A 5-0 hammering came England’s way the last time they toured Australia, but wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow is adamant unfinished business is a thing of the past as they prepare to go Down Under this winter.

The Yorkshireman was an unfortunate witness to the mauling of 2013-14, replacing Matt Prior for the fourth and fifth Tests in a series that had already been well and truly lost.

That may be enough to leave any player permanently scarred, but Bairstow is one to think differently.

Loading article content

Since then the 27-year-old has become the regular gloveman, while Joe Root – dropped for the final Test – is now revelling in the honour of captaincy as the first name on the team sheet.

Bairstow is confident this transition can only benefit England, keen to reflect on the memories of two series victories as opposed to the whitewash humbling.

“What happened last time wasn’t a very good tour for us, so we want to go out there and apply ourselves and our skills, hopefully what we’ve learnt over the past few years,” he said.

“There’s no unfinished business, we’ve got a very different group of players to the ones who went out there and had the disappointment.

“Yes, we’ve got guys who have lost out there, but we’ve also got those who have won in Australia and it’s going to be a fantastic series, but there isn’t a point to prove from the team in that.

“I’ve been fortunate to win two in England, but also lost one in Australia, so there are definitely mixed memories, but it’s a great place to go and tour.

“To get the opportunity to go and apply your trade over there again is something that is really exciting.”

Few have revelled in as much progression since that fateful series as Bairstow, the undoubted first-choice behind the stumps.

The Yorkshire wicketkeeper further stoked those accolades after an impressive summer, pleased with his work against South Africa and the West Indies both with bat and gloves in hand.

But with the likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Foakes waiting in the wings, Bairstow knows as much as anyone how much laurels cannot be rested on.

After all, the early parts of his Test career were very much a bit-part role, one he is not keen to return to any time soon.

“I’m really pleased with my keeping, that was a particular highlight for me over the summer, I would have liked a few more runs but you can’t have it all,” he added.

“That’s the balance of doing both, the way I started the summer against South Africa was positive and I only got three chances against the West Indies, but overall I can be very pleased.

“But that’s not to say I’ll be taking a back seat with my keeping, I think it went well over the summer in the Tests, and like with anything, that is a part of your game where you can be in form.”

With England at the Emirates Riverside today, Bairstow and Co get a chance to showcase their one-day skills in the North-East.

However, they will be without Ben Stokes, the Durham all-rounder controversially rested for the shortest format of the game.

In the Test arena this summer, Stokes has excelled.

From scoring a century in one Test, to recording his best bowling figures in the next, it’s little surprise ‘freakish’ is the only way Bairstow can describe Stokes.

The wicketkeeper batsman is hoping Stokes can be released to run free when it comes to facing the Australians.

With talent unquestionable, the Durham all-rounder finally let the numbers do the talking against the West Indies, averaging 57 with the bat and a miserly 22 with the ball in hand.

Couple that with a century against a formidable South African bowling unit, and it’s little surprise the debate of where he stands among England all-rounders has him near the top.

Bairstow is certainly among those lauding the 26-year-old, hopeful his impact can keep taking England to new heights in the Test arena.

“I don’t think his ability and skill has ever been anything that people can question,” said Bairstow.

“We’ve seen him play some freakish innings, bowl some very good spells, so long may that continue with him.

“With Ben, it’s about letting him go and letting him play the way he does.

“Ben I vs a match-winner, we’ve got a few of them in the team and that’s so important, we’ve shown that if one of them doesn’t do it then we’ve got others in the team and that’s a big part of our game.”

Having gone from a level of shoe-horning all-rounders in, England have now become inundated with them, with Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes all viable contenders late down the order.

Bairstow’s increased responsibility with bat and gloves has only increased that, with the main problems coming at the top of the batting unit.

Questions remain over who will sit alongside Alastair Cook and Joe Root in the top five in Australia, though the Yorkshireman believes the middle-order has an equally-important role as those opening up for the side.

“We’re very lucky to have someone like Ben in that middle order but it’s not just him, we’ve got Moeen and Chris and Toby (Roland-Jones) who are all all-rounders, so having two strings to the bow of many players is something quite important to us as a team moving forward,” he added.

“As long as we can keep developing all aspects of our game in that middle order, who knows how far we can go with it.

“It’s an encouraging place for us to be where we can have people change a day and a session, and Ben is someone who can do that with bat or ball.”

Jonny Bairstow was speaking on behalf of Royal London, proud sponsors of One Day cricket, ahead of the upcoming ODI Series v West Indies.