Tuesday 26 September 2017

Buttler opens the door for England to end dismal run

Jos Buttler of England bats during game four of the One Day International series between Australia and England
Jos Buttler of England bats during game four of the One Day International series between Australia and England

Nick Hoult

It took 91 days and countless false dawns but England finally won an international in Australia to avoid the ignominy of equalling their worst run of defeats.

England's 57-run victory ended a sequence of nine successive losses to Australia and, in averting a double 5-0 whitewash, at least added one positive to a tour of crushing disappointments.

That England's win was built on the back of performances by two members of the next generation of stars will only add to the sense of relief for Alastair Cook, who started the day by confirming he was "desperate" to stay on as captain.

Ben Stokes hit a maiden 50 in one-day cricket in his new role at No 3 and Jos Buttler again delivered a brilliant exhibition of modern-day batting, smashing 71 off 43 balls, to lift England to a total of 316 and set Australia a record-breaking run chase at the Waca.

Buttler and Stokes succeeded in puncturing the seemingly invincible Mitchell Johnson, who conceded 72 runs off 10 wicketless overs on a ground where he has twice terrorised England in Tests.

Australia had left out several key players, and their lower order could not provide the fireworks to back up Aaron Finch, who scored his second century of the series.

Having seen James Tredwell smashed out of the attack and Chris Jordan struggle with his run-up and rhythm, Cook needed Stokes to bowl tidily. He delivered with the key wickets of George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell before snuffing out any thoughts of another sensational comeback by bowling Johnson and tricking James Faulkner with a slower ball.

England's batting performance neatly fitted the model envisioned by the management, with the top order laying a solid platform, which was exploited by Buttler and Eoin Morgan in the final overs.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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