Eoin Morgan hailed new dad Jos Buttler for hitting new heights with his match-winning 110 not out against Pakistan.
England edged out Pakistan by 12 runs in the second one-day international at Southampton, with Buttler’s 50-ball century the epitome of improvised, aggressive stroke play.
Buttler and wife Louise recently celebrated the arrival of their first child, daughter Georgia Rose, and the 28-year-old toasted his century with the classic baby-rocking gesture.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur admitted the tourists had no answers to Buttler’s brutal hitting, while England skipper Morgan believes the Taunton-born star just keeps getting better and better. Asked if Buttler had scaled new levels with his stunning knock, Morgan said: “I think so.
“When he plays innings like that, and they seem to be grouped closer and closer together, it means we’re very fortunate to have him in our side.”
Buttler and Morgan posted a 162-run stand as England struck 373-3 in the second ODI against Pakistan.
I don’t think we’re going to stop him, we’ve got to find a way to get him out. The longer he bats he’s going to do some serious damage.Micky Arthur
Former Pakistan Navy officer Fakhar Zaman blasted 138 in 106 balls only to be dismissed on review, Chris Woakes’ out-swinger catching the toe of his bat for Buttler to hold behind.
David Willey and Liam Plunkett then ground England home despite a fine run chase that proved in vain from Pakistan.
England rotated resources, omitting World Cup bolter Jofra Archer in a bid to hand other seamers time on the wicket.
And Morgan admitted some quality players will miss the cut for the final World Cup squad.
The England skipper insisted however that recent addition Archer’s availability is not itself driving standards.
“I think they are all pushing each other,” said Morgan.
“It’s a bit like our batting unit the last two or three years. Guys have come in and done well. And guys will miss out.
“It’s going to be a tough decision regardless of how they have performed.
“For the last four years David Willey and Liam Plunkett in particular have reacted really well when being put under pressure. You ask them to do more and they respond really well.
“I thought Liam Plunkett bowled beautifully, even when he came back in that middle spell.
“It didn’t actually swing much today. I thought all the bowlers today who were put under the pump, when we couldn’t take wickets throughout that whole 30-over period, they reacted really well.”
Pakistan coach Arthur was left to wonder at Buttler’s match-defining innings, admitting he will go back to the drawing board in a desperate attempt to devise a plan to stymie England’s star turn.
Asked how to dismiss Buttler, Arthur replied: “Oh, I don’t know, I’ve just asked the bowlers actually. They didn’t give me an answer either.
“We’ll sit down and analyse that and try to work out a plan.
“I don’t think we’re going to stop him, we’ve got to find a way to get him out. The longer he bats he’s going to do some serious damage.”
Buttler’s remarkable muscle-flexing comprised six fours and nine sixes, with his second 50 coming in just 18 balls.
The four that yielded his half century proved the epitome of improvised attack.
The 28-year-old stepped away from his wicket to swat Faheem Ashraf’s wayward leg-side bouncer over point – and all the way to the boundary.
Jonny Bairstow’s 51 set the tone for a fluid enough England knock, the opener surviving two close calls before holing out to Zaman on the boundary.
Jason Roy plundered 87 but could not turn that 13th half century into a three-figure knock, top-edging Haris Sohail for a facile Imad Wasim catch.
Joe Root cantered to a comfortable 40 only to depart in frustration, having blasted Yasir Shah straight to Sohail at midwicket.
Zaman’s gusty knock spearheaded the Pakistan charge. but ultimately his dismissal edged the tie England’s way.