In his latest Sky Sports column, Jos Buttler reflects on a thrilling series-opening win over India, Sam Curran’s star turn but abysmal footballing skills, missing Ben Stokes at Lord’s, and that mishap on the golf course for Jimmy Anderson…
The first Test win at Edgbaston was so special to be involved in; full of drama, ebbing and flowing both ways. It was just an incredible game.
The crowd was fantastic too. The Hollies Stand at Edgbaston is notorious for getting pretty rowdy and, when Stuart Broad took the wicket of Murali Vijay in the second innings, that first ball of his to KL Rahul was about as loud as any atmosphere at any ground I’ve ever played at.
2:38 England and India produced quite the stirring start to the five-match Test series with a thriller at Edgbaston!
It really was 50/50 going into that final day, or that’s how it felt at least. All the permutations go through your head – we could win it quickly, we might not at all, or it could go right down to the wire like in the 2005 Ashes Test at Edgbaston.
But, what we did really well as a side, and what the captain asked of us, was to maintain the same belief, discipline and passion as we did the night before. The boys responded to Rooty really well and, tactically, he was brilliant, very calm and collected. Even when one was nicked over the slips at one point, he appeared on the big screen with that cheeky smile of his.
3:02 Joe Root says England 'showed inner belief', speaking after their first Test win
Jimmy getting Dinesh Karthik in the first over of the day was really crucial to giving us that belief we could get the right result, while Stokes bowled with the heart of a lion and managed to get those two vitally important wickets of Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami in the same over.
Stokes is going to be a massive miss at Lord’s, but we knew he wasn’t going to be involved. And, any time he isn’t in the side, it gives the chance to others to try and fill his shoes, just as Sam Curran did at Edgbaston. He has an incredibly bright future ahead of him.
What was so great about his performance – Rooty said as much – is that it’s not just about the runs you score or wickets you take in Test cricket, it’s about the character you show, and Sam showed that in spades. In just his second Test match. He wasn’t overawed by any of it.
He is not shy. He’s a bit of a cheeky young kid, loving every minute of it, as you’d expect from a 20-year-old lad and it was great to see that fire and competitive spirit of his on the field. I just wish he’d transfer that into is football, though. He is a terrible footballer. Truly shocking!
I love my football, as most of the guys do. We all play the fantasy football game each season and join a league together. Giles Lindsay, our team analyst, won it last year, as you might expect with an analyst.
I’m a Blackburn Rovers fan, but followed them more back in the day. We drew our opening game of the season at Ipswich, while this weekend it’s the return of the Premier League. There are some really good games on – Man Utd v Leicester on Friday night, Arsenal v Man City on Sunday – and I’m sure we’ll be keeping half an eye on them.
Our schedule is pretty relentless and we’re getting straight back into it ahead of the second Test at Lord’s. There hasn’t been too much down time in between games, even though Edgbaston was wrapped up in three and a half days.
England vs India
August 9, 2018, 10:00am
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We had the Team England golf day at Stoke Park on Monday. A few of the guys headed down on Sunday evening, to get a bit of practice in – I managed to drag my wife around as my caddy for a couple of hours – as the guys are all quite competitive.
On the day itself, it was actually Sky Sports’ very own Ian Ward who came out on top, finishing three under for the round. He was supposed to present the award to the winner, but was too embarrassed to present it to himself, so stepped aside. My time on the course the night before obviously paid dividends, as I managed to win a bottle of champagne.
Jimmy didn’t quite have as much fun! Thankfully, though, he is alright after his mishap on the golf course.
He’ll be fine for the second Test on Thursday, and comes into the game having bowled fantastically well at Edgbaston – I thought the battle between Kohli and Anderson was incredible.
It was a brilliant hundred from Kohli in the first innings, but you have to give the bowlers credit too. He really had to battle for all of his runs, and we created some chances which weren’t taken. That’s something for us to work on this week, trying to be more clinical.
2:06 Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar says Virat Kohli is deserving of the world No 1 ranking
Ollie Pope joins the group for the second Test, hugely exciting times for him! And for England.
There are a number of guys – Dom Bess, Sam and now Ollie – who have come into the side this summer as 20-year-olds. Dom and Sam have already shown a hugely competitive spirit, that age is just a number and I’m sure Ollie will be exactly the same.
I don’t know him very well, but he has obviously been having a fantastic summer with Surrey and looks like a character suited to international cricket. Sam and him are great mates and so I’m sure that they will feed off each other this week.
4:17 Ollie Pope says his call-up to the England Test squad has been a 'whirlwind'
Even though we won at Edgbaston, there are definitely some areas for us to work on. We were 216-3 in the first innings, with Root and Jonny Bairstow going very well, and we didn’t capitalise on that. And then, bowling, we had India 100-5, but allowed them to get up close to our score.
They are a couple of areas we need to brush up on while, individually, I had a very quiet game, so I’m looking to contribute a lot more.
I still feel in a good place. I’ve been in the form of my life this summer, so I’m trying not to let one poor game to affect that. I’ll work hard in the nets this week, and I look forward to what is always a special occasion playing at Lord’s.
Watch the second Test between England and India at Lord’s from 10am on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.
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