Bairstow tops greats with another record

Englishman completes record-breaking year, has AB de Villiers in his sights after incredible 2016

England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow has completed statistically the most prolific calendar year by a gloveman in Test history.

Having already broken the record for the most Test runs scored in a calendar year by a wicketkeeper, Bairstow today set a new benchmark for the most Test dismissals effected in a single year.

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Bairstow completed three dismissals in India's first innings of the third Test in Mohali, with the catch to remove Umesh Yadav moving him to 68 dismissals for the year, ahead of the previous record of 67 held jointly by legendary glovemen Ian Healy and Mark Boucher.

The Englishman joins Healy, Boucher and Gilchrist as the only ‘keepers to claim more than 60 dismissals in a calendar year, with a month of cricket - and two-and-a-half more Tests against India - still to come.

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Bairstow's tally of 68 comes in his 15th Test of the year, while Healy completed his 1993 record of 67 in 16 Tests and Boucher took 67 in just 13 Tests in 1998.

The right-hander had already eclipsed the 1,045 run mark set by former Zimbabwe ‘keeper-batsman (and ex-England coach) Andy Flower in 2000 during England’s first Test against Bangladesh last month for the most runs in a single year.

Not only is that the most for a gloveman in a single year, Bairstow's current tally of 1340 runs is the most by any batsman in the world in 2016.

Bairstow played his first 12 Tests as a specialist batsman before losing his spot during England’s 2013 home Ashes series and while he returned for the final two Tests of their 5-0 whitewash later that year, he subsequently spent the next 18 months on the outer.

But since his Test recall during the 2015 Ashes, his dual efforts with the blade and the gloves (which he reclaimed off Jos Buttler later that year), represents a remarkable transformation.

"It's a special feeling. I'm absolutely delighted to now hold the record," Bairstow said in October after passing Flower’s record.

"You go back maybe two years and there are people writing you off to never play Test cricket again.

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"To then come back and prove a few people wrong with the way that I've been playing … there were a few mumbles floating around that I wasn't good enough.

"But at the same time, there's still a lot of cricket to play this year and hopefully I can carry on in the same vein with the bat and the gloves."

Having scored three Test centuries so far this year – 150no against South Africa and knocks of 140 and 167no against Sri Lanka – Bairstow is one of just six 'keepers to score three 140-plus scores in their career.

But there remains one notable milestone for him still to reach in 2016, with AB de Villiers remaining the only gloveman to have scored four tons in a calendar year, a feat he achieved in 2013.

Bairstow fell just 11 runs short of three figures in the first innings in Mohali, but his form in this series against India - he's posted scores of 46, 53, 34no, 89 and 15 - means de Villiers' record is within reach. 

Meg Lanning Steve Smith