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Buttler record inspires England as Aussies thumped

 

By David Clough

Record-breaking Jos Buttler was the star of the show again as England inflicted yet another defeat on Australia in the one-off Vitality IT20.

Buttler, pushed up to open at a sun-drenched and near sold-out Edgbaston, followed the brilliant match-winning century which completed England's historic 5-0 one-day international whitewash of their Ashes rivals by this time hitting their fastest Twenty20 fifty.

He bettered Ravi Bopara's 23-ball half-century, also against Australia, in Hobart four years ago, by racing to his in 21 as England piled up 221 for five -their highest total in this format on home soil - before defying a lone-hand from Australia captain Aaron Finch (84) to close out a 28-run win.

Finch matched Buttler almost shot for shot, taking 27 balls for his 50, and hitting five sixes in 11 balls at one point as Moeen Ali bore the brunt - but he could not quite haul his team back from 72 for five as Adil Rashid (three for 27) and then Chris Jordan (three for 42) enforced home advantage.

Australia's short white-ball trip therefore finishes without an international success as England proved their masters for a sixth time in 14 days.

Buttler (61) wasted no time vindicating his promotion to the top of the order, for only the second time in his Twenty20 international career, by bagging six fours and five sixes with his unique blend of power and improvisation.

Alex Hales was no slouch either, dropped down to number four here and responding with 49 from 24 balls.

Buttler and Jason Roy got England off to a superb start in an opening stand of 95 in under nine overs, after Australia had put them in.

Both then went in quick succession.

Hales kept up the momentum, in a stand of 72 with Joe Root, which ended when the senior partner fell in bizarre circumstances - slapping a slower bouncer back to Marcus Stoinis' first delivery of his solitary over for a one-handed return catch.

Finch responded mightily, in a stand of 86 with Ashton Agar which more than doubled the score. But, when he was caught by Jordan off Rashid, England could breathe easily.

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