Twitter Reactions: Jos Buttler ton helps England extend winning streak

Twitter Reactions: Jos Buttler ton helps England extend winning streak

Buttler smacked an unbeaten 101 off just 67 as England romped home to their fourth consecutive victory .

England cricket team
England cricket team. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Jos Buttler’s masterclass before a spirited performance from the bowlers helped England to continue their winning run, as they restricted Sri Lanka 26 runs short in Sharjah to cement their semi-final berth.

Each one of England’s victories in the tournament before this game came while chasing a target when their top-order belligerence and go-hard approach led them to easy, giant triumphs – 70 balls to spare against West Indies, 35 Bangladesh and 50 Australia. On Monday, however, the toss did not land in England’s favour, with them looking increasingly destined to fall in the trap team’s batting first in this tournament have fallen into without fail.

Buttler-Morgan rebuild 

The mind felt England’s fate would be the same and it felt truer with each passing moment in the powerplay, which they ended 36/3. Wanindu Hasaranga struck twice in that period, castling Jason Roy with a googly for 9 before pinning Jonny Bairstow lbw, again off a googly, for a golden duck, which Sri Lanka successfully reviewed. Only three balls before Bairstow’s fall, Dushmantha Chameera had knocked over Dawid Malan to easily make it the poorest of England starts in the tournament.

Not in the best of forms of late, Eoin Morgan found himself nabbed by the Lankan bowlers, who did not allow England to score a single boundary in overs 6-10. However, the duo stood undeterred, ensuring to get their eyes in before making hay later. Buttler broke the shackles in the 13th over when he smacked a four and six off Chamika Karunaratne before reaching what was his slowest T20I fifty, off 45 balls. Little did Sri Lanka know what was in store.

Boss Buttler 

That there was no bang at the start did not mean there was not any at all. Buttler, at the halfway mark, was 24 off 30, which improved to 50 off 46 later. He scored 51 in the next 21 balls. The foundation of that assault was set against Lahiru Kumara, who Buttler belted for two sixes through long-off in the 15th over after Morgan had already picked one.

Buttler took a similar charge against Dasun Shanaka in the 18th, smoking him 6, 6, 4 to move into the 80s. The 78-ball 112-run stand, which ended when Hasaranga’s googly rattled Morgan’s stumps for 40 off 36, had put England’s lacklustre start quite behind.

Thanks to Buttler, England scored 53 in the last four overs, with him reaching a century in scintillating style: Buttler was 87 off 61 at the start of the final over but could reach only 95 with a ball left. He whipped a Chameera full-toss over square leg to notch up the landmark off 67 balls, with six fours and as many sixes.

Ominous start 

England did script a brilliant recovery from 47/3 at the halfway mark to post 160-plus on the board, although Sri Lanka were still only chasing eight an over. The start was horrible for Sri Lanka, who lost Pathum Nissanka in the opening over of their response courtesy a sensational throw from Morgan that helped Buttler catch Nissanka short of his ground.

The early wicket notwithstanding, Charith Asalanka accelerated from his end, whacking Chris Woakes for a six and four before picking two boundaries off Moeen Ali. His gutsy 16-ball 21, though, came to an end when he holed out to Ali off Adil Rashid. Morgan then caught an impressive catch inside the ring, sending back Kusal Perera to give Rashid (2/19) his second inside the powerplay.

Sri Lanka slide 

Continuing his insipid run of form, Avishka Fernando laboured his way to 13 off 14 before Chris Jordan rapped him plumb on the pads. Bhanuka Rajapakse counterattacked against Woakes, hitting for a four and six on consecutive deliveries but the bowler had the last laugh when he had him caught in the deep for 26. Woakes finished 1/25 in 2.3 overs.

Sri Lanka were kept alive by a 53-run stand between Hasaranga (34 off 21) and Shanaka (26 off 25). However, the duo held their nerves and put the act together only to lose it all at the wrong time. England received a major setback when Tymal Mills left the field after pulling a muscle, leaving them with their best death bowler short.

Despite that, things changed in a jiffy, with Sri Lanka slipping from 129/5 to 137 all-out. Mills exit forced England to use Liam Livingstone but that boded well when Hasaranga perished to a brilliant relay catch in the deep off him. That was only the start of a collapse, with Buttler’s sensational direct hit leading to Shanaka’s run-out, while Ali (2/15) and Jordan (2/24) wrapped the tail with an over left.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: