch, though, they made no mistake.
"We know we needed to get better in certain areas and put in a clinical and ruthless performance here, and that's exactly what we did," added Bairstow, who reflected as well on his own achievement at the top of the order.
"I'm really happy.
"It's something that - after being in and out of the side for a couple of years, getting the odd game here and there - to come in and contribute in a role I've not necessarily done a huge amount previously for England, you're still kind of learning.
"It's really pleasing for me to go out and score hundreds - because that's your job.
"We've seen it before with other guys within the team, and today it was my turn to go on.
"I'm absolutely delighted to score the hundred off 58 balls."
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, a Yorkshire team-mate of Bairstow's, set aside his disappointment to deliver credit where it was due.
"It was an unbelievable knock," he said. "[Jonny] has been fantastic for them in all forms, and to come out today... it's what you want from your opener, to go out and break the back of the chase.
"It went a long way to making light work of our total. It was a brilliant innings by Jonny - hitting the ball cleanly like he has all series."
Bairstow rightly pointed out, however, that this was no one-man show.
The bowling of man-of-the-series Chris Woakes especially, and also Adil Rashid, gave England a telling advantage as they shared six wickets for 74 runs.
"The lads up front really set the tone," Bairstow said of Woakes and Mark Wood. "If they don't with the two new balls, it can all be against us, especially when you've got two guys at the top of the order who can be so destructive.
"(Then) the way the spinners bowled through the middle was really impressive."
Updated: March 10, 2018 12:20 PM