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“England could have opened with Bairstow and Buttler at Lord’s” - Salman Butt

Jonny Bairstow scored a half-century in the first innings of the Lord’s Test. Pic: Getty Images
Jonny Bairstow scored a half-century in the first innings of the Lord’s Test. Pic: Getty Images

Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt feels England could have taken a positive approach and opened with Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler while chasing 272 against India at Lord’s.

England went down to India by 151 runs in the second Test at Lord’s. The hosts lost both their struggling openers without scoring, after which the rest of the batting line-up also did not put up much resistance.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Butt pointed out that England lost 10 wickets (in just under 52 overs) even while trying to play for a draw. A different approach to the game could have caught India by surprise. He explained:

“The Bumrah-Shami partnership put England on the backfoot. But I feel, tactically, they missed a trick. England could have opened with Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler at Lord’s. They could have been given a free hand to attack the Indian bowlers. Anyways, they lost even while playing for a draw. Even if Bairstow and Buttler would have got out, the others could have then tried for a draw. But if they had given England a good start… Chasing 272 in 60 overs is quite a normal target in modern-day cricket. So you can see the difference in approaches between India and England.”

Butt, however, praised England captain Joe Root for admitting that he could have done things differently against India at Lord’s. The former batsman stated:

“Credit to Joe Root for admitting that he could have done better in the second Test. This is the hallmark of a top professional. It is easy to find excuses for losses. However, to accept mistakes and error in judgement is a big thing. That proves you are learning genuinely.”

What England captain Joe Root said after Lord’s defeat

Following England’s loss from a position of strength at Lord’s, Root conceded that he could have been tactically more shrewd as a leader. He also agreed that he underestimated India’s lower-order strength.

Speaking at the post-match conference, Root took responsibility for the lapses and said:

"I think a lot falls on my shoulders as captain. Tactically I could have done things slightly differently. It (Shami and Bumrah partnership) was the pivotal moment of the game, without question, and I don't think I dealt with that well enough tactically. It put us in a difficult position."

Root added:

"It's just disappointing we didn't manage to close out that innings how we could have. Probably I just underestimated how challenging and useful the lower order defence can be so as I said a lot falls on my shoulders."

Mohammed Shami (56 not out) and Jasprit Bumrah (34 not out) featured in an unbroken 89-run stand for the ninth wicket to turn the tables on England in the Lord’s Test.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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