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England v Pakistan

‘He was better balanced’ – The tactical tweak that helped Buttler hit 152

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Nasser Hussain, writing in his column for the Daily Mail, has pointed out how a small tactical tweak from Jos Buttler helped him score 152 in the third Test against Pakistan.

Buttler struggled in the first two West Indies Tests earlier in the summer, with scores of 35, 9, 40 and 0. It prompted calls to replace him with Ben Foakes in the Test team, and allow Buttler to concentrate on white-ball cricket.

However, the wicketkeeper-batsman turned things around, scoring an important 67 in the third Test against West Indies, and has followed it up with 38, 75 and 152 so far in the Pakistan series.

Hussain pointed out that his upturn in form came about after he tinkered with his trigger movements. “Jos Buttler, meanwhile, is another example of someone who has made a change that has worked while he has been playing at the highest level,” Hussain wrote. “At the start of this summer we saw Buttler against the West Indies on this ground with a heavy head and with his balance all wrong. When he was bowled by Alzarri Joseph he ended up almost falling over.

“All Buttler did was slightly tinker so he was a little more open in his trigger movements and he could hit mid-on and straight back past the bowler a bit more. And as soon as he drove Mohammad Abbas early on in his 152 in this final Test you could tell he was better balanced and was in a much better position.”

Hussain also praised Azhar Ali, the Pakistan captain, for his unbeaten 141-run knock in trying circumstances as both his captaincy and spot in the side were under immense scrutiny.

“Azhar also only made a very small alteration but it’s amazing the difference it has made in both innings of this last Test,” he wrote. “Most of all, he has shown incredible mental toughness at a time when his captaincy has been questioned and his side have been struggling.”

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