Jos Buttler admitted thinking that he may have played his last Test for England after the wicket-keeper atoned for a poor display behind the stumps by his stunning display with the bat in a narrow three-wicket win over Pakistan at Old Trafford. England had been reduced to 117-5 while chasing a target of 277 on Saturday’s fourth day.
But a sixth-wicket stand of 139 between Buttler, who made 75 on his home ground Lancashire, and Chris Woakes, who remained unbeaten on 84 not out, turned the tide in England’s favour. England, however, might not have been chasing so many runs had Buttler, whose Test-match keeping has long been debatable, not dropped and then missed stumping of Shan Masood when the opener was on 45 during Pakistan’s first innings.
Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes help England win despite Masood’s century
Masood went on to make his best-ever Test score of 156 to help Pakistan build a lead of over a hundred runs.
“I’m quite proud, if I take those chances, we’d have won two hours ago,” Buttler told reporters. “I’m very aware I didn’t keep well, I missed some chances and at this level, you can’t afford to do that, no matter how many runs you score. Thoughts go through your head that if I don’t score any runs, I’ve maybe played my last game. But you have to shut those out and go and play your game,” Buttler added.
Both Buttler, a proven white-ball batsman, and Woakes were members of the England side that won the 50-over World Cup last year.
“We tried to break it down into a bit of a one-day chase, and scored at four an over, to take the second new ball out of the equation,” said Buttler.
“We got some nice momentum going and had a good partnership.”
Buttler also acknowledged the fact that his father had been admitted to hospital on Friday, although he was discharged later. England captain Joe Root, who is a longstanding defender of Buttler’s place in the Test squad, was glad to see him play a major inning in a difficult situation.
“It says a huge amount about him as a person to carry all of that and be able to either use it, or park it,” said Root. “Only he will know which way he did that.
“It shows how mentally strong he is more than anything, but also how skilful. One of Jos’ big traits is when he’s under pressure he puts in big performances. He can deal with high-pressure.”
Jos Buttler Was Dismissed, But Chris Woakes Took England Home By Scoring An Unbeaten 84
Buttler was finally dismissed for 75, but England still needed 21 more runs for victory. Woakes, however, took them home with a three-wicket victory when he edged a boundary off fast bowler Shaheen Afridi.
“In a way (being 117-5) made up our minds for us, it played into our hands in the end,” said player of the match Woakes after compiling his highest Test score since an unbeaten century against India at Lord’s two years ago.
Woakes was left out of the first Test during England’s 2-1 series win over the West Indies last month. But this valiant unbeaten knock reinforced his reputation as a ‘nearly man’.
He has since been in great form with the ball before Saturday’s innings ended a modest run of scores with the bat at Test level.
“He’s so, so consistent,” said Root. “On and off the field he is someone you can always trust to deliver exactly what you want. Over the last couple of years he just keeps improving and he’s almost on another level. The most important thing is we back it (this win) up again now,” said Root when asked about the end of a bizarre sequence. We’ve got to keep learning. But I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” Root added
England won the match by three wickets despite falling behind Pakistan in the first innings.