Cricket: Buttler's half century drives England past 300

LONDON (Reuters) – Jos Buttler scored an unbeaten half century to propel England past the 300-run mark at lunch on the second day of the fifth and final test on Saturday after India’s bowlers had put the visitors on top with a disciplined spell of swing bowling on the first day. With England having already built up an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series after victory in Southampton last week, India were looking to salvage some pride at The Oval after reducing the hosts to 198-7 at stumps on Friday. Buttler, however, got some good support from fast bowler Stuart Broad who grafted his way to 36 runs to thwart the visitors and build up a respectable first-innings total of 304-8. Jasprit Bumrah made the early breakthrough for India by trapping night watchman Adil Rashid lbw for 15 runs by getting the ball to skid through his defences. A review showed it would have gone on to clip leg stump. Rashid’s dismissal brought Broad to the crease. He played and missed numerous times, with Mohammed Shami and Bumrah getting the ball to swing in chilly and slightly overcast conditions. At the other end, Buttler grew in confidence and kept the scoreboard ticking along at a healthy clip as he has done numerous times in the series with the tail enders. The duo put on 89 runs for the ninth wicket with India’s bowlers failing to make a breakthrough as Buttler struck some lovely shots on either side of the wicket to pepper his knock with six boundaries. On Friday, England’s Alastair Cook, who is playing in his final test, hit 71 but fell short of a dream farewell century as India’s bowlers roared back to leave the hosts reeling in the final session.

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