Stand-in England captain Jos Buttler has lamented the lack of partnerships with the bat as the visitors lost an enthralling third ODI to India in Pune on Sunday by seven runs. The defeat means England failed to win all three series across formats on their tour.
Chasing 330 to clinch the series, England crumbled to 200-7 before Sam Curran’s stupendous unbeaten 95 off 83 balls kept the embattled visitors in the game. India, however, held their nerves to sneak home.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Jos Buttler said that England left Curran with a bit too much to do at the end. He said in this regard:
“We never got those big partnerships that were going to take us over the line. We bat deep as a side; it's one of our strengths, but Sam Curran did well to take responsibility and take a lot of the strike. It took great character to play the way he did, and he has those amazing qualities in abundance. I know he will be disappointed he didn't get us over.”
At one stage, England seemed headed for a heavy defeat. But Curran, with help from Adil Rashid (19) and Mark Wood (14), took the game till the last ball.
England, however, lost the game in the first half of their chase, and it was always going to be a huge catch-up from there. Jason Roy (14), Jonny Bairstow (1), Ben Stokes (35) and Jos Buttler (15) couldn’t make significant contributions as England faltered to 95 for 4.
Dawid Malan’s 50 only seemed to delay the inevitable before Curran rekindled the visitors' hopes as the match headed to a thrilling finish. Reflecting on the close game, Jos Buttler observed:
“It was a fantastic game. Both sides made some mistakes but played some brilliant cricket. We witnessed an incredible knock from (Sam) Curran to nearly get us over the line, but congratulations to India on winning. We're disappointed; we came here and we wanted to win, but there have been great learnings throughout the process. We have seen some guys stand up and take their opportunities.The white-ball leg has been fantastic. It has been obviously very close, and today was no different."
Never felt the run rate was going to be an issue: Jos Buttler
Reflecting on the thrilling game, the wicketkeeper-batsman opined that his team were happy to restrict India to 329 and were confident of chasing down the total.
“It was a fantastic wicketm and we have seen this ground is pretty hard to defend when batsmen get in. We didn't bowl that well at the top, gave away easy boundary deliveries. But then we dragged it back fantastically well only to be pegged back by (Rishabh) Pant and (Hardik) Pandya. They put together a really good partnership. But we restricted them to what we thought was a fair total to chase. Never felt the run rate was going to be an issue,” Jos Buttler asserted.
Asked about the takeaways for England from their tough tour, the 30-year-old pointed out that the close matches should hold his team in good stead in the T20 World Cup to be played in India later in the year. Jos Buttler elaborated:
“These are the conditions we will face in the near future in the World Cup. Playing cricket in India is always a great learning. It's a great experience for the young guys, those who have made their debuts in the series, to play a top-class side like India and the pressure it puts you under. These guys will become much better cricketers for it.”
Jos Buttler will stay back in India and join Rajasthan Royals for IPL 2021, which begins on April 9.