Lancashire’s Jos Buttler produced what some are calling England’s greatest ever One-Day innings at Lords against Sri Lanka – an innings which couldn’t quite drag England to victory.
Chasing a winning target of 301, England faltered and were well behind the rate until Buttler came to the crease and smashed the fastest One-Day hundred ever scored at Lords.
The Lancashire keeper’s century came off just 61 balls before he eventually fell for 121 as England came up seven runs short of the 301 required.
Buttler believes he has never produced a better innings but admitted it meant nothing without the victory.
“That is definitely the best I have ever played,” Buttler told Sky Sports.
“Obviously it’s brilliant to play that well but disappointing to not get over the line.”
Sri Lanka set their competitive total thanks in no small part to the brilliance of wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara who produced a typically classy innings of 112.
With England needing 190 from 22.4 overs, Buttler shared a sixth-wicket stand of 133 with Ravi Bopara before the Essex all-rounder was dismissed by Ajantha Mendis for 51.
England required 12 to win off the final over bowled by arguably the world’s best death bowler Lasith Malinga and Buttler was run out from the fourth ball.
“Me and Ravi just had some fun – we didn’t think we could win but that gave us a licence,” Buttler said.
“Then unfortunately we lost Ravi and when someone like Malinga comes back at the end it’s always hard.”
Buttler’s innings had the biggest names from across the world of cricket waxing lyrical about the young wicket keepers performance.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan claimed the performance was the best ever produced by an Englishman in a One-Day international.
England's Greatest ever ODI innings…. pic.twitter.com/Y85Kjs9GvA
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) May 31, 2014
Buttler’s Lancashire and England teammate James Anderson shared the same view as Vaughan that the innings was one of the best.
Disappointing to lose today but I think the @josbuttler knock is the best one day knock I've seen
— James Anderson (@jimmy9) May 31, 2014
Exiled England star Kevin Pietersen reiterated his calls for Buttler to be called up to the England Test Match side.
— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) May 31, 2014
The wicket keeping place in the Test team may well be up for grabs with injury to Matt Prior possibly ruling him out of the first Test against Sri Lanka.
Buttler’s performance may well have pushed him to the fore but he was keen to stress that he was taking nothing for granted.
“It’s a different format so maybe, maybe not,” Buttler said.
“It’s just about trying to do the best you can do every day – I’ve got so many areas I can improve.”
England skipper Alastair Cook was also quick to pour cold water on Buttler’s chances.
“Buttler will be a very good Test player at some stage – but I don’t think he’s quite ready,” Cook said.
“I think he’ll be honest with himself – he needs more time.”