Bangladesh v England Third ODI: Don't get mad, Buttler, get even

What the Buttler saw: Bangladesh players celebrate the wicket of England's captain
What the Buttler saw: Bangladesh players celebrate the wicket of England's captain

An acrimonious ODI defeat in Bangladesh has set up what could be a hot-tempered decider. Ralph Ellis warns that England must keep their cool.

"Having scored the first ODI century of his career in the opening match of this series Stokes is 6.05/1 on the Sportsbook to be England’s top scorer this time and providing he channels his emotions correctly that’s great value."

Bangladesh v England
Wednesday October 12, 09:30
Live on Sky Sports 2


There's a myth in sport that some top players can be "too nice" to be a winner. I've heard it said of Gareth Southgate in the last week or so, and suggested too about England's stand-in cricket captain Jos Buttler.

Now I don't know Buttler, although I know that all the cricket writers speak very highly of his warm and approachable personality. But I have known Gareth very well for many years, and I'm happy to confirm that he is a lovely bloke.

But too nice? Not a bit of it. I saw up close how as Aston Villa captain he was willing to confront anybody from fellow players to managers or the chairman when he wasn't happy about different issues. He'll be just as strong in his current role as England's stand-in football manager.

The truth is that the people who are genuinely too nice, who shy away from confrontation and won't stand their ground, have fallen by the wayside long before they play professional sport at all, never mind reach international level.

And that's where I wasn't as surprised as some people to see Buttler angrily confronting the Bangladesh players who had celebrated in his face after getting him out in Sunday's One Day international.

"You always write about what a soft guy I am but maybe you don't know me," he told the cricket writers afterwards.

He'll find out today what sanctions the match referee Javagal Srinath will take against him for his actions, and whether his vice captain Ben Stokes will also be punished for getting in a row when, he claimed, Tamim Iqbal brushed past him rather than shake hands at the end.

It's thrown a fascinating extra dimension to Wednesday's final One-dayer in Chittagong. What was expected to be a dead rubber in a friendly series has now become a decider with a bit of bad blood on both sides.

England are 1.548/15 favourites to win, but the question will be whether Buttler and Stokes can set an example by not getting mad but getting even. They have to have the last word by scoring runs and taking wickets and not by getting caught up in any more schoolyard rows.

Stokes, especially, will be key. Having scored the first ODI century of his career in the opening match of this series he let himself down with a five-ball duck on Sunday. He's 6.05/1 on the Sportsbook to be England's top scorer this time and providing he channels his emotions correctly that's great value.

Buttler, Stokes and their team can't afford to focus on rows rather than on cricket. Bangladesh have proved in both games that they are a dangerous batting side, while England's bowling hasn't been as good as it should be. The acrimony at the end rather hid how Bangladesh were let off the hook after being reduced to 169-7.

Mashrafe Mortaza produced a sparkling innings of 44 from 29 balls that lifted the home side to a total they could defend, but he did it while being fed a series of full tosses and wayward leg-side balls that made his defiance possible.

That's what England need to focus on before Wednesday. Buttler has got to show his nasty side again, but this time with his own players to make sure they don't let their standards slip a second time.

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