England batsman Jos Buttler praised the efforts of his bowling contingent but admitted there was a sense of frustration after Australia’s final two wickets produced 162 runs on day one of the first Ashes Test.
England looked set to blow Australia away for a sub-par score after the visitors were reduced to 122-8 amid a fast bowling blitz from seamers Stuart Broad (5-86) and Chris Woakes (3-58).
But a dogged rearguard action from tailenders Peter Siddle (44 from 85) and Nathan Lyon (12 from 26) helped set the platform from which centurion Steve Smith (144) could claw Australia back into the contest.
The scoreline will leave both sides believing they can still win the game from the positions they find themsleves in, but Buttler admitted an even outcome could so easily have swayed heavily in England’s favour.
— Cricket365 (@Cricket365) August 1, 2019
“[It’s] a little bit frustrating in the end,” Buttler told Ian Ward of Sky Sports following the close of play.
“We bowled fantastically well but the partnership between Smith and Siddle was frustrating that we couldn’t break it earlier.”
Asked if England could’ve done anything different to conclude the innings quicker, Buttler replied: “It’s very tough. Do you put everyone (fielders) back or suck it up? We have to find a way of keeping the potential dismissal in the game as well.
“But we never quite got enough balls at numbers 10 and 11.”
On the prospect of Australia’s total being around par, Buttler stated: “Potentially, yes it is.”
“It’s tough to say. I thought we bowled fantastically well, especially after going a bowler down (Anderson).
“It was tricky for the guys to keep going. But it was an exceptional innings from Smith and we’ll see what kind of score that is tomorrow.”
Anderson left the game complaining of tightness in the same calf that ruled him out of the warm-up game versus Ireland. The ECB confirmed that Anderson would undergo a scan, but refused to comment further on the seamer’s status.
Jofra Archer has changed the mood if not the scoreline.
Steve Smith out, Marnus Labuschagne in.
Woakes enjoyed Archer v Smith just as much as the rest of us.
The marquee might read England v Australia, but we all know it’s Steve Smith v Jofra Archer
Thankfully, Smith appears to have suffered no lasting damage.
Olly Stone has been ruled out of the rest of the season with a partial lower back stress fracture.
It’ll take a superb spell of bowling or a shambolic batting collapse for either side to win from here.
Click to see Steve Smith’s ‘cat on a hot tin roof’ impression.
“I need more time to think, that’s the honest answer. It’s a big decision, it’s a big commitment.”