Buttler buzzing after steering England to win which secures whitewash
Buttler experienced a moment of “pure elation” when he hit the winning runs to clinch England’s 5-0 whitewash
Jos Buttler was still buzzing with elation long after his brilliant century had scrambled England to the one-wicket win which completed their historic 5-0 whitewash of Australia.
Without Buttler, on his captain Eoin Morgan’s acknowledgement, England would have had no chance at 114 for eight in pursuit of Australia’s under-par 205 all out in the one-day international series finale at Old Trafford.
But the wicketkeeper-batsman simply would not be denied as first he and Adil Rashid got England within range in a ninth-wicket stand of 81 – and then he struck a straight six off Marcus Stoinis and the cover-driven four which clinched the deal off the same bowler.
There were some nervous moments, of course, as Buttler (110no) and number 11 Jake Ball took one unexpected single and declined others.
Buttler got it unquestionably right when it mattered most, though, to edge a thrilling contest.
“It’s obviously a great feeling, hitting the winning runs … it’s pure elation, isn’t it?” he asked.
“You know it’s one shot … but that’s probably when you become most flustered, when it’s in touching distance.
“You’ll probably never match that … one (wicket left) and plucking it from nowhere when we didn’t really have the right to win the game.
“Winning games when you didn’t deserve to, they’re almost the more enjoyable ones.”
England put themselves on course for this first whitewash over Australia in any format, dating back through almost 140 years of Ashes rivalry, when Moeen Ali’s career-best four for 46 helped to bowl the tourists out in just 34.4 overs.
But by the time they lurched to 50 for five in response, it looked a long shot.
Buttler was full of praise for Rashid, and Ball.
“Great credit to him to come out and face the balls,” he said of the latter.
“He did it beautifully [against Ashton Agar]… fighting a few instincts, I think – he wanted to run down and try and smack it.
“But it’s a tough thing to do, soak up that pressure and deal with that – and a huge feather in his cap to know he’s come through.”
Asked how much faith he had in Ball when he walked out, Buttler added with a smile: “It probably looked like more than I thought I had!
“I think we needed five, and I said to him: ‘If it’s two we’ll run, if it’s one I’ll take the strike – and maybe run at the end of the over’.
“But I smashed it to long-off and didn’t see the guy … and just ran.”
Some of England’s coaching staff, picked up on broadcast cameras, could barely watch at that point.
But Morgan knew the right man was out there.
Asked if anyone else in the team could have won the match as Buttler did, he said: “Probably not.
“To produce an innings like he did … he managed to get us over the line somehow, and when he plays like that he creates a lot of belief in the changing room that rubs off. It’s outstanding.”
The whitewash was lapped up by a sell-out crowd, but appears a mere detail to Morgan’s men.
He added: “The atmosphere in the ground, people were quite passionate and hungry about it.
“But certainly within the changing room … the actual 5-0 is not something we speak about.”
Morgan’s opposite number Tim Paine must suffer the consequences.
He said: “It stings … it does sting a lot. We were in a great position to win the game – and as well as Jos played, we just didn’t put them under enough pressure.
“It’s shown throughout the series – every time their good players have put us under pressure, with the bat or ball, we’ve stumbled a little bit.”