PERTH: Jonny Bairstow made a triumphant return to Perth with a sparkling century before England collapsed with six late wickets to be dismissed for 403 at lunch on day two of the third Ashes Test against Australia on Friday.
Promoted up the order to six, wicketkeeper Bairstow (119) followed Dawid Malan (140) as the tourists’ second centurion of the series as the pair put on a record 237-run stand for England at the WACA.
Spinner Nathan Lyon broke the stand by having Malan caught for 140, triggering a collapse.
Mitchell Starc finished with 4-91 and Josh Hazlewood grabbed two late wickets as Australia’s bowlers took 6-35 after earlier being dominated by Malan and Bairstow on a steamy morning.
Tail-ender Stuart Broad smashed a six to drive England past 400, the first time the tourists had reached that mark in Australia since January 2011, but became Starc’s fourth victim when he miscued a hook to be caught for 12 and end the innings.
England had resumed on 305 for four, with Malan on 110 and Bairstow 75 not out, after Root won the toss and sent his team in to bat on day one.
Australia’s desperation for an early breakthrough showed with a poor review to try to remove Malan lbw off Starc, the technology showing the delivery tracking well down the leg-side.
It took Malan and Bairstow 27 balls to add to their overnight total, but they took to Australia’s relief bowlers with a gusto.
Bairstow greeted Pat Cummins’s first over by smashing the seamer for consecutive boundaries, and seam bowling all-rounder Mitchell Marsh came in for a similar hiding.
Bairstow’s first night in Perth after the squad’s arrival last month was a cause of embarrassment to the team after revelations that he had ‘head-butted’ Australia opener Cameron Bancroft by way of greeting at a local bar.
Having felt humiliated by the attention at the time, Bairstow was overjoyed after stroking a single off Marsh to bring up his fourth Test century.
He bounded down the pitch, leapt in the air and after ripping off his helmet, he nudged his forehead against the crest a few times, leaving his team mates in fits of laughter in the dressing room.
Having built a record partnership for England at the WACA, Bairstow and Malan appeared well set.
So it was a surprise when Malan miscued Lyon and was caught brilliantly at backward point by a leaping substitute fielder Peter Handscomb.
Four balls later, Cummins had Moeen Ali, moved down a spot in the order, caught by captain Steve Smith at first slip, with Chros Woakes then snaffled in the deep for eight soon after off Hazlewood.
Starc removed Bairstow’s middle stump in the following over, with Hazlewood removing tail-ender Craig Overton for two.