While Bairstow has managed only 102 runs in six innings, Root’s bat has produced a mere 77 runs from the three Tests so far, begging questions on the duo’s place in the side for the fourth Test.
Joe Root can still remember his sense of disappointment when he first came to watch a Test at Headingley in the hope of seeing Sachin Tendulkar bat only for the India great to spend most of the day in the dressing room.
Now there are likely to be plenty of young fans who are just as upset if they don’t see much of England captain Root at the crease when the star batsman leads his side in the second Test against the West Indies at his Yorkshire home ground on Friday.
But if England are in a similar position to the one he saw India establish some 15 years ago, they will be on their way to going an unassailable 2-0 up in a three-match series against a West Indies side thrashed by an innings and 209 runs in last week’s first Test at Edgbaston.
“I remember coming here as a young boy watching Yorkshire in a Roses game,” said 26-year-old Root.
“Obviously I wanted to be a part of it straight away. The first Test match (I saw at Headingley) was against India.
“I think they only lost one wicket all day, India. I was desperate for Sachin to get in.”
In 2002, India piled up a mammoth 628 for eight declared, with Tendulkar — Yorkshire’s first overseas player — making 193 in an innings where both Rahul Dravid (148) and Sourav Ganguly (128) also scored hundreds.
Unfortunately for those wanting to see the ‘Little Master’ bat on the first day, Tendulkar had barely got going on 18 not out at stumps.
India went on to win the match by an innings and 46 runs.
“I’ve watched a lot of cricket over the years here and now to get the opportunity to lead England here is obviously very special,” said Root.
“To be at home, a place where I’ve played a lot of cricket, grown up learning the game, watching the game, it means a lot,” added Root, born and brought up in the nearby city of Sheffield.
Friday’s match will be the first time Root, who took over as Test captain for the recent 3-1 home series win over South Africa, has led England out at his Yorkshire home ground.
But he was confident there would be no extra nervous tension involved.
“I don’t think so. I’m sure there will be (friends and family coming along), there’s a strong contingent coming up from Sheffield so it should be a good week.”
Root is now just one short of South Africa star AB de Villiers’s all-time record of scoring fifties in 12 successive Tests.
But since making the first of his 13 Test centuries at Headingley, against New Zealand in 2013, his six subsequent Test innings in Leeds have yielded a mere 73 runs at an average of just over 12.
“A bit of a dry patch after that (hundred),” Root admitted.
“This is just a great chance to come home and hopefully go out and make a big score.”