Jos Buttler underlines Test class with England rescue act before bowlers take over

England’s Jos Buttler hooks a six during the fifth Test between England and India at the Oval. (AP)
Updated 08 September 2018
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Jos Buttler underlines Test class with England rescue act before bowlers take over

LONDON: Jos Buttler says he has found a “nice balance and good mentality” after he offered further proof of his progress in Test cricket with a third fifty in four innings.
Celebrating his 28th birthday in style on Saturday, Buttler top-scored with 89 to take England to a competitive total of 332 all out in their first innings of the fifth Test against India at the Oval, having come in when they were reeling at 171 for five.
The big-hitting batsman was pigeon-holed as a limited-overs specialist until national selector Ed Smith took a punt, recalling him to the Test side this season after 18 months out of the team.
Buttler has not looked back since, becoming one of the most vital cogs in the England batting line-up.
In the two-Test series against Pakistan earlier this season, he was top-scorer for England with an average of more than 80.
He now has 349 runs in the current series against the top-ranked Indians — nearly 100 runs ahead of the next-highest England run-scorer, Sam Curran.
Buttler batted carefully against some searching seam bowling on Friday but stepped up the tempo on the second day under cloudy skies, smashing two sixes.
So what has changed for the Lancashire man?
“I have found a nice balance and good mentality about the game,” said Buttler, adding that his success had given him confidence.
“I’ve got a good perspective and have been practicing really well. I think that’s been a good thing and the consistency and preparation and probably the hunger to turn up and try hard again and continue good form.
“I think that’s been a big thing for me this year in all formats of the game.”
Buttler, playing his 25th Test, said he would describe his return more as a “second or third coming” than a breakthrough.
“I’ve just enjoyed my cricket. I spoke about the first time I got recalled at Lord’s (against Pakistan in May).
“It was an unbelievable opportunity to come back in and play and the fire was really burning for Test cricket.”
And he said he was comfortable with the different demands of Test cricket, willing to graft and then able to change gear when required.
“People have said to me you should play the way you do in white-ball (limited-overs) cricket in red-ball cricket,” he said.
“I’ve never really seen it like that. I’ve never felt comfortable just to go out and play shots.”
Former England captain Michael Atherton said Buttler had been the man of the summer for the home side.
“Buttler, recalled at the start of the summer, has been England’s man of the summer — he’s played beautifully throughout,” he said.
“He really puts the fear into the opposition because of how destructive he can be with the tail.”
Smith, the national selector, recalled the talented batsman to Test duty in his first squad announcement as England’s new national selector in May, to face Pakistan.
He was adamant Buttler would prove to be the “right player at the right time” and bring unique qualities to the team.
Buttler, who kept wicket for England in the fourth Test against India in Southampton, holds the record for England’s fastest-ever one-day hundred — off 46 balls against Pakistan in 2015.
He has also made a huge splash in Twenty20 cricket, becoming one of the biggest stars in the cash-rich Indian Premier League.
But over the English summer Buttler has emphatically demonstrated he belongs in the longest form of the game.
He has been the top scorer in four out of England’s past five innings and scored his first Test century in the third match of the current series in Nottingham.
In Buttler, England have the ideal man to anchor the lower middle order. Now their challenge is to find some consistency at the top.


Manchester City have the best players in the world and are ready to win Champions League, claims Mikel Arteta

Updated 7 min 10 sec ago
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Manchester City have the best players in the world and are ready to win Champions League, claims Mikel Arteta

  • Abu Dhabi-owned club start as favorites to land the biggest trophy in club football.
  • City face Group F rivals Lyon home in opener.

LONDON: Manchester City have the best players in the world and have what it takes to win this season’s Champions League. That is according to the Abu Dhabi-owed club’s assistant manager Mikel Arteta ahead of their Group F opener against Lyon.
Having won the Premier League at a stroll — setting many records along the way — City are one of the favorites once again to land the most sought-after trophy in club football. Last season they fell in the last-eight, losing to eventual finalists Liverpool.
But with an extra year’s experience under their belts and Arteta is confident the side can go all the way this time.
“For me we have the best players in the world at this club,” the Spaniard said. “I see them every day in training and I wouldn’t change them for any others because they are fantastic. The hunger in the group is incredible and that’s not something everyone notices. People need to look inside the club — it’s not just about the money we have to spend.”
Arteta will be in charge in the dugout for Wednesday's clash against Lyon due to Pep Guardiola’s suspension for coming on to the pitch during the European defeat to Liverpool. But while he sure of his side’s class and ability to win the Champions League Arteta makes defending champions Real Madrid as favorites.
“It’s hard to make comparisons, we still have a very young squad,” the City assistant manager said. “It is a surprise to be made favorites when there is a team out there that has won the competition three times in a row. Even if they have lost Cristiano Ronaldo I would still make Real Madrid the main favorites because of their history and their experience but I do think the Champions League is going to be quite open this season. There isn’t that much between the top teams.”