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Bairstow wants to push on after ton inspires England

 

Jonny Bairstow hopes to become a key component of England's one-day side after scoring a match-winning century in a seven-wicket victory over West Indies in the Royal London Series opener at Old Trafford.

Bairstow hit exactly 100 not out to ensure a routine win with more than 11 overs to spare in pursuit of just 204 for nine, as England consigned their opponents to the 2019 World Cup qualifying tournament next year, alongside Ireland, Afghanistan and hosts Zimbabwe.

With only two teams qualifying for the finals in England, it promises to be Ireland's toughest qualifying test since they played in the World Cup for the first time in 2007, when they memorably defeated Pakistan.

In yesterday's match, reduced to 42 overs per side because of a wet outfield, the Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman hit a maiden format ton at the top of the order.

Bairstow was playing only his 28th ODI since his debut six years ago, and now hopes to become a permanent fixture.

"It seems a long time ago that I made my debut in one-day cricket and there's been ups and downs," Bairstow said. "With the strength in depth we've got within the England side, which has been so settled for over a year now, the opportunities are few and far between so when you get one it's so important that you do try and take it."

Eoin Morgan was quick to praise Bairstow, although he also paid tribute to England's bowling attack.

"I thought the bowling unit put in a really good benchmark," Morgan said. "It's very encouraging to start like this."

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