Jonny Bairstow sees positives in chaotic World Cup warm-up defeat

Jonny Bairstow during England's World Cup warm-up against Australia Getty Images

If something can be taken from a match where the scoreline meant little but which resulted in a possible spanner in the works for the World Cup favourites, England's Jonny Bairstow did a good job of finding it.

Speaking after a 12-run defeat at the hands of Australia in Saturday's warm-up match at Southampton - in which Mark Wood, Jofra Archer and Liam Dawson all suffered injury scares - Bairstow could see the value in his side having to perform no matter what is thrown at them, given that the World Cup is just days away and anything could happen during the tournament.

Asked if the result meant anything, Bairstow said: "I don't think so. We had people missing, they had people missing so you try and get out of it what you can. As a result you can't look at it as a defeat with 12 playing and 11 batting. You take it for what it is. It felt like a friendly. The intensity was still there but naturally there was a slight drop.

"I think we got enough out of it. A lot of different things happened. In many ways, it was very good because it at least gave us clarity of what we can do when things don't go according to plan. That is the way we have to look at it because we could have things go wrong in a World Cup game ... we just hopefully get through these without anymore injuries."

England went into the match having already suffered a setback, with captain Eoin Morgan out nursing a minor finger fracture. And Joe Root came in as a late substitute at the Ageas Bowl amid England's injury woes after expecting to have the day off as he mourned the death last week of one of his grandparents.

Wood is the most serious injury concern as he awaits the results of scans on his left foot. Dawson's cut finger is not expected to cause him major problems, while Archer returned to bat briefly in England's innings on Saturday before being run out for 1.

Potential costs aside, there are, of course, other benefits to playing warm-up matches, like building the buzz around the World Cup and giving fans who were unable to buy tickets to the main event a chance to see their teams in action. Meanwhile, England's final warm-up at The Oval on Monday will showcase Afghanistan - a team with a smaller cricketing profile and which plays fewer fixtures - on a big stage for their players and supporters alike.

But it is easy to see how a team like England, which already has a packed schedule year-round, might just want the real deal to start, now. It was a senitment expressed by more than one of Morgan's counterparts at the pre-tournament captain's call last week.

"We want the World Cup to start as soon as possible, the guys are ready," Bairstow said. "You have to get what you can out of them [warm-up matches]. It is a good chance to face the opposition with most of our guys having not faced Afghanistan before. That is something we can get out of the next game."

Bairstow "will pass on some personal knowledge" of Rashid Khan, with whom he is more familiar than many of his countrymen as a team-mate of the Afghanistan legspinner at Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

"We have not spoken about it yet but for me he is a very dangerous bowler," Bairstow said. "His wrist comes over that quickly, there is a reason why he is the No. 1 T20 bowler in the world. We need to negate that because he will be a big threat. He bowls quick, tries to hit the stumps. Try to play him as straight as possible will be key."