MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Jos Buttler scored a dazzling unbeaten century to guide England to a thrilling one-wicket victory over Australia at Old Trafford on Sunday to seal an unprecedented 5-0 one-day series triumph over their old rivals.
England were in a parlous position at 27 for four, chasing Australia’s total of 205 all out, when the gifted, powerful Butler came to the crease and played one a masterful innings.
Yet even though England crumbled further to 114 for eight, the wicketkeeper kept cool as wickets tumbled around him to smash an unbeaten 110 off 122 balls and seal England’s first 5-0 whitewash over Australia in any form of men’s cricket.
It was a remarkable effort, with the joint next highest English contribution being Adil Rashid’s 20 although the number 10’s 47-ball effort in a ninth-wicket partnership of 81 was also key to helping the home side get across the line.
When Rashid was out with 11 still needed, last man Jake Ball held up the Australian attack for 10 balls, allowing Buttler, who got his ton with a second six, to guide England home with a handsome driven boundary, his 12th, and nine balls to spare.
“I said to Jake if it’s two we’ll run, if it’s one, we won’t. Great guts from him to soak up that pressure and face those balls,” said man of the match Buttler, praising his tail-end colleague at the post-match presentation.
“We were determined to come out and try and win 5-0. We bowled fantastically well and didn’t quite click with the bat. Games where you pull it out of nowhere are extra enjoyable.”
It capped a perfect week for England in which they had also become world record breakers by compiling a 50-over total of 481 at Nottingham on Tuesday.
Buttler had then struck a whirlwind unbeaten half-century to guide them to another victory at Chester-le-Street on Thursday.
The 27-year-old, who also executed a brilliant run-out and stumping on Sunday as Australia succumbed largely to Moeen Ali’s four wickets, was also voted player of the series, having compiled 275 runs from the five matches at an average of 137.5.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played better. It’s very enjoyable. We’re just trying to keep it going,” he said.
England captain Eoin Morgan paid tribute to Buttler, saying: “We were very poor today and Jos really did pull something special out to get us over the line. It was outstanding.
“He’s in control - he’s a very cool, calculated customer with a lot of ability. We got a lot out of that watching from the dressing room.”
Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Ken Ferris