ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook paid tribute to a stunning innings from Jos Buttler, which ensured the home side avoided a one-day international series whitewash against New Zealand at Trent Bridge yesterday.
Batting first, England were seemingly on their way to a below par total until Buttler smashed 47 runs off just 16 deliveries to close on 287-6 .
In reply, England’s bowlers steadily shared the wickets, with spinner James Tredwell taking 3-51, as the tourists were bowled out for 253, falling short by 34 runs.
New Zealand still inflicted a 2-1 series defeat on England, their first at home since 2009, but with the Champions Trophy beginning on home soil today Cook was delighted to see his men get back to winning ways and was full of praise for Buttler.
“Jos was the difference between the sides,” said Cook. “At the beginning of the day we knew a win was very important and I thought we played very well. We haven’t quite got it right in this series, we’ve been fairly close getting ourselves into positions and letting it slip with the bat or ball, but we’re almost there.”
After Cook’s early dismissal off the bowling of Mitchell McClenaghan, Ian Bell set about repairing the damage and reached 82 off 96 balls.
Jonathan Trott (37), Joe Root (33) and Ravi Bopara (28) failed to build on promising starts, as has been typical of England in this series, leaving the hosts on 210-5 with four overs to bowl.
Enter Buttler – backed up brilliantly by Eoin Morgan who scored 49 off 40 balls – hit shots all around the ground, to bring the appreciative Trent Bridge crowd to its feet.
Ross Taylor dug in for New Zealand to score 71 off 84 balls.
But he progressively was running out of partners at the other end and was the ninth wicket to fall, before Steven Finn wrapped things up, dismissing McClenaghan.