Just 24 hours after Kevin Pietersen was ruled out of the upcoming series with New Zealand due to an on-going knee injury, the 23-year-old scored a stylish hundred in his side’s friendly with Rose rivals Lancashire.
Bairstow, who hit 21 fours and a six in his innings of 131, has endured a mixed start to his Test career during the past 12 months, having been dropped three times since making his debut against West Indies at Lord’s.
However, he was recalled to the England middle-order for the third and final Test in Auckland last month after Pietersen was forced to return home.
Having mustered just 67 runs in three innings since his sixth Test appearance in Auckland, Bairstow was in desperate need of an innings to reassure Geoff Miller and the selectors that he is the right candidate to replace Pietersen in the middle-order.
And Root, who has established himself in England’s side after an impressive winter, was delighted to see Bairstow score runs.
“He’s obviously a very talented young lad,” said Root, who has been a team-mate of Bairstow’s since playing together for Yorkshire’s Under-15 side.
“He’s had quite a tough year, but he’s a very strong character. I know how good he is, and he does too. Hopefully this year he can show the rest of the world how good he is as well.”
“I think there is [a friendly rivalry between the pair], and I think you need that to keep improving. You can keep bouncing off each other and wanting each other to do well.” He added.
England’s busy international summer begins on 16 May with a two-Test series against New Zealand at Lord’s.