Bairstow had to make way, despite making 95 and 54 against South Africa at Lord’s, for the reintegrated Kevin Pietersen at the start of this tour.
Assuming the last-in-first-out basis pertains again, after Bell missed last week’s second-Test victory to fly home for the birth of his first child, Bairstow accepts he may be vulnerable once more.
While he could make only nine this time at the Wankhede Stadium, Bell — who did not quite make it home in time for the birth of Joseph William — nonetheless had the chance to adjust to fatherhood with his wife Chantal and first-born.
Both he and Bairstow were at nets yesterday morning at Eden Gardens.
Bairstow reported his middle-order rival in appropriately jovial mood, and ready to get back to his day job. “He’s absolutely delighted. It’s obviously a fantastic moment for him in his life,” said the young Yorkshireman. “We’re all really pleased for him, to have had the little one.”
Bell’s return has added to the feelgood factor as England battle back in this four-match series.
“It’s really good to get him back, and everyone’s smiling about having the little one,” added Bairstow.
“He seems very pleased to be back. The morale and confidence are obviously very high at the moment.”