Cricket

Jonny Bairstow had a prolific Test series with the bat against Sri Lanka.

Jonny Bairstow deserves white-ball return - Alastair Cook

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Jonny Bairstow has earned the right to take his brilliant Test match batting back into white-ball cricket as England prepare to switch formats against Sri Lanka.

He will do so with his confidence at an all-time high and on the back of praise from lofty quarters, including Test captain Alastair Cook - who passes the reins to Eoin Morgan following England's 2-0 Investec series victory.

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Cook's Test specialists were denied by rain on the final day at Lord's from pressing for a 3-0 whitewash over Sri Lanka.

But in the white-ball squads published immediately after the stalemate was confirmed, seven of his series-winners are in the frame for five one-day internationals against the same opponents - and two stay on for the concluding Twenty20.

Bairstow, who hit 387 runs at an average of 129 and took 19 catches as wicketkeeper, is one of the ever-presents.

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England have rewarded the 26-year-old with the return he coveted to both limited-overs squads.

The 14-strong ODI list is otherwise largely as predicted - still without Stuart Broad - while 13 for the Twenty20 include uncapped Tymal Mills' raw left-arm pace.

It fell to Cook to reflect on England's Test success, and specifically the part played by Bairstow - whose batting he likens to that of three-time Ashes-winner Matt Prior.

Bairstow narrowly pipped James Anderson - 21 wickets at a remarkable 10.80 - as England's man-of-the-series, and Cook said: "It's a brilliant achievement.

"It's great to have an attacking batsman coming in and taking it to the opposition.

"He's very similar to Matt Prior ... when he was at his best, we could often be 100 for five and he'd change the momentum.

"It's great to see someone who works so hard at his game getting his rewards."

As well as the catches he did take, one or two got away from Bairstow - and his captain acknowledges, with other contenders such as white-ball incumbent Jos Buttler, that continued consideration will be given to picking the Yorkshireman as a specialist batsman.

"There is always that thought, with a guy who scores that many runs," added Cook.

"Jonny is enjoying both roles. He knows how hard he has to work at his keeping - that is a conversation we do have.

"He knows a couple of chances have gone down, but you don't become a world-class wicketkeeper overnight.

"He is certainly heading in the right direction."

England were frustrated after only 12.2 overs were possible between the downpours at HQ, and they were therefore robbed of a chance to bowl Sri Lanka out.

But after the tourists finished on 78 for one, in pursuit of a ground-record 362, Cook's opposite number Angelo Mathews also voiced regret at the poor weather.

"It was a sporting declaration by Alastair," he said.

"We were going to go for it. We would rather lose a game trying to win it.

"But the weather intervened. It would have been an interesting chase, and a result was possible either way."

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Jonny Bairstow

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