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India vs England: Moeen Ali, England primed to strike on breaking pitch, says Jos Buttler

Buttler, who took over wicketkeeping from Jonny Baistow for the game, top-scored with a valuable 69, and then said the pitch had deteriorated enough for off-spinner Moeen Ali to come into play.

cricket Updated: Sep 02, 2018 12:43 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Southampton
india england,england vs india,jos buttler
Cricket - England v India - Fourth Test - Ageas Bowl, West End, Britain - August 31, 2018 England's Moeen Ali celebrates the wicket of India's Ishant Sharma Action (REUTERS)

England vice-captain Jos Buttler is convinced his team had batted India out of the fourth Test at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday after a collective patient effort by the home batsmen.

England were leading by 233 runs after reaching 260/8 in their second innings, which suggested a result will come on the fourth day on Sunday, barring any major weather interruption.

Buttler, who took over wicketkeeping from Jonny Baistow for the game, top-scored with a valuable 69, and then said the pitch had deteriorated enough for off-spinner Moeen Ali to come into play.

“You’ve seen the wear and tear in the wicket – even in the first innings as well, there was quite a bit of rough outside the right-hander’s off-stump. That’s promising for Moeen and Adil (Rashid), and with the seamers, we’ve seen a bit of variable bounce. “So, it’s nice to have the runs on the board.”

ALSO READ: Cheteshwar Pujara confident India will tackle Moeen on slow Southampton pitch

India have not chased 200 runs in the fourth innings to win a Test in England.

England sprang a surprise when skipper Joe Root, who had been batting at No 3, moved back to No 4, and made 48 and steadied the batting in the morning.

“It was a pure tactical decision – Moeen has been in such fantastic form for the last couple of weeks, and bats at No 3 for Worcestershire,” he said on the all-rounder being pushed up the order to prevent Indian pacers from getting to bowl at England’s best batsmen with the ball still brand new.

He said Moeen was informed the previous night and was prepared for the swap and eventually it was all about the team’s batting stability.

“I thought he batted fantastically well. He looked in great form … it could be the difference of one ball (between three and four), so for a world-class player like Joe, I don’t think it affects him too much.”

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The biggest debate going into the Test has been the reluctance of Jonny Bairstow, nursing a finger fracture, in handing over the keeping gloves to Buttler, something that coach Trevor Bayliss feels will be long term.

There was no issue between him and Bairstow, Buttler said. “Not at all from my angle, and not from Jonny’s either. Jonny’s not fit to keep wicket in this match, which is frustrating for him because he’s been fantastic for the last few years.

“Whatever happens moving forward, it doesn’t affect me or Jonny. I’m not fussed. From a few months ago, to even be in the Test side is fantastic, so gloves on or not, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

Buttler was drafted into the Test side on the basis of his superb form with Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018, and has flourished. He hit a match-winning 80 against Pakistan to help level the series.

In the Trent Bridge Test defeat, he showed England how they should have batted by scoring his maiden century.

First Published: Sep 02, 2018 09:04 IST