Buttler Blitz Helps England Avoid Whitewash

Buttler Blitz Helps England Avoid Whitewash
Buttler Blitz Helps England Avoid Whitewash
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England 287-6 (Bell 82, Buttler 47no) beat
New Zealand 253 (Taylor 71) by 34 runs
Third One-Day International, Trent Bridge
Report by Daniel Grummitt

A brilliant innings from Jos Buttler late on in the England innings helped them avoid a series whitewash against New Zealand at Trent Bridge.

England had been going nowhere at the halfway point in their innings at 97 for two and had only 211 with just four overs to go. However, Eoin Morgan and, in particular, Buttler launched an assault of ferocious proportions. They plundered 76 runs from the final four overs and finished up on 287 for six with Buttler unbeaten on 49 off just 16 balls.

Morgan began things by depositing the previously parsimonious Mitchell McClenaghan for six in the 47th over, but Buttler took over from then on and kept up the pressure following Morgan’s departure, run out for 49. 

In the 48th over, bowled by Kyle Mills, Buttler showcased all of his party tricks. The first ball was heaved over mid-wicket, prompting New Zealand to bring in their fine-leg, with the second then ramped over that fielder. The third was a full toss clipped off his pads again for four, while the fourth was the most spectacular.

Moving across his stumps and eyeing up another ramp shot, he was good enough to adjust to the ball pitched wider, turn his bat round, and scoop the ball over short third-man. He missed the fifth ball of the over, but normal service was then resumed as he flat-batted it down the ground. In all, 22 runs had come from the over, bettering his previous ODI best of 21 in just six balls, and he had set the wheels in motion for what was to come.

McClenaghan had three goes at successfully delivering a free hit after over-stepping in the penultimate over and, when he did so, was rewarded by the sight of Buttler fortuitously edging for four. 20 runs came off that over, with Buttler then helping plunder 22 off the last. He needed five off the final ball to break Sanath Jayasuriya’s record of 17 balls for the fastest fifty in ODI cricket but fell about five yards short.

Buttler and Morgan’s late aggression had been necessitated by another England go-slow at the top of the order. They lost Alastair Cook in the third over for a duck and scored just six runs off their first six overs. Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root then attempted to rebuild, but all struggled to score at the rate required.

McClenaghan had bowled an exceptional first spell and had figures of three for 22 off eight overs before the late carnage. Ian Bell made 82 off 96 balls and looked the most fluent of England’s early batsmen but when he fell to make it 154 for four in the 35th over, England could have imploded. Thanks initially to Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan, who added 57 for the fifth-wicket, but mainly Buttler, they very much didn’t.

Their opening bowlers still struggled early on as Luke Ronchi and Martin Guptill got them off to a flying start despite Stuart Broad and Steven Finn returning from injuries.

When Guptill was finally dismissed for the first time in the series by a peach of a ball, spinning through the gate, from James Tredwell, they already had 70 on the board and were only in the 10th over. However, New Zealand kept losing wickets throughout their innings, despite keeping up with the required run rate, and left Ross Taylor and the lower order with too much to do.

Tredwell again proved himself to be a more than adequate replacement for the rested Graeme Swann. He added the wickets of Brendon McCullum and Taylor to that of Guptill and effectively ended the contest by winning his mini-duel with Taylor. After being hit for six twice over mid-wicket, it was third time lucky for the Kent captain as a toppling Steven Finn lobbed the ball to Tim Bresnan before completing his stumble over the boundary rope.

The wicket of McClenaghan four overs later wrapped up the win for England by 34 runs. They have earned a morale-boosting victory ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy, which starts with a Group B match between India and South Africa tomorrow, while New Zealand have well and truly established themselves as serious contenders for the tournament with an away series win.

© Cricket World 2013

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