England skipper Eoin Morgan hailed Jonny Bairstow as a shining example of his side’s culture after his unbeaten half-century accelerated the demolition of South Africa in Wednesday'sTwenty20 international at Southampton.
Bairstow struck 60 not out off 35 balls as England chased down their victory target of 143 for the loss of only one wicket and with more than five overs to spare.
The hosts had earlier restricted South Africa to 143-3 from their 20-over allocation irrespective of a 110-run stand between Proteas skipper AB de Villiers and Farhaan Behardien.
Despite not being a regular, Bairstow has been in blistering white-ball form and has passed 50 in four of his previous six limited-overs appearances for his country.
“He prides himself on scoring runs, prides himself on it,” said Morgan, whose side take a 1-0 lead into the second match of the three-game series at Taunton tomorrow.
“He is so hungry to do well and creating that mentality within the group is very difficult because chances for him have been very few and far between.
“But he never lets us down. When he is sitting behind someone like Joe Root, who is not an easy player to knock out of the side, he seems to bang on the door every time.”
England handed an international debut to 20-year-old leg-spinner Mason Crane and he and Liam Dawson – playing on their home ground – strangled the South African innings, conceding a combined 41 runs from eight overs.
“I thought they contained AB and Behardien really well and never let them get away, which is a huge credit,” added Morgan. “Two inexperienced guys managed to tie down one of the best players of our generation. Full credit to them.”