IPL form leads to England star Jos Buttler's Test return for Pakistan series

David Cooper 15/05/2018
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Buttler has been in scintillating for in IPL. Image: BCCI.

Jos Buttler was rewarded for his stellar performance in the ongoing Indian Premier League with a return to England‘s Test squad at the expense of James Vince.

England’s new national selector Ed Smith announced a 12-man squad on Tuesday to face Pakistan at Lord’s next week, in which there is no place for Vince. There was also a potential debut for Somerset off-spinner Dom Bess.

Vince’s match-saving, unbeaten double-century for Hampshire on the eve of the selection meeting seemed sure to keep him in the frame – but Smith has instead been persuaded by Buttler’s wonderful run of form at the Indian Premier League.

Buttler, who played the last of his previous 18 Tests in December 2016 but is an inked-in white-ball player for his country, will be back as a specialist batsman – with Jonny Bairstow retaining the wicket-keeping gloves.

Twenty-year-old Bess, whose opportunity comes after his Somerset team-mate Jack Leach broke his thumb in the nets on Monday, has made just 16 first-class appearances to date.

England’s new national selector Smith believes it is “the perfect moment” to reintroduce Buttler to Test cricket. Buttler has smashed five fifties in a row in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals.

Smith said: “Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England’s white ball teams. The selection panel feels that this is the perfect moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket, where he has already enjoyed some success, including a stint playing as a specialist batsman at number seven.

“Jos is playing with great confidence and flair, and he will bring unique qualities to the Test team.”

England Test squad:

Joe Root (c), James Anderson,  Jonny Bairstow (wk), Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

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Ireland v Pakistan LIVE day five: Imam-ul-Haq steers Pakistan to five-wicket win

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Ireland took three early wickets against Pakistan at Malahide on Tuesday to give themselves hope of a sensational victory after following on in their debut match as a men’s Test nation. Pakistan, set a seemingly modest 160 for victory on the fifth and final day, slumped to 14 for three inside five overs.

Just four balls into their chase, Pakistan saw experienced opener Azhar Ali undone by a Tim Murtagh delivery he could only edge to Paul Stirling at first slip. Haris Sohail (seven) fell next, well taken in the gully by Ed Joyce off towering fast bowler Boyd Rankin as Ireland’s two former England internationals combined.

Pakistan reached lunch on 52-3 with opener Imam-ul-Haq batting on 33. Post lunch, Imam-up-Haq and Babar Azam continued to build on their promising stand. The two ultimately added 126 runs for the fourth wicket before Azam was run-out after a horrible mix-up.

Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was dismissed for eight runs but Imam-up-Haq remained unbeaten on 74 as Pakistan won by five wickets to spare in the end.

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Pakistan set 160 to win first Test against Ireland

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Pakistan were set a target of 160 to win their stand alone-Test against Ireland at Malahide on Tuesday’s fifth and final day.

Ireland, making their debut in men’s Test cricket, were bowled out for 339 in their second innings after being made to follow-on.

Kevin O’Brien, who on Monday became the first Ireland batsman to score a Test hundred, fell to his first ball Tuesday as Mohammad Abbas had him caught by Haris Sohail at slip for his overnight 118.

Ireland, resuming on 319 for seven, lost their last three wickets for 20 runs on Tuesday.

Abbas did all the damage in a burst of three wickets for 12 runs in 22 balls, with the paceman finishing with innings figures of five for 66 in 28.3 overs.

Only three sides in the 141-year history of Test cricket have won after being made to follow-on and only one men’s team — Australia in the inaugural Test against England at Melbourne in 1877 — have enjoyed a victory in their debut match at this level.

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