Jos Buttler continued his good run with an unbeaten 54-ball 77 as England sealed a series-winning six-wicket victory against Australia in the second T20I in Southampton.
The wicketkeeper-batsman explored all corners of the ground to put the opposition bowlers off their plans. Mitchell Starc, the pace-spearhead, praised Buttler’s ability to innovate and provide the finishing touches. “He’s obviously been damaging for them in the first game and again today and got them home with the bat,” Starc said. “We would have liked to have got him out in the powerplay, so it’s something the bowlers will have to chat about.
“Our batters are going to have their own plans and play their own way. I don’t think there are too many that bat exactly like Jos. He’s someone who moves around the crease a lot, so does Smithy I guess. In terms of an opener batting through and being quite destructive through the powerplay, then getting the team home, like he did today, that’s probably what you want your opening batters to do I guess,” he added.
Due to the Covid-19 situation, Australia didn’t play any international cricket for close to six months. Starc indicated that could have been a reason as to why the visitors weren’t at their best. He noted that it is difficult to ‘simulate international cricket’ in net sessions. “I don’t think no crowds are an issue. Coming off 5 months of no cricket probably doesn’t help.
“It’s not an excuse – we’ve had plenty of preparation here. I think there was still plenty of good stuff with bat and ball, we were just that little bit off, which I think you get from playing cricket. You can’t really simulate international matches just by having net sessions or centre wickets. And T20 cricket is such a short game, I think those little moments that we’ve let slip in games 1 and 2, have obviously cost us in the long run.
“I have felt that execution was slightly off the game. I felt pretty good today. Probably only 1 or 2 balls that I didn’t execute the way I wanted to. So it hasn’t taken a whole heap. I’ve been bowling for 3 and a half – close to 4 months now anyway. It’s just that match intensity. International cricket is always going to be a step up from having centre wickets as we have done for the last week. And net sessions that were all we had back home, in small groups. So slightly different to England have played 6 T20s already in the last couple of months,” he added.
Even though England have already clinched the series, Starc said that they would treat the dead-rubber game seriously, as they look to build towards the T20 World Cup next year. “I’m not a selector, so I don’t have to worry about it. We’re still going to be trying to win games. It’s not about handing out games – if the selectors think they’re going to help us win a game of cricket then I think that’s the way to go. but we’ve got 2 World Cups in the next 2 years. It’s a chance to, there’s not a heap of T20 cricket before the World Cup, so you can’t waste games.”