Brilliant Buttler fires England to ‘best performance’ under Morgan
The England captain enjoyed a series-clinching win in Sydney.
Eoin Morgan hailed Jos Buttler’s role in the series-clinching victory over Australia and declared England’s performance the best of his captaincy.
Buttler was the star attraction with a middle-order masterclass of 100 not out in 83 balls but Morgan was delighted with the entire tenor of his team’s 16-run success.
Having initially struggled on a tricky SCG surface England held their nerve to post 302 for six, Chris Woakes’ unbeaten 53 providing a brilliant foil for Buttler as the pair piled on 102 in the last 10 overs.
They then overcame an injury to Liam Plunkett which deprived them of a key bowler and left Joe Root filling in for almost nine overs.
“I’m so proud of everyone in the team,” said Morgan, whose side claimed a 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
“It was, I think, our best performance as a group to date, definitely throughout the last two years.
“Throughout the game there were a lot of questions asked of us. It was a bit of a cat fight for quite a stage and Jos anchored the innings until about the 40th over and then really did pull the trigger.
“To have a guy with his capabilities and talent in our team, we are very privileged. We have seen him do that before but against one of the best sides in the world it is great to watch. It was a huge contribution.”
Plunkett will not return tonight. He will be assessed tomorrow on the extent of the injury.— England Cricket (@englandcricket) January 21, 2018
Morgan’s leadership was tested when Plunkett left the field with a hamstring problem having bowled just eight balls, but he found a willing stand-in in Root and saw Woakes and Mark Wood shoulder the seam burden manfully.
“Liam going down (meant) somebody else stepping up,” he said.
“As a group, bowling unit and fielding unit, we did give a lot more than we normally do.”
Buttler echoed his skipper’s enthusiasm and admitted his partnership with Woakes took England well beyond their most optimistic total.
“It was very special. One of the best wins we’ve ever had,” he said.
“We were thinking 270 or 280. Jonny Bairstow came back into the dressing room after he got out and said that 270 would be a really competitive score, so we were just trying to work towards that and give ourselves three overs to really take it on.
“Woakesy is playing so well at the minute, he probably went earlier than I did and played some fantastic shots. As a side that is how we want to play so we can’t have any fear. We’ve talked about doing that and we had to stay true to it.”
England have a rest day on Monday, when Plunkett’s fitness will be assessed, before minds turn to Adelaide, Perth and a possible whitewash.
Asked if the side would be allowed to toast their success after inheriting a midnight curfew from the Test leg of the tour, Morgan added: “We’ll get together as a group and if the families were here they would join us.
“We’re quite a tight unit and we’ll have a celebration.”