Cricket - Buttler hailed as England head to Mumbai

England will embark on Friday's road trip to Mumbai, the last stop on their two-month tour of India, with confidence still intact despite Thursday night's Twenty20 defeat.

PA Sport
Cricket - Buttler hailed as England head to Mumbai

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Jos Buttler's career-best 33 not out also included his trademark 'ramp' shot

Despite opener Alex Hales' impressive 26-ball 50, England fluffed their lines at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium on their way to only 157 for five on a good pitch, which India reached inside 18 overs. But a second consolation remained Jos Buttler's career-best 33 not out to salvage a worthwhile total.

Captain Eoin Morgan is well aware of 22-year-old Buttler's innovative abilities - his trademark is a 'ramp' shot to beat the field fine behind square - and the Irishman said: "We've all seen him practise in the nets, and he's been phenomenal really. He's a fantastic striker of the ball, and his little cameo was brilliant. It got us up to just below par."

England nemesis, as often previously but not in their historic Test series success here, was Yuvraj Singh - who took three wickets for 19 runs and then top-scored with 38 as India coasted home. The margin of defeat for England was five wickets, made worse reading after their seam attack served up 10 wides to help India on their way.

Buttler served notice of his potential in international Twenty20 cricket by smashing South Africa pace bowler Wayne Parnell for 32 runs in one over at Edgbaston three-and-a-half months ago.

As for Buttler's party piece, which can go either side of the wicket, Morgan added: "He plays it better than anybody, both ways."

Buttler was also deployed as wicketkeeper last night, in place of Jonny Bairstow - who was left out in favour of extra bowling cover. That team balance is a tactic with which England intend to persist.

"The thinking behind it was that we wanted to go in with five frontline bowlers," said Morgan. "Playing with seven batsmen - if you include the wicketkeeper as a batsman - doesn't really make any difference.

"The stats suggest that the number seven batsman on average faces seven balls a game. Even if he does come in at the end, it's always in a crisis and it sort of scrapes you up to a par - in which case you need your five frontline bowlers.

"It was a decision we felt was right, and I think is right for the future."

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