At first glance a 7 run defeat to one of the best one day sides in the world cricket in Sri Lanka seems a fairly respectable result. This is confirmed when you see that Sri Lanka, batting first scored a large 300 - 9. As with most sporting matches though, the score tells on a bit of the tale which unfolded on a warm summers day in the nations capital.
England were dead and burried for most of this game. After the mammoth partnership between Dilshan and Sangakkara worth 172 England were always chasing things. For Sangakkara it was his 19th ODI hundred and he eventually fell for 112 chasing one which turned from Tredwell allowing Butler to remove his bails.
The packed house at Lords gave him a wonderful reception for a marvelous innings. His 112 runs came off only 114 balls and included 14 fours. Few in the crowd would have been brave enough to bet that his innings would not be the best one of the day, and yet that's exactly what would happen.
Cook and Bell came and went for England with less than 10 runs scored. Then after some painstaking rebuilding by Root and Ballance England faltered along to reach 111 - 5 roughly midway through their innings. WASP the new formula used by Sky sports to calculate odds of victory adjudged England's chances as 0% at this point. You could forgive the crowd for their quiet attitude as England stared down the barrel of a heavy defeat.
Enter Jos Butler, who would bring the crowd to their feet more than once. From the first moment he looked calm and poised. With quick running, deft shots and a few huge efforts he along with Ravi Bopara set about chasing the unlikely target. The two put on 130 and suddenly people were believing. Importantly Butler believed.
He has faced critics in his time for not delivering after making good starts but today that would not be the case. He has all the shots and power to be a truly brilliant star for England, in all formats of the game. Under the evening sun at Lords he bludgeoned the Sri Lanka attack including Malinga to all parts of the ground. After successive sixes in the over before he eventually drove to long off scrambled two and reached the magical three figures for the first time as an England player in 32 attempts.
What was more remarkable about this special innings was that he did it in record time. His 100 runs were scored from a meager 61 balls surpassing the previous record held by Kevin Pietersen consisting of 69 balls set in 2005. If he achieves as much as KP im sure many a fan will be delighted.
Butlers innings saw him score all around the ground yet his best shots were the lofted cover drives. His balance, timing and shot selection were impeccable all day long and his efforts deserved more than they got today.
Butler has the talent with the bat and the gloves to be England's number 7 in all three formats. If he can build on the wonderful knock seen today at the home of cricket there is no reason why come the test matches why he wont be the one standing behind the stumps.
His move to Lancashire and relationship with Peter Moores may well tip the balance for Butler but he needs to show this kind of form a few more times to remove the whispering doubters.
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