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England selectors put faith in Bairstow

'Keeper-batsman to open in ODI series opener against West Indies at Old Trafford

Jonny Bairstow will open for England in the first one-day international against West Indies tonight, captain Eoin Morgan announced Monday.

The series opener at Manchester's Old Trafford is England's first ODI since their Champions Trophy semi-final defeat by eventual tournament winners Pakistan in Cardiff in June.

That match saw regular ODI opener Jason Roy dropped after a run of low scores, with Bairstow making 43 after being brought in at the top of the order.

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Surrey batsman Roy was out for a golden duck in Saturday's lone Twenty20 international against West Indies at Chester-le-Street and Morgan confirmed Test wicketkeeper Bairstow would open on Tuesday.  

"Jonny is going to open with Alex Hales," Morgan told reporters at Old Trafford. "We feel Jonny deserves a chance. He's been waiting in the wings for quite a while now.

"This is an opportunity to make the opening position his."

Bairstow has only had limited opportunities in England's ODI side despite a solid record in the format, playing just 27 times since his debut six years ago. The 27-year-old has only batted once at the top of the order, and that innings was one of the few crumbs of comfort England could take from a convincing eight-wicket defeat by Pakistan at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens when they were heavily tipped to take out the Champions Trophy.

England won 3-0 in a limited-overs series in the Caribbean in March and were 2-1 victors on home soil in a recent Test campaign against West Indies.

But neither of those contests featured the likes of star batsmen Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, now back in the fold after a bitter dispute with Cricket West Indies officials. 

"They're a strong outfit, (and) obviously have some additions, changes from the Test team -- so they're not a side we take lightly," said Morgan.

"A lot of our focus over the last couple of years has been on ourselves.

"I think to make that extra step, learning on from the Champions Trophy, this series for us is about producing consistent performances."