Nottingham - Jos Buttler said nothing he had done before in
an England career across all formats could top his maiden Test century on
Buttler made 106 and together with Ben Stokes (62) put on
169 for the fifth wicket as England ensured the third Test against India at
Trent Bridge would go into Wednesday's final day.
But with England 311 for nine, still 210 runs shy of a
target of 521, come stumps on the fourth day, they appear destined for a defeat
that will leave them 2-1 up in a five-match series, barring bad weather in
Nottingham or a remarkable double-century stand from their last-wicket duo of
Adil Rashid and James Anderson.
Buttler, after being dropped on one by wicket-keeper Rishabh
Pant, was largely untroubled.
But the advent of the second new ball sparked a flurry of
late wickets that started when Buttler was lbw playing no shot to fast bowler
Nevertheless, Buttler had a measure of satisfaction that in
his 38th Test innings and four years after his debut, when he made his previous
highest score at this level of 85, against India at Southampton, he had finally
reached three figures.
"This is definitely the proudest moment in an England
shirt," Buttler said. "It has been a long time coming, and a few
months ago it was a million miles away."
England white-ball wicket-keeper Buttler was recalled to the
Test side purely on his form in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League earlier this
season in one of Ed Smith's first acts as the new national selector.
"I was never sure if I'd ever play Test cricket
again," said Buttler, appearing in his 23rd match at this level.
"Definitely there were times when I thought that race was run."
Buttler and Stokes's stand was a new fifth-wicket record for
England in the fourth innings of a Test, surpassing the 163 shared by Willie
Watson and Trevor Bailey against Australia at Lord's in 1953.
But whereas Watson and Bailey's celebrated partnership
helped England to a battling draw, Buttler and Stokes appear merely to have delayed
an India win.
But having seen England collapse to 161 all out in the first
innings at Trent Bridge, Buttler said they needed to show more resilience
second time around.
"It was very important for us to turn up today
(Tuesday) and show a lot of character and fight and not give it to India easily
- make them work hard," he explained. "It showed that, no matter what
it is, we're not going to roll over.
"It's disappointing I couldn't make it last a bit
Bumrah's dramatic new-ball burst of three wickets for eight
runs in five balls was a reward for his endurance, as well as skill.
In his first match of the series, following a thumb injury
in a Twenty20 against Ireland in Malahide on June 27, Bumrah bowled 26 overs on
Tuesday that included an impressive pre-lunch spell of one for 10 in nine.
"I was always used to bowling a lot of overs in the
Ranji Trophy which always helps," said Bumrah, who ended the day with an
impressive overall innings haul of five for 85 in 29 overs.
"When I was injured I was working on my fitness, my
training schedules," added the 24-year-old, playing just his fourth Test
following a debut against South Africa in Cape Town in January.
Bumrah insisted India remained positive even when Buttler
and Stokes were well set.
"We always had the belief that if we keep on applying
pressure, sometime or the other we will get the result," he said.