“I’m happy with the way I’m playing up the order.” © AFP

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing up the order.” © AFP

Jonny Bairstow, who smacked a 59-ball 105 in the solitary One-Day International against Scotland at Grange Cricket Club in Edinburgh, became the first England batsman, and only the ninth overall, to score three consecutive hundreds in the 50-over format. His last two centuries (138 and 104) came in the final two ODIs in New Zealand where England went on to win the five-match series 3-2.

“To score three on the bounce is really pleasing considering 12 months ago people were questioning whether or not I should even be playing (ODIs),” said Bairstow. “So 12 months down the line, to score five hundreds in such a short space of time and three on the bounce, I’m pleased with where it’s gone.”

Despite Bairstow’s heroics, England, the world’s top-ranked ODI side, failed to chase down Scotland’s massive target of 372, losing by six runs. “It’s part and parcel of the game,” explained Bairstow. “You get to number one and people are going to want to beat you, but you want to be number one in the world.

“We set our stall out to be number one in the world and that’s where we are, whether we were number one in this game or not, Scotland would still be delighted to win, it’s not just because we are number one.”

Bairstow, who commenced his ODI journey in the middle-order, was promoted to the opening slot last year, to bat alongside Jason Roy. Since then, the Yorkshire-born cricketer hasn’t looked back. Bairstow averages 64.92 as an opener compared to his career average of 50.19. “I’m happy with the way I’m playing up the order,” said Bairstow.

“To be starting off up the top and creating those partnerships is pleasing and hopefully we can keep creating platforms for us to keep progressing as a team.”

England will now have to shift their focus to a new-look Australian side who will be without their key players. While Steven Smith, the former skipper, and David Warner, the former vice-captain, have been banned due to their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test against South Africa, the trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood have been ruled out due to injuries.

“It’s a completely different challenge and a completely different team that we will be playing,” pointed out Bairstow. “It’s a team that has a lot of new guys in, without Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins, Warner, Smith, so there are guys wanting to compete for places and we know just how dangerous that can be when people are pushing for a permanent place.”

The first of five ODIs will be played at the Kennington Oval in London on Wednesday (June 12).