The current England limited-overs outfit always steps out with the agenda of scoring big runs but that might not be the case in Sri Lanka.
However, Sri Lanka have been winless in their last nine home series and are coming directly of disappointment at the 2018 Asia Cup. In their last home series, Sri Lanka suffered a 2-3 defeat at the hands of South Africa in the five-match ODI series.
“If you look at the pitches for South Africa they looked like good cricket pitches,” said Bairstow in Colombo. “Whether they change their tactics and produce pitches that are slightly different for us ... so be it. We've got to prepare like that's the case. Yes, we'd like to play on good pitches and yes, we'd like to have high-scoring games, but we're prepared to guts it out and grit it out if needed.”
“Both teams have to bat and bowl on them, whether it's batting first or bowling first, under lights or through the day. We've experienced these challenges before in India and Bangladesh and come out on top, so we're confident going into the series. We like to think the majority of our players have experienced conditions around the world.”
Bairstow has played a key role in England's resurgence in the white-ball cricket and will have to do the same in the 2019 World Cup. The 29-year-old was happy with the progress he and his team has made and wants to keep moving forward.
“It's great that it's gone so well but you want to keep it going in the right direction,” said Bairstow of his role as a big-hitting opening batsman in 50-over cricket. “I'm happy with my game, but you want to keep improving, moving forward, pushing yourself. This is a great opportunity to do that.
"It is going to be tough, we know that. It’ll be mentally tough, physically tough … it’s an exciting year, the next 12 months. I think we’ll find out a heck of a lot about each of us individually, each of us within a team, and that’s the great thing and exciting thing to keep driving us forward."
Bairstow is England's all-format player and was in action for his country for 91 matches across all formats in the last 12 months. It took Bairstow some time to prove to the team management that he can represent England in all facets of the game, so his enthusiasm is understandable.
"That statistic is a good thing because it means that people want you to be part of their team," said Bairstow. "It also means you’re in good condition physically and mentally because if you weren’t I’m not sure you’d get through all those games. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a short career when you’re playing for England and you have to relish every single bit of it. To be part of squads and teams makes me very lucky.
"I always wanted to be a consistent presence in all three formats so to play for England every three and a half days for a year is not too bad. Yes, it can be very mentally challenging if things aren’t necessarily going your way because then you’ve got external pressures as well. And physically you’ve got to get up for it every day because keeping wicket and batting does take it out of you.
"People say to me ‘is it a bad thing that you’re in the field rather than keeping in one-day cricket’ but it’s not because it keeps you fresh and it’s the same with Jos (Buttler) in the Tests."
First Published: October 5, 2018, 11:35 AM IST