Jos is set for all-out attack
JOS Buttler says he is ready to go on all-out attack when England take on South Africa in the third Test, which starts on Thursday.
The Lancashire wicketkeeper allowed his mood to boil over during the dramatic fifth day victory in the second Test, serving up an expletive-laden outburst after Vernon Philander declined to get out the way of an incoming throw.
He was fined 15 per cent of his match fee and handed one demerit point by the match referee and accepts he fell short of the standards required, apologising to the South African bowler.
However, that won’t stop him looking to attack Philander in another way in Port Elizabeth.
He was dismissed for 29 and 23 at Newlands, but in both innings showed signs of the free-flowing strokeplay that he often keeps back for limited-overs cricket.
Three times he cleared the ropes, hinting at a shift in mindset from a player who has occasionally seemed shackled in his England whites.
“I do think I can get more out of myself by trying to be positive and counter-attack,” he said.
“It’s certainly something I will look to try and continue if the situations allow, to try and throw a few punches back, to try to make the most of my talent and the skills I’ve got.
“I’ll just try to be authentic and play my way.”
Meanwhile, Mark Wood has stepped up his bid to prove he is the man to provide England with the ‘X factor’ they are looking for in their bid to go ahead in the series.
With Lancashire’s James Anderson back home nursing a broken rib, Joe Root’s men are in need of a replacement and would dearly love it to be someone capable of topping 90mph and getting under the batsmen’s skin.
Wood and Jofra Archer tick that box, but both men have question marks over their fitness.
Wood has not played competitively in the six months since England’s World Cup final win, and was named man-of-the-match in his last Test appearance almost a year ago, while Archer has been suffering soreness in his right elbow.
The pair have been hitting the nets over the past two days and it is Wood who has thrust himself to the fore for Thursday’s clash.
He has bowled at full intensity in both sessions, turning in fiery spell yesterday and at one stage thumping team-mate Joe Denly on the glove with a rapid delivery.
Archer, who took six wickets in the series opener at Centurion, is improving but was visibly slower than Wood as they bowled side by side under the gaze of head coach Chris Silverwood.
Any concerns about their durability would bring Chris Woakes back into the frame as a reliable stand-in for Anderson, albeit one who is no longer expected to push the speed gun. Root was back with the side having missed a session with an upset stomach. The captain had been quarantined briefly at the team hotel, a precautionary measure after 11 players and six backroom staff were struck down by illness earlier in the tour.
Lancashire’s Jos Buttler fools around with England team-mate Joe Denly in training