Bairstow can once more expect to bat at number six at Lord's next week, inheriting the final specialist position - as he did in England's last Test in Auckland - because of Kevin Pietersen's absence through injury.
Bairstow (45no) shared an unbroken stand of 81 with Joe Root (143no) as the Yorkshire and England pair took their team to 315 for four in reply to New Zealand's 285 all out.
Root augmented his latest hundred to help carry the Lions into handsome credit in a match which is nonetheless highly likely to end in a draw at some point, after losing more than 100 overs to rain so far.
The Lions captain remained the cornerstone, in a session interrupted by one shower and restricted to 22 overs.
Nightwatchman Chris Wright lasted four of those, edging Trent Boult to slip when the left-armer found just enough movement slanted across him.
Then James Taylor, as expected left out of the England reckoning when the 12-man squad for Lord's was announced, could find no consolation out in the middle.
He mustered two runs on what was once his home ground before falling to a shot he would doubtless prefer to forget quickly, sparring on the back foot and edging behind off Boult.
While Taylor must consider how to convince the selectors he is worth another chance at some point, Bairstow can be relieved he is still top of the contenders as long as Pietersen remains on the sidelines - at the start of this Ashes summer - with his bruised knee.
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