BIRMINGHAM: Star England striker Jonny Bairstow has played down the heated verbal exchange he had with Indian senior player Virat Kohli on day three of the rescheduled fifth Test, saying it was part and parcel of the game.
During Sunday’s morning session, Kohli had something to say to Bairstow about his ‘play and miss’ play, but the England hitter was not someone to take it lightly. At one point, the referees had to step in to calm things down.
“No, there was literally nothing,” said Bairstow, who hit 106 of 140 balls, when asked about the heated exchange with Kohli.
“We’ve been playing against each other for 10 years now. It’s kind of crazy (having a good time, a nice social activity). We’re fiercely competitive on the pitch and that’s what it’s all about. .
“We play Test cricket and we’re two competitors. It brings out the best in us. Either way, you want your team to cross the line and that’s part and parcel of the game.”
After that altercation, Bairstow started switching his arms and played a lot of upstrokes mid-stroke and clipped a few towards the boundary of the mid-wicket.
Asked at the post-game press conference on day three if Kohli was “pushing the bear”, Bairstow replied: “It’s a nice pun, really.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
“We’ve been lucky enough to play against each other for over 10 years now, so we’ve had battles on the pitch.
“I’m pretty sure we can have dinner. Don’t worry about that,” Bairstow said.
Bairstow’s century was the cornerstone of England’s 284 in response to India’s 416, a 132 first-innings deficit for the hosts. India were 125 for 3 at stumps on day three, extending their overall lead to 257 runs.
England face the prospect of a daunting fourth-inning goal but Bairstow said ‘whatever our aim is we’ll try to chase it’.
He also spoke of the challenge of taking on India’s new pair of balls of Mohammed Shami and substitute skipper Jasprit Bumrah, who managed to play almost unchanged through the opening 30 overs of the innings.
“They played very well. The ball was swinging and it was just a matter of trying to reverse that momentum. Trying to manipulate the pitch in places where you are able to score. But you’re also going to have to take some risks.”
When asked if technical improvements drove his extraordinary form journey, Bairstow replied: “I have no idea.”



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