The "dog-thrower" Graham Gooch uses to drill England batsmen has become a regular feature of the team's net sessions, and if Jonny Bairstow keeps his place for the next Test at Edgbaston, he will surely become very familiar with it. Bairstow is a player of much promise and England believe he has the talent and attitude to succeed in Tests. The 22-year-old might prove his supporters right, but first he must work hard to sharpen his technique against the short ball.
During a three-year first-class career for Yorkshire, Bairstow has shone as much for the strength of his mind as he has for the quality of his strokes. He has acquired a reputation for scoring runs for his county in difficult moments; he will have faced spells of fast bowling in county cricket, but perhaps not the combination of sustained menace that West Indies' Kemar Roach found with the second new ball.
It took only one delivery for Roach to realise that Bairstow was uneasy. The batsman misread the length and took a blow on the gloves. Bairstow's second ball caused even more alarm as it rose towards his throat at close to 90mph. His defence was inadequate and, although the ball dropped safely, news of Bairstow's vulnerability will have been passed on to the South African pair Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who arrive for three Tests later in the summer.
"We know that he doesn't like the short deliveries," said Ravi Rampaul. "It's in our plan, Kemar Roach is our fastest bowler and he executed it well. Information travels fast. We had a chance to bowl at him when we played the England Lions, and we picked it up in that game."