Buttler boosts England after disappointing day with the bat
Jos Buttler’s late fightback papered over the cracks after England failed to make the most of Australian mistakes on day one of the final Ashes Test at The Oval.
Fighting to avoid a first defeat on home shores since 2001 but unable to reclaim the urn, the hosts were surprised to be sent in on a true pitch and reached stumps on 271 for eight with Buttler unbeaten on a counter-attacking 64.
Australia’s gamble having won the toss faltered when they dropped home captain Joe Root three times – on 24, 25 and 30 – and allowed England moved to 170 for three at the start of the the final session.
The stage was set for England to knuckle down to a match-winning first innings but they instead lost five for 56, including Root for 57, and were staring down the barrel when Buttler launched his fightback.
Hit on the chest on 17 he decided to take matters into his own hands, peppering the boundary and unloading three sixes as he put on 45 with ninth-wicket partner Jack Leach.
Mitchell Marsh was the unlikely source of England’s earlier struggles, the all-rounder having been recalled for his first game of the series nine months after being dropped over concerns about his weight and conditioning.
He took four for 35, currently his career-best figures, before an attack of cramp interrupted his quest for a maiden five-for.