Jos Buttler (AP photo)
MANCHESTER: England captain Joe Root doffed his hat to Jos Buttler after his beleaguered teammate battled concerns over his father’s health and fear of losing his place in the side to engineer a dramatic triumph in the first Test against Pakistan.
After his vital 75-run knock in a partnership of 139 with Chris Woakes that rescued England from 117 for five to register a three-wicket victory, Buttler avoided any discussion on his father Johnny, who had spent the previous evening in hospital.
However, Root expressed his admiration for his beleaguered teammate’s spirit and resilience in trying times.
“It says a huge amount about him as a person to carry that and be able to either use it, or park it – only he will know which way he did that – and to play in that manner was exceptional. To have that external pressure as well, I’m chuffed to bits with him,” Root said.
It was a welcome knock for Buttler who had been struggling with the bat for a long time. Critics have been calling for his head and to add to his woes with the willow, Buttler missed three chances while doing wicket-keeping duty in Pakistan’s first innings, including that of centurion Shan Masood.
With just a half century to boast about in 13 innings prior to his fourth-innings knock at Old Trafford, Buttler feared another poor outing could cost him his place in the team.
But then came the turnaround in the company of Woakes, who remained unbeaten on a fine 84.
Root was also full of praise for Woakes.
“You watch him play and know he’s more than capable of three or four more Test hundreds. His game is there. He’s got all the attributes, he was clear how he wanted to play Yasir Shah and managed the seamers.
“To see a ball like the one that got Ollie Pope, park it and have the presence of mind to stay leg side and trust his hands shows his experience in international cricket has really paid off,” Root said.