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Bairstow not ready to step aside from settled role in England’s one-day side

The Yorkshire batsman has missed more 50-over games than he has played since making his international bow in September 2011

Jonny Bairstow has no intention of becoming the sacrificial lamb of England’s one-day side, having finally found a role at the head of the innings.

The Yorkshire batsman has missed more 50-over games than he has played since making his international bow in September 2011, appearing in just 33 of England’s 80 matches.

For much of that time he has been viewed as a dependable squad man, occasionally keeping wicket, batting at every position in the top six and often being asked to fill a spot at short notice.

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Yet for the past seven matches he has found a steady role opening the innings, hitting two unbeaten centuries against the West Indies.

Somebody will have to make way when Ben Stokes returns to the side, as he is set to do in New Zealand next month following a decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board, and Jason Roy’s record-breaking 180 at the MCG on Sunday makes him effectively untouchable.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s second ODI at the Gabba, when England will look to build on their impressive victory in Melbourne and take a 2-0 lead, Bairstow made a strong case that he should not be the one to step aside either.

“I have worked my a*** off to get to where I am, to fight for a position in the side,” he said.

“I like to think every time I have come in, whether that be on a one-off game over the last two years when I have got man of the match or whether it be batting at four, six, keeping wicket or opening the batting…I hope I have come in and done well enough to keep my spot.

“I have been asked to open the batting in six games and I have scored two hundreds in those games. It is going to take a bit of time to completely know and understand (opening) but I have been really pleased with how I have started in the role.”

The 28-year-old, meanwhile, laughed off suggestions England’s winning start at the MCG was down to an Australian Ashes hangover.

At the start of the trip it was the tourists who found themselves fending off questions about a damaging drinking culture – Bairstow at the centre of a bizarre story having playfully headbutted Cameron Bancroft in a bar and Lions batsman Ben Duckett pouring a drink over James Anderson in another regrettable incident in Perth.

Now it is the turn of the Australians to have their evening exploits placed under the microscope, with suggestions among the local media that their post-series party in Sydney went too far.

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“Jeez, if you can’t celebrate winning the Ashes I am not sure what you can celebrate other than your wedding or something like that,” said Bairstow.

“So they should. You can’t just say because they have lost the first game that it’s a result of celebrating the Ashes. It’s a different squad, lots of different people.”

He also made a cheeky reference to the curfew which was imposed on the Test squad and remains in place for the white-ball side.

“ I am sure if it was the other way round (celebrations) would have been exactly the same – before midnight, of course.”

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