Jos Buttler keen to build on confidence gained in the summer which saw him save his England Test career with crucial knocks against Pakistan ahead of two-match series in Sri Lanka
- Jos Buttler saved his Test career with a match-winning 75 against Pakistan
- He then made a career-best 152 against the same opposition two weeks later
- Now, he needs to reset his game in the very different conditions Sri Lanka offers
- Buttler will inevitably face scrutiny behind the stumps from Surrey’s Ben Foakes
Jos Buttler wants to draw on the confidence gained during his breakthrough Test summer as England prepare for a tricky two-match series against Sri Lanka at Galle.
It is five months now since, by his own admission, he saved his Test career with a match-winning 75 in partnership with Chris Woakes against Pakistan at Old Trafford. A fortnight later, he compiled a classy career-best 152 at the Ageas Bowl to help seal the series.
Now, he needs to reset his game in very different conditions, and get ready for long spells of wicketkeeping up to the stumps as the spinners bowl the lion’s share of overs in draining heat and humidity.
Jos Buttler wants to draw on the confidence gained during his breakthrough Test summer
Buttler saved his England Test career with scored of 75 and 152 against Pakistan
‘The summer gave me a lot of confidence, and hopefully I can still ride off the back of that, even though it’s a long time ago,’ said Buttler. ‘But it’s nice to be in the position where I finished the summer strongly.
‘Coming from home and indoor schools to 30-degree heat which feels a lot hotter, and playing long days of cricket, is going to be tough physically. We have to be ready for that. During Friday’s practice game, we had 50 overs in the field, and I drank three litres and still lost one or two kgs. You need to keep drinking.’
Despite his runs and dressing-room popularity, Buttler will inevitably face scrutiny behind the stumps because Surrey’s Ben Foakes – Player of the Series when England won 3-0 in Sri Lanka in late 2018 – is on tour too, and expected to play in two of the four Tests in India starting next month as the selectors rest and rotate. An all-format player who needs looking after more than most, Buttler is unfazed by the prospect.
Buttler will inevitably face scrutiny behind the stumps from Surrey’s Ben Foakes (right)
‘I’ve watched Ben practise, and he’s impressive,’ he said. ‘It’s fantastic to see how good he is. The selectors and coaches and captains have spoken a lot about it not being ideal missing games for England, but you have to give the ECB a lot of credit for their forward thinking and, trying to catch exhaustion or mental health issues before they even happen.’
The tourists left Hambantota for Galle earlier than scheduled on Saturday after the second day of their intra-squad match was washed out, and were boosted by the return to their biosecure bubble of Chris Woakes.
He had been self-isolating as a precaution after coming into close contact with Moeen Ali, who will remain in isolation until Wednesday after testing positive for Covid-19.
Woakes, though, is unlikely to be ready for Thursday’s first Test, when England are set to field a rejigged batting line-up including Zak Crawley as opener, Jonny Bairstow at No 3 and a first cap for Essex batsman Dan Lawrence.
England have been boosted by the return to their biosecure bubble of Chris Woakes
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