SINCE Jonny Bairstow has come back to Yorkshire from the West Indies, I think his form has been outstanding.
I was pretty surprised that England didn’t pick him for the one-day series against New Zealand and he was pretty disappointed. But he seems to have got the bit between his teeth to prove them wrong.
I hope he does get another go, but I guess England’s loss is Yorkshire’s gain at the minute.
I thought his first innings knock in the County Championship against Middlesex was fantastic on a really tough pitch to bat on. He looked like he was batting on a different pitch at times.
All-in-all, it proved a terrific win, with a day to spare too.
An extra day off is always welcome, especially after the number of overs that some of the lads bowled.
The three seamers bowled a hell of a lot of overs and it was a fantastic win.
Especially after losing last Friday night, it was great to bounce back and I made a point of the lads having a beer together afterwards to celebrate a hard-fought victory because we were under pressure for periods.
The most encouraging thing was that the lads did fantastically well under pressure.
Last year, we had so many big wins where we won by an innings. But this was a different sort of win where we went toe-to-toe all game and it ebbed and flowed. To knock off the runs at the end was great and it will give the lads a lot of confidence going forward.
In terms of the Middlesex game, Jack Brooks also bowled really well in the first innings with a lot of venom and bowled full and got his rewards.
There was also Steve Patterson, who is at times a bit of an unsung hero. But his nine or 10-over spell on the last morning when he kept things tight and put them under a lot of pressure got the other lads those wickets by doing that.
Adam Lyth also got a wicket and over the past few years, he has worked hard on his off-spin and has bowled a bit in one-day cricket.
Obviously, with Rash not playing in the four-day game, it provided an opportunity for him and Maxwell to have a good role. I knew Middlesex had a few left-handers and Maxy took a few important wickets in the first innings and Lythy’s pace on that pitch also worked better and he actually bowled a bit slower on that third morning.
I thought why not give him two or three overs and see what happens. As it stood, we got a wicket in the first over and it put them behind the eight-ball.
Hopefully, Maxy is also starting to pick up some form now and that match-winning contribution is just around the corner – particularly in the Twenty20 stuff as he is finished with us in four-day cricket now.
I thought he showed his class in that Roses game last Friday when he hit the first ball, reverse sweep, for six which was unbelievable.
He is a free-spirited guy and player and you have just got to give him his head and let him play like that. We needed 18 runs to win, with four wickets left and he played a reverse sweep against the opening bowler. I wonder what Doug Padgett would have said about that in his day ...
Next up is Northants in the t20 on Sunday and we need to bounce back, especially after losing two games in a row in the fashion we have – games we should have won.
It’s about getting the wheels back on and getting the job done. Given good weather with a decent crowd in at Headingley on a family day with all the lads’ families coming, we will be keen to put on a show.
On to England’s amazing one-day win over New Zealand this week. I saw Rooty’s knock and then I was batting.
But then I saw the highlights the next day and I just thought it was fantastic to see England playing in that fashion.
If they continue to play that brand of cricket, they will win more games than they lose. They made New Zealand look second rate – a side who were in the World Cup final a few months ago.
They are starting to get it right and pick match-winners and I thought our Yorkshire lads were exceptional.
Rash, who had been carrying drinks around a while to get his opportunity, scored both runs and got wickets and I thought he was unlucky not to get man-of-the-match.
If England carry on like that, they will win some big games and it will be an interesting series against Australia.
***Andrew Gale’s column is in association with Blacks Solicitors***