Ashes 2015: Jos Buttler's walk a rare act of charity in cut-throat series

Buttler walked even when umpire Kumar Dharmasena gave him not-out

Click to follow
The Independent Online

It takes something remarkable to silence the traditional Lord's hum – but Jos Buttler managed it on Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately for England, it wasn’t a towering six into the pavilion or a breakneck century during a stirring fightback that led to the momentary peace. It was, rather more prosaically, a turn on his heels and a swift march back to the dressing room after a faint tickle to Peter Nevill off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.

Replays revealed a tiny nick through to the Aussie wicketkeeper. As Lyon appealed, the close fielders implored umpire Kumar Dharmasena to raise his finger. The Sri Lankan umpire then indicated that he didn’t need to – because Buttler was already halfway back to the pavilion.

 

In a series that matters more to both sides than any other, and at a critical stage in England’s innings, Buttler’s act was a surprise, not only to Michael Clarke’s men but also, more than likely, to his captain Alastair Cook at the other end.

Buttler had been less charitable six overs earlier when he stood his ground after edging Mitchell Johnson to Nevill, who took a stunning diving catch.

Nevill was mobbed by his team-mates but replays showed that the catch had been grounded the moment he completed his dive.

That reprieve should have seen Buttler go on to enjoy himself under clear Lord’s skies against an attack struggling to recreate the menace of the previous evening. As it was, he added just four to his score before giving Lyon a wicket in the opening ball of his spell.

The momentary hush in the ground was in sharp contrast to the noise that Buttler’s act of sportsmanship made on social media. David Hussey, the former Australia one-day batsman, took to Twitter to praise the England wicketkeeper. “The #Butlerwalk should happen more often. #spiritofcricket #qualitypersonisbutler (sic)”, he wrote.

For Buttler, it cements his reputation as one of the good guys in this new era for English cricket and comes after the softly-spoken former Somerset man found himself on the receiving end in  last year’s one-day series against Sri Lanka.

Then, at Edgbaston, he was run out at the non-striker’s end – the victim of a Mankad dismissal courtesy of spinner Sachithra Senanayake. Buttler had already been warned once about his over-zealous backing up and his run-out was seen as a legitimate dismissal by the Sri Lankan tourists.

That dismissal once again raised the question of whether the spirit of the game was more myth than reality. Buttler, though, has done his bit to restore the faith, proving that even the pressure cooker of an Ashes Test shouldn’t preclude a batsman from walking off after nicking the ball.

Just don’t expect too many others to follow his lead over the next two days – or however long it takes Australia to tie up the series.

Comments