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02 June 201418:53

Buttler is a brilliant talent, says Cook

England captain says Buttler deserved to be on the winning side after his 61-ball century; praises Sangakkara for the hundred that set up Sri Lanka's win

Buttler is a brilliant talent, says Cook - Cricket News

Jos Buttler surpassed Kevin Pietersen’s 69-ball hundred against South Africa when he scored the fastest century by an England player.

Alastair Cook, the England captain, was effusive in his praise for Jos Buttler, who became England's fastest centurion in One-Day Internationals on Saturday (May 31) against Sri Lanka at Lord's. Butter got to his ton off just 61 balls on the way to eventually scoring 121 off 74, but his valiant knock went in vain as Sri Lanka won the fourth ODI by seven runs to level the five-match series at 2-2.

"He is a brilliant talent and is really finding his feet now in international cricket," Cook told ecb.co.uk. "He's played for a year or so, almost two years, and that's what it takes for a guy to get used to the difference in international cricket from county cricket. Anyone who hits the ball like that in 360 degrees, it is very hard to defend against."

Buttler surpassed Kevin Pietersen’s 69-ball hundred against South Africa at East London in 2005, and his knock was also the quickest century at Lord’s, bettering the 82-ball mark that Clive Lloyd had made in a memorable century during the final of the inaugural World Cup in 1975.

"I am gutted for him that he's on the wrong side of defeat because an innings like that deserves to win it," said Cook. "A great hundred and hopefully there will be lots to come from him."

Sri Lanka, who collapsed for 67 in the third ODI, was propelled to 300 for 9 courtesy Kumar Sangakkara's 112. Sangakkara's stand of 172 for the second wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made 71, helped set up the win. But England struck regularly to rein in the score once the duo was dismissed.

"We did really well to keep them to 300. From the start they got off to, Sangakkara and Dilshan played incredibly well," said Cook. “That was a great hundred from Sangakkara, a world-class player. We didn't drop any chances in the field. We bowled pretty well, probably not the best bowling performance we have done, but pretty well.

“Sometimes you just have to put your hands up and say the opposition were better than us with the bat. We did well in the last 15 overs to restrict them. 160-70 going into the power play and to restrict them to 300 was a really good effort.”

England was chasing a win that would seal the series, but with both openers falling inside four overs, the task was made tougher. Gary Ballance and Joe Root steadied the innings with an 84-run stand, but England lost the set pair and Eoin Morgan soon after, leaving the score 111 for 5.

That was when Buttler led the revival alongside Ravi Bopara. “They rebuilt, of course they will look at boundary options they could have tried to take. But you saw as soon as we put a bit of pressure back on Sri Lanka, by Jos playing incredibly well, we got a bit of momentum. We just couldn't get out of that rut," felt Cook. “We knew we couldn't lose too many more wickets early on because you are then definitively out of the game. We did have to take it deep, we just didn't do quite enough.”

Sri Lanka's win set up Tuesday's decider well, and Cook was optimistic of clinching the series. “It will be a brilliant game of cricket and hopefully we can get it all right in that one game and take the series,” he said.