Nottingham: England batsman Jos Buttler has said they didn’t want to make anything easy for India and by taking the third Test into Day 5, they have made the visitors work hard for the victory.
Buttler scored 103 and put on 169 runs with Ben Stokes but Jasprit Bumrah took 5-85 to reduce England to 311-9 in pursuit of the 521-run target.
“It was very important for us to turn up and show a lot of character and fight and not give it to India easily, make them work hard. We did that really well throughout the day – even the two guys there at the end, making sure we do come back. It showed that, no matter what it is, we’re not going to roll over,” Buttler said.
England were reduced to 62 for four at one stage but not only did Buttler and Stokes hold the crease until lunch, they batted out the next session without losing any wickets.
While continuing to frustrate India, Buttler said they felt they could have batted until stumps as he scored his maiden Test 100. “Having batted for a long time and feeling pretty good in the middle. We knew the (second) new ball would be a big phase in the game conditions for batting were really good before that. It’s disappointing I couldn’t make it last a bit longer. It has been a long time coming, and a few months ago it was a million miles away. It’s a huge moment for me. I don’t think I can under-estimate that feeling. Personally I’m delighted, a little bit lost for words. Definitely to prove you can do it, I think that’s a huge part of the feeling of it,” he said.
The batsman added, “I was never sure if I’d ever play Test cricket again. All those thoughts go through your head while you’re out there as well when you start to get close. I never thought this would happen, so I had to try and make sure it did. Definitely, there were times when I thought that race was run.”
When asked if this was more fulfilling than any of his limited-overs’ exploits, Buttler replied, “It’s a lot more fulfilment, probably. It’s just been a longer time coming, I think. A 100 in any red-ball game – I think it’s the first one I’ve scored for five years probably. It’s a big moment for me, and it means a lot. It proves to me I can do it, and I’m hungry to go and do it again. I’ve definitely remembered how hard Test cricket is, having come back into it. It’s really tough – it tests you in all sorts of ways. This is definitely the proudest moment in an England shirt.”
Then, Bumrah used the second new ball really well, and broke through the English lower order to put India on to the cusp of making a comeback in the series.
“He’s obviously a very talented bowler. In the white-ball formats and the IPL, he’s obviously a fantastic performer and now he’s showing that in Test matches, too. He’s obviously got quite a unique action, generates good pace with it, and crates a different angle to what you’d usually face. So, he’s definitely a guy who poses some different questions to the norm,” said Buttler.
“There is a lot of variety in the India attack as a whole, and he’s another big part of that. It was an error of judgment, but trying to work out the balls to play and leave against him is quite tricky with his angle. He draws you into playing a lot of balls, with his angle and where he delivers it from, and that was just one that came back and I got it wrong,” he said.