Bangladesh v England Tests
Bairstow breaks run-scoring record
England's ever-improving right-hander sets a new benchmark for keeper-batsmen worldwide
23 October 2016, 02:59 PM AEST
England's Jonny Bairstow broke a long-standing record in the first Test against Bangladesh on Saturday, becoming the wicketkeeper-batsman with the most runs in a calendar year.
Bairstow broke the mark of 1,045 runs – made by Zimbabwe's Andy Flower from nine matches in 2000 – during his fighting 47 that helped England move into a position of dominance over the hosts in Chittagong.
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The right-hander now has 1,091 runs for the year at 72.73 in 11 matches to lead all comers in 2016, heading his countrymen Joe Root (929) and Alastair Cook (828) in second and third position respectively.
His three centuries are also the most of any Test player this year, the first of which – 150no against South Africa in Cape Town in January – was his maiden in the five-day game.
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He followed it up with scores of 140 and 167no against Sri Lanka, making him just one of six 'keepers to score three or more 140-plus scores in their careers, alongside Adam Gilchrist (six times), Flower (five), Kumar Sangakkara (four), MS Dhoni and AB de Villiers (three each), and the only one to manage three in a calendar year.
It's been a remarkable career turnaround for the 27-year-old, whose previous 21 Tests across four years had yielded him 965 runs at 28.38.
Bairstow spent 18 months out of the England Test side following a lean series against Australia during their 5-0 Ashes humbling in the 2013-14 summer, but a stunning 2015 County Championship season was the catalyst for his return.
Speaking in July last year, ahead of Bairstow's comeback and in the early stages of a purple patch that has now extended to some 18 months, then Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie revealed the secret to his charge's reinvention.
"When he returned to Headingley after the 2013-14 Ashes tour, Jonny said he had received plenty of well-intentioned advice regarding his technique and after some conversations we came to the conclusion this had inadvertently created more confusion in his mind," Gillespie wrote for The Guardian.
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"So we made a pact: the Yorkshire coaches – myself included – agreed we would not speak to him about his method and instead judge him solely on his returns … in the 18 months that have followed his technique has not been brought up.
"Ultimately we have backed Jonny to take responsibility for his own game and the results are there to see."
With England still to play six Tests this year – another against Bangladesh before five against India – Bairstow is on track to break England's all-time record for most runs in a calendar year.
That mark is currently held by former skipper Michael Vaughan, who made 1,481 runs in 2002 – the eighth-most in history.
Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf (1,788 at 99.33) holds top spot on the list, ahead of Viv Richards' 1,710 at 90 in 1976.
Most runs by a wicketkeeper in a calendar year
1,091: Jonny Bairstow at 72.73 in 2016. Three hundreds, five fifties, 11 matches
1,045: Andy Flower at 80.38 in 2000. Three hundreds, five fifties, nine matches
933: AB de Villiers at 77.75 in 2012. Four hundreds, five fifties, nine matches
899: Andy Flower at 89.90 in 2001. Three hundreds, four fifties, nine matches
891: Kumar Sangakkara at 55.68 in 2001. Three hundreds, four fifties, 12 matches
870: Adam Gilchrist at 51.17 in 2001. Three hundreds, four fifties, 14 matches