Why Did Buttler Lead England in the Last ODIs Versus India?
Jos Buttler replaced Eoin Morgan as England skipper in the last two ODIs on England’s tour of India after a split webbing during the first ODI ruled Morgan out of the remainder of the series. Buttler was appointed captain of the team for the two remaining games after the England and Wales Cricket Board had confirmed the appointment. Sam Billings who bruised his left collar bone during the first ODI would also miss the second match.
Split Webbing Happened While Fielding in First ODI
The split webbing between Morgan’s index finger and thumb was sustained by the England skipper during the first match of the ODI series. The injury called for four stitches. Morgan did not rule himself out of playing the second match until after a fielding drill at the start of training at the venue of the game, Pune’s MCA Stadium. But after the drill, Morgan did not think he could play.
Morgan is reported to have told a media outlet, “I had the hand re-dressed before the start of training today but it quickly became apparent that I found myself protecting the injury and getting into the wrong positions to catch the ball. There’s nowhere to hide on the field in international cricket these days, especially in limited-over formats so it didn’t require any great thought to make myself unavailable. It was a freak injury and it’s extremely frustrating but there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s now just a case of letting the cut heal. I have every confidence in Jos and the rest of the squad coping without me.”
England Stage Remarkable Comeback Under Buttler
Under Buttler, England staged a remarkable comeback in the series after having lost the first game at the same venue. England won the toss and put India in. India made 336/6 thanks to a ton from KL Rahul (108 off 114 balls) and supporting innings from Virat Kohli (66) and Rishabh Pant (77). In the middle overs, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid kept India relatively quiet and probably deprived them of about 30-40 runs on a batting-friendly wicket. As in the previous ODI, England got off to a blazing start, thanks to a 110-run stand for the first wicket between openers Roy and Bairstow. After a run out caused Roy’s departure for 55 off 52, Ben Stokes joined Bairstow at the wicket and the pair added 175 runs to leave England at 285 for 2 after 35.2 overs when Stokes was out for 99 off 52 balls. The platform had been set and despite a brief flurry of wickets, England overhauled the target with 6 balls and 6 overs to spare. Bairstow finished with 124 off 112 balls and was named Man of the Match for his match-winning effort.
Third ODI Goes to the Wire
In the 3rd ODI, Buttler was lucky once again with the toss and elected to field. India began brilliantly with the openers putting on 103. At one stage, India were 256 for 4 in the 36th over and the stage was set for a mammoth score in the region of 400. But England did exceedingly well by grabbing the wickets of Pant and Hardik Pandya just as the pair appeared to be taking the game away from England. In the end, the score of 329 appeared about 40 runs short. However, England were soon reduced to 68 for 3, losing the heroes of the second ODI, Roy, Bairstow and Stokes. Just as India appeared to be turning the screws, after having reduced England to 200 for 7 came the last twist in the tale. With an innings of 95, Sam Curran nearly pulled off the impossible and England fell just 7 runs short in a nail-biting finish.
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