Published On: Thu, Sep 12th, 2019

The Ashes: Jos Buttler rediscovers joy for batting as England star keeps draw hopes alive | Cricket | Sport

Jos Buttler warned Australia he was finally enjoying batting again – for the first time since his draining World Cup heroics.

The England star proved a significant thorn in Australia’s side late on day one of the Ashes‘ fifth Test, cracking 64 in 84 balls including three sixes, to lift England to 271-8 at the close after being put in to bat by opposition captain Tim Paine.

And while England need him to kick on again this morning if they are not to finish under par, the batsman admitted that he felt he had finally shaken off his World Cup hangover. 

“I’ve just found it hard all series. They have an excellent attack, I just don’t think I’ve played very well. I haven’t really got it,” he said.

“The period at the start of your innings is always tough and against a very good attack you have to be on it straight away, and they challenge you straight away.

“I haven’t quite been good enough to get through those periods. 

“In the last couple of games I haven’t necessarily felt great at the crease but I’ve tried to scrap my way through it.

“It’s been a big test of everything this summer, both mentally, physically – any game against Australia is a massive game and you find something within yourself to do it for your team.”

With the new ball approaching, Buttler kicked on in the final session with a typically barnstorming effort in company with former Somerset pal Jack Leach.

He added: “I thought it would be the hardest time to try to attack (for them) and with the bowlers having bowled a lot it felt like the best time to score some runs and find a bit more enjoyment in my batting as well.

“I just tried to look at the scoreboard and think what the best way was for us to go forward.”

Buttler admitted the match situation was “in the balance”.

“Having lost the toss we got into a very good position at 170-odd for three,” he continued.

“It’s a shame to not quite be able to capitalise on that but it shows there’s a bit in the wicket for both batters and bowlers.

“If you play well and apply yourself there are runs to be had but likewise, with the ball, it swung a bit all day and the odd one nipped around.”

Mitchell Marsh, who took four wickets from 35 balls, is pleased with Australia’s position headed into day two but admits it might have been even better.

“It (the score) could have been even less than that if we’d held our catches early on,” he said. 

“We spoke about coming here and wanting to win the series 3-1.

“It probably wasn’t reflected in our first session but you drop catches sometimes. It could have been better but we’d definitely take eight for 270 on that.

“I was like a kid at Christmas this morning. I was so excited. It can be a long tour when you’re not playing. 

“I just wanted to get an opportunity at some stage and it was nice to chip in today.”

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