Jos Buttler decided it was time to “take the shackles off and play with a smile on my face” as his counter-attacking knock raised England’s spirits after a batting collapse on day one of the fifth Ashes Test.
Recalled Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh took 4-35 as England – attempting to salvage a 2-2 series result now they have no chance of regaining the urn – collapsed from 170-3 to 226-8 in a dramatic final session on a sunny Thursday at The Oval.
It looked as though it might be England’s day with the tourists dropping Joe Root three times, but they crumbled after Pat Cummins bowled their captain for 57.
Buttler then switched into one-day mode to make an unbeaten 64, smashing Josh Hazlewood for three sixes with Jack Leach digging in at the other end to ensure England closed on 271-8 after being put in by Tim Paine.
The aggressive Buttler, who passed 7,000 runs international runs in all formats, has endured a disappointing series with the bat and felt it was time to take a more aggressive approach.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 12, 2019
“It’s nice to contribute a little bit. The boys batted really well in the morning and we got ourselves into a fantastic position but could not capitalise,” Buttler told Test Match Special.
“Both sides are feeling a long series with a quick turnaround between Tests, so that’s why the intensity goes up and down.
“Australia are a really good bowling attack and asked questions all day. It’s frustrating for us not being able to capitalise on our start.
“With the new ball not being far away, I thought it was the best time to go for it and I was just trying to have some fun too.
“Batting has been hard work and not enjoyable this series so I wanted to take the shackles off and play with a smile on my face.”