England wicket-keeper batsman –Jonny Bairstow heaped praise on James Anderson and Mason Crane for their fantastic bowling on Day 3 of the final Ashes Test at the SCG on Saturday (January 6).
Bairstow admitted that it had been a "pretty tough day" for England, as they have taken just two wickets and the hosts Australia finished on 479-4, leading by 133 runs.
Crane dismissed Usman Khawaja for his maiden Test wicket and then caught Steve Smith for 83, looking England's most threatening bowler. Bairstow described Crane and Anderson, who bowled a combined 76 overs, as "outstanding".
Bairstow told BBC, “I thought he bowled nicely. He's not played a huge amount of first-class cricket so to come into an Ashes Test match and bowl 35  overs as a 20-year-old leg-spinner, it stands us in good stead moving forward. He'll have taken a lot from that and he'll have taken a lot of confidence. I was really pleased to be part of his first wicket. The confidence he showed to bowl the googly, the slider and the confidence towards the end to change his lines and lengths from both around or over the wicket, we can take a lot from that. As I said last time I spoke to the media, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The skills of a leg-spinner are going to be progressive but as a start, I thought it was impressive.”
Commenting on Anderson, England keeper said, “He's bowled fantastically well. There were a lot of people that had opinions as to how he would go [before the tour] and to respond in that way, the quality and class with the ball even when it's not been swinging, to use the skills to remove Warner yesterday, to use the cutter, is a huge testament to the guy.”
Speaking about their spirit and approach in Sydney, he said, “It was a pretty tough day. We are 150 overs into the innings so there's going to be a few tired bodies out there. It's not the first time and it won't be the last time. The way the guys toiled out there was really impressive and it was really good for us to see. I don't think there's too much raising of spirits [needed]. We are in a good place. The games haven't necessarily gone well but there's been no in-fighting in the squad. There have been a few things thrown at us but at no point has there been any fractures within the group and that's a huge positive.”
On being asked does Bairstow have any regrets about not opting to send out Crane as a night watchman?, the keeper signed off by saying, “No, absolutely not. It was my choice to go in. I've faced the new ball many times. You've got a nightwatchman padded up who hadn't faced [Mitchell] Starc, hadn't faced [Josh] Hazlewood ever in his career. I had 18 balls to survive. I'm backing myself to face them. As a batsman in the top six, you're going out there to bat. Live by the sword, die by the sword.”