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Reece Topley savoured his moment in the sun after claiming England’s record one-day bowling figures in a 100-run thrashing of India.
After being routed by 10 wickets at the Kia Oval on Tuesday, England needed victory to stay alive in the Royal London Series and Topley delivered one in style to tee up Sunday’s decider.
Defending a modest 246 all out, the Surrey left-armer took outstanding figures of six for 24 to ruin the Indian response.
Topley hit a consistently difficult line and length, showing off his range as he struck at the start, middle and end of the innings to sneak ahead of current assistant coach Paul Collingwood in the the history books.
The 28-year-old first made his international debut seven years ago but spent four years ravaged by injury problems, including four separate stress fractures that threatened his career.
“It means a lot, it makes it all worthwhile to be honest,” he said after sealing victory for his side with 11 overs to spare.
It was a terrific team performance to bounce back from defeat the other day and I'm just happy that I played my part
“It is everyone’s dream to play for England. I just want to pull the shirt on as many times as I can and play my part. It is a privilege every time.
“It was a terrific team performance to bounce back from defeat the other day and I’m just happy that I played my part.”
Topley’s tribulations have not gone unnoticed, or his fighting spirit unappreciated, by team-mates, with captain Jos Buttler paying tribute to the left-armer.
“He’s a very popular member of the team and I’m delighted for him,” said the skipper.
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“He’s had quite an interesting story. For him to come back from that and to take six for 24 at Lord’s is an incredibly special performance.
“It’s a tribute to his perseverance and his outlook on life and the game. He’s had really tough experiences, not knowing if he would play again, and that’s given him a real sense of perspective and a real enjoyment when he’s playing.
“He’s got all the attributes to be a fantastic international bowler and I’m delighted for him to get those results today.”
Having been skittled out for 110 in the series opener, England came close to buckling again with the bat as they slipped to 102 for five. But a top-scoring knock of 47 from Moeen Ali, who shared useful stands with Liam Livingstone and David Willey, carried towards what ended up as a comfortable total.
Buttler still felt England were light on runs, but praised the way his team approached a tough situation.
“We felt like we were a few short at the halfway stage, but I think the intent we played with as a team is what helped us get up to a score,” he said.
“That’s been something we’ve tried to do as a team for a long time, play with a certain level of intensity and positivity. We can bat better, absolutely we can, but instead of playing it safe and allowing the bowlers to just settle in on a length we were proactive.
“We know that there’s a hell of a lot of experience in the batting line-up and I have so much trust in whoever’s in the middle to make the right call at the time. The whole dressing room will always back those guys.”