Bairstow To Replace Pietersen In Decisive Auckland Test
Yorkshire batsman Jonathan Bairstow will make his sixth Test appearance on Friday (22nd March) after England captain Alastair Cook confirmed he would play in place of the injured Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen has been ruled out due to the nagging knee injury that has been hampering him all tour and England have opted to play Bairstow, a specialist batsman instead of being tempted to play an extra bowler in Chris Woakes, Graham Onions or James Tredwell.
Pietersen will return to England where he faces further scans after initially being diagnosed with bone bruising and potential cartilage damage on his right kneecap.
He will be sidelined for up to two months and as a result has been withdrawn from the Indian Premier League, where he is contracted to the Delhi Daredevils.
"Obviously, it’s a blow when you lose one of your senior batters and a guy who’s performed consistently well for us over a number of years" Cook said in his pre-match press conference.
"He's a great player, and will be missed. But it gives an opportunity to Jonny Bairstow coming in," he added.
Bairstow, 22, made his debut against the West Indies at Lord's in 2012, playing all three matches in the series, one against South Africa and then one in India late last year.
He struggled against the West Indies before hitting 95 and 54 against South Africa at Lord's, where he also replaced Pietersen, albeit for very different reasons, after Pietersen had been dropped for a breach of discipline.
The three-match series in New Zealand is level at 0-0 after both drawn matches in Dunedin and Wellington were heavily affected by rain.
© Cricket World 2013
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