LEEDS, ENGLAND - MAY 09: Jonathan Bairstow and Joe Root of Yorkshire leave the field for tea during day two of the Specsavers County Championship Division One match between Yorkshire and Surrey on May 09, 2016 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Returning English wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow doffed his cap to his former captain Joe Root after day one of the 2023 Ashes series, claiming the reinvented century-maker still has decades of summers left up his sleeves.

Making his comeback from a horrific leg injury sustained on the golf course of all places, Bairstow played his hand at the crease, notching a run-a-ball 78 to steady the hosts after coming in at 5/176.

And though Bairstow would pick up where he left off, sending 12 balls to the boundary in his 102-minute stay in the centre of Edgbaston, the redheaded Yorkshireman would watch on as his county teammate took the limelight, with Root notching his first Ashes century since 2015.

While into his thirties, Root showed the old enemy that old Yorkie terriers can learn new tricks, dispatching both Scott Boland and Australian captain Pat Cummins for reverse-swept sixes along the way to an unbeaten 118 from 152 balls faced.

This free-wheeling, unorthodox version of Root will have felt unfamiliar to Cummins and company, having watched on as the former skipper battled manfully, but conventionally in Australian conditions throughout the 2021/22 Ashes, averaging 32.2 in what would have been a whitewash for the hosts had the not been let down by Sydney rain.

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 16: Joe Root of England walks off after being bowled out by Scott Boland of Australia during day three of the Fifth Test in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Blundstone Arena on January 16, 2022 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

On an afternoon where expectation, along with few clouds, were in the Birmingham air, Root and Bairstow came together for a 121-run stand, allowing Stokes to pull the pin at the completion of the 78th over with a total of 8/393 on the board.

The swift declaration -  the quickest in Ashes history - now marks the fourth occasion Stokes has opted to end an English first innings inside the first 90 overs.

Speaking after stumps, Bairstow was effusive in his lauding of Root, light-heartedly professing while Stokes may have been happy to call time on England's innings, Root, 32, still had many more afternoons to enjoy at the crease.

"It's brilliant, it's really special," he offered.

"As someone who's known him for such a long time, been through thick and thin, ups and downs and experienced lots of different things together, it is an absolute pleasure to be out there and at the other end with him.

"He is a fantastic player, he's a fantastic talent and he's probably got another 10 years in the game.

"He'll be after 25,000 runs or something stupid, when he's 55 and he's still playing."

Although England's marked turn in fortunes since head coach Brendon McCullum took the reins and the pressure off has been championed ad neuseam, Bairstow opted to look back in an effort to emboss Root's latest Ashes milestone.

"He's been fortunate to captain his country, and held his head so high to do so during possibly the hardest period of time we've had to deal with through COVID, and the way he conducted himself through that, he's really reaping the rewards coming out the other end of it," Bairstow added.

"That wasn't an easy time, and you see the smile on his face, you see the cheeky little grin he has and when his legs bop around, there are some special traits he's got and it's hopefully the first of a few this summer."

Australia will resume their first innings on day two at none-for-14, with openers David Warner and Usman Khawaja seeing off a tricky four-over stint before the covers were pulled on Friday.

With Stokes opting to open with Ollie Robinson and Warner-killer Stuart Broad, veteran seamer Jimmy Anderson is yet to earn his opportunity with the lacquered Dukes ball.