Catches to win Ashes matches: Bairstow

England's wicketkeeper says dropped chances will prove costly against Australia this summer

Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow believes England must improve their catching if they are to overcome Australia in the Ashes this summer, after a below-par series in the field against West Indies. 

Joe Root's team put down 14 chances throughout their recent 2-1 series success, with coach Trevor Bayliss labelling at one point labelling their efforts "terrible". 

While Bairstow explained some mitigating circumstances around some spilled chances in the slips during the second Test at Leeds, he also acknowledged it was a facet of their game England need to overhaul ahead of the Ashes.

"People say 'no catch is an easy catch', but it's even harder coming out of a crowd that are all wearing different colours and at different paces," Bairstow told The Daily Mail. 

"Perhaps one thing people didn't realise is how close we were standing at Headingley because we had two that dropped short down the hill and that doesn't normally happen. So we went up a metre-and-a-half from where we started the day. When the second new ball came around, that metre-and-a-half at the 86mph (138kph) 'Broady' (Stuart Broad) was bowling is a huge space.

"It gives you a heck of a lot more time to adjust and if it wobbles or swings, it's all compounded by how close you are.

"But we weren't good enough and we didn't take the catches we wanted to take and should have taken.

"We recognise that, we know that and it's something we need to put right leading into the winter."

After being disappointing in patches in the field over the previous two home summers, Australia showed marked improvement against Pakistan at home last summer, with a fresh injection of youth into the side cited at the time as one reason for the raised standards by coach Darren Lehmann. 

"Our fielding is up to standard, a lot better than it has been in the past six months so (I am) really pleased for the fielding group, taking some good catches," Lehmann said last December. 

"You look at the Pakistani fielding, they dropped some catches that really hurt them.

"So, for us, that is a change as well and we pride ourselves with the young guys to be athletic, move around the field."

Saker thinks fielding is pivotal for Australia

Last month, Australia also made a change to their coaching personal, with former wicketkeeper Brad Haddin taking the reins as fielding coach from Greg Blewett. 

Bairstow, at times maligned for his wicketkeeping, enjoyed a strong home summer with the gloves. 

"I've been delighted with my keeping this summer, it's something I've worked really hard on," he added. 

"There was a lot said about it a year ago, even less than a year ago. For people not to be talking about it and instead going 'blooming heck, he's actually kept nicely here – keeping himself to himself, moving around marshalling the troops and just doing a job, that's what you want to be doing'.

"Going over (to Australia) now with the experience we had (in the 2013-14 whitewash), both positive and negative, we know it will be a very hard tour both on and off the field.

"But if you do well over there, people respect what you do, as we know from 2010-11 (when England won 3-1)."

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21