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Jos ton's in vain as India near victory; CRICKET: THIRD TEST.


JOS BUTTLER sealed his return to Test cricket with a magnificentlygritty maiden century.

But it will all be in vain when India take the final wicket they need at some point today with England teetering on 311-9 at the close.

Buttler's efforts though still cannot hide the lack of quality elsewhere in the England line-up that crumbled so insipidly in the morning to be 62-4, or the ease with which they lost four wickets for 10 runs in the evening.

There are still major issues affecting England's batting and one magnificent partnership of 169 between Buttler and Ben Stokes (inset) does not wipe the slate clean.

What it does show though is there is the talent and the temperament required to succeed in Test cricket and their potential could yet translate into something real.

For Buttler this was an innings long in the making, 23 matches and 38 innings in the making to be precise.

And it was vindication of a selection recall after 18 months in the wilderness that raised a few eyebrows back in May.

Buttler is a supreme white-ball batsman but against the red ball his output has not matched his talent until now, and understandably the Lancashire stumper believed this was a landmark he might never reach.

But with Jonny Bairstow handing over the gloves thanks to his broken finger, Buttler took on the role initially earmarked for him and flourished in a way that only the coldest heart would begrudge.

"It has been a long time coming," he said. "A few months ago it felt like a million miles away so this is a huge moment for me. This is definitely my proudest moment in an England shirt.

"You can't underestimate that feeling and I'm a little lost for words. To prove you can do it is a huge part of it. Not just for yourself, but to do it for your team is the biggest thing to show you belong.

"I was never sure if I'd play Test cricket again. I thought that race was run. All those thoughts go through your head while you're out there and start to get close."

Stokes deserves a pat on the back too for the way he reined himself in for his 62 before Jasprit Bumrah took his first five wicket haul and almost got India over the line.



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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Aug 22, 2018
Next Article:BRUCE: I'D LOVE 11 HUTTS.

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