Jos Buttler confident on England’s victory, called a tactical decision to send Moeen Ali at early
By Sandy - Sep 2, 2018 1:53 pm
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On the early morning of day three of the ongoing fourth Test between the hosts England and the visitors India at The Rose Bowl (Southampton), English all-rounder Moeen Ali came to bat at the no.3 position. English vice-captain Jos Buttler has claimed that it was a purely tactical decision that was taken on day two evening. He is also confident on England’s victory in this Test match that will secure their series victory in this five-match Test series.

In the second innings of this Test match, Moeen Ali was dismissed by Ishant Sharma for just 9 runs.

After returning to this Test match, no.7 batsman Ali played a crucial knock of 40 runs in the first innings and saved his team from a difficult situation of 86/6.

On the early morning of day three, when the experienced but out-of-form English opening batsman Alastair Cook (12) was dismissed on cheaply, Ali came to bats at no.3 position. However, Ali (9 runs off 15 balls) spent only 19 minutes at the crease as he was dismissed after getting brilliantly caught at second slip by KL Rahul.

Jos Buttler

Buttler said about this, “It was a pure tactical decision after Moeen has been in such fantastic form in the last few weeks. He bats at number three for Worcester and we felt he was playing so well that it was a nice move for him to bat at three. He was told last evening.”

While Moeen bats at this top-order position in the domestic cricket regularly and recently hit a first-class double-century at the same position, he generally plays as the middle-order batsman in international cricket for England. Before this innings, last time he batted at no.3 or higher position in international cricket was in November 2016 in the Test match against India at Nagpur.

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While the English Test top-order batting is struggling continuously, Ali was sent to bat up the order and the Test skipper Joe Root was allowed to bat at his best position at no.4 where he scored 48 runs before getting run-out unfortunately.

Buttler believes they were tactically right on day three. The English Test vice-captain said, “I’m not sure moving forward what will happen but tactically for today, it felt like the right decision. I thought he [Root] batted fantastically well today. People will debate a lot where his best position is but it could be the matter of a difference of one ball so I don’t think for a world-class player like Joe it affects him too much.”

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Due to huge inconsistency performances at the top-order positions in the recent Test cricket, England team management have made several changes but nothing has properly worked yet.

Talking about that, Buttler added, “In time, stability would be important but at the moment, trying to work out best combinations and find the way. The best teams over time, you guys could pretty much turn up every week and write that side out so that’s of course the goal of what every team is trying to get to. Stability is a key pillar in a lot of successful teams.”

At the stumps on day three, England was batting on 260/8 and Buttler played the most crucial knock in that innings of 69 runs (122 balls; 7 fours). While England has already taken the lead of 233 runs, Buttler believes that they can go for a crucial victory from here.

Buttler said, “Yes, definitely (we can win). You’ve seen the wear and tear in the wicket — even in the first innings as well, there was quite a bit of rough outside the right-hander’s off-stump. That’s promising for Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid — and with the seamers, we’ve seen a bit of variable bounce. So I think it’s nice to have the runs on the board.”