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Bairstow misses out on Test century
Jonny Bairstow fell just short of his maiden Test hundred on the third morning of England's must-win Lord's battle against South Africa.
Bairstow (95), playing in this match only because England dropped Kevin Pietersen in controversial circumstances, resumed today on 72 after he and Ian Bell had dug the hosts out of trouble yesterday afternoon.
There was still work to do for England, though - especially after Bairstow got stuck in the 90s and was then bowled playing across the line at Morne Morkel (three for 72). On 277 for eight at lunch, England were struggling to reach first-innings parity - or a precious lead - in this final Investec Test.
Only victory here will do, if they are to share the series and stop South Africa taking away their world number one Test status. Every run was therefore vital, and the morale boost of a feelgood hundred from Bairstow would have been a big help too.
The young Yorkshireman was granted an unexpectedly early second chance at the highest level this summer thanks to Pietersen's omission. He failed to establish himself in three matches against the West Indies, and was left out at the start of this heavyweight series.
But after England chose to drop Pietersen, over his initial failure to apologise for text messages sent to opposition players during the drawn Headingley Test, Bairstow was still first in line to replace him.
The 22-year-old rose to the challenge, and dealt with considerable pressure too, after coming to the crease yesterday at 54 for four in reply to 309 all out. He made no mistake this morning either until, with three figures in sight, he lost his way.
He and sixth-wicket partner Matt Prior saw England through the first eight overs, to the second new ball - but no further. Prior edged a drive to slip, to Vernon Philander's very first delivery after the new ball was taken.
Philander continued to find exaggerated swing against Stuart Broad, but both the new batsman and Bairstow found their scoring opportunities to take England ever closer to South Africa's total - until the left-hander fended a ball from Dale Steyn (three for 76) straight to short-leg.
Graeme Swann also soon located the boundary. But with Bairstow gone, his 196-ball stay including 15 on 95, England were still short of their initial target.