“Buttler’s success across formats is a testament to his versatility and ability to adapt. It’s not easy for any batsman to dominate all three formats the way Buttler did”
It was England’s bowling that won them the game at London after which, their batsmen fired with all cylinders in Cardiff to help their side beat Australia by 38 runs and gain a healthy 2-0 lead in the five-match series. England have a dominating batting line-up and their outing at Cardiff was just a testament to it. Riding on centuries from Jason Roy and stand-in skipper Jos Buttler, England posted a massive total of 342 for 8.
Buttler has been scaling newer heights in the recent times, his willow has been yielding brisk runs across formats and has done extremely well. After a firing exhibition for Rajasthan Royals in the recently concluded Indian Premier League, Buttler earned a call in the English Test side for the series against Pakistan. Probably, he was the first Englishman to sculpt a spot in the Test side on the back of his pristine T20 form.
Buttler dominated the best of the bowling attacks in the format of uncertainties – T20, and played a key role in reviving Rajasthan Royal’s fortunes. Many questions were raised on his selection in the Test squad, but Buttler silent his harshest critics with some emphatic performances under the pump. He scored 14 in the first innings and a tenacious 67 in the second at Lord’s, which England lost by a massive margin.
The onus of making a comeback was on England at Leeds and needed their batting to step up and deliver. Buttler stuck to his guns and top-scored at Leeds with an unbeaten 80. He deserved a century but didn’t get enough support from the other end. England won that game by an innings and 55 runs as Buttler was adjudged player of the match.
After two successful campaigns in different formats, it was time for Buttler to replicate his magical performance in ODIs against Australia. He didn’t enjoy a great run at London, having been dismissed for 9. At Cardiff, he was appointed as the stand-in skipper in the absence of Eoin Morgan. The pressure was on him to deliver and lead the side with an example.
Buttler batted at five, and walked in to bat when England were well-placed at 179 for 3. England were scoring runs at a brisk pace and Buttler had to keep up with it. He didn’t waste any time and got the ball rolling from the outset at Cardiff. With the help of eight boundaries and two sixes, Buttler smashed an unbeaten 91 off 70 deliveries and help his side post a challenging total. Also, he got all this runs at a higher batting position, which speaks about his versatility.
Buttler’s innings was a fine example of calculated aggression and astute batsmanship. He stitched two fifty-plus stands, first with Jason Roy and then with Sam Billings. Australian bowlers ran out of options when Buttler went berserk and starting scoring runs across the ground. His innings provided the much-needed impetus to England’s innings. English bowlers did a commendable job and despite Shaun Marsh’s brilliant hundred, Australia fell short by 38 runs.
Buttler’s impact in shorter formats has been huge for England. He has helped his side rejuvenate and has been one of the pillars of strength since the last World Cup. He holds the record of fastest ODI ton for England and till early 2016, he had three England’s fastest ODI hundreds under his belt, such has been the impact of Buttler. His career graph is only on a rise and has managed to deliver under pressure across formats.
Buttler believes England have many areas to work on, he was quoted in a report by Cricbuzz saying, “I think we’ve still got areas we can improve on to polish up and make us more rounded performers. As we always strive to get better, we actually got into a position where we probably could have got a few more, and I thought Australia bowled pretty well at the end.”
Buttler’s success across formats is a testament to his versatility and ability to adapt. It’s not easy for any batsman to dominate all three formats the way Buttler did. Every side has that X-factor player in the line-up, for England, it is undoubtedly Buttler. His potential is limitless and one can expect Buttler to wreak havoc in the time to come. He will have a key role to play for England in the upcoming World Cup. As of now, it will be interesting to see how many runs Buttler garners in the series with him being in red-hot form.