Natwest Series 2013: New Heroes Will Continue to Thrive in Southampton
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Michael Carberry and Jos Buttler produced performances under pressure as England tied the NatWest Series with Australia and go into the deciding match in Southampton match with the confidence to help close out the series.
Carberry needed a score of significance to remain in contention for the World Cup in 2015, while Buttler needed to deliver on the promise shown in the domestic game and in performances for the Lions.
Both men delivered, which will give them the confidence to drive England to victory again as the NatWest Series draws to a close.
Carberry, in particular, will have been boosted by his performance. After a dreadful debut when he dropped two catches and scored just 10 runs, he was spectacularly run out by Kevin Pietersen for a duck in his next game.
To make matters worse, he stood at the other end and watched Clint McKay take a hat-trick and reduce England to 8-3. With the pressure on, Carberry absolutely had to deliver.
England's new boys Michael Carberry, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes star in 3 wicket win at Cardiff.. All set for a cracking final game #EngvAus— cricnewsonline (@cricnewsonline) September 14, 2013
Aided by Eoin Morgan, Carberry was able to dig England out of their hole and get the score back to respectability. The 32-year-old handled his responsibilities well against an aggressive Australia attack.
He was struck on the hand, arm and shoulder by short-pitched deliveries, but rode it out and had the presence of mind to put away the bad balls. He's a stylish player, but balanced that with a solid defence that showed good awareness of the situation.
Compare that with Joe Root's extravagant drive at McKay's hat-trick ball and maybe there is something said for going with a more experienced head in 2015.
Carberry rode his luck at times with some thick edges and mistimed heaves, but every run he put on with Morgan was crucial in getting them back on top of the required rate. That stand was good for 108 runs until Morgan tried to cut a ball far too close to his body and played onto his stumps.
When Buttler came to the wicket, the game was still in the balance. Ravi Bopara had looked uncomfortable and it was almost a relief to see him go. Buttler and Stokes needed to be the pair to guide England to victory.
Buttler's impressive hitting showed up the top order batsmen, as England's wicket-keeper seemed to time everything from the moment he arrived at the crease. Morgan noted after the game that Buttler prepares himself for precisely this sort of situation, as BBC Sport's Sam Sheringham reported:
Buttler is a very cool guy. He practices so hard at hitting at the death and that's where he comes into his own. He's one of the best in the world at it.
Today was a great fighting win and Monday will be a final for us. It's a great opportunity to win a series with a young side.
England have come under fire for fielding an inexperienced team, but they are starting to repay the selectors' faith. Carberry can take his score and build on it with better support from the top order, and Buttler's success will only spur him on to better things.
England desperately needed to win in Cardiff, and they showed the fight and desire necessary to do so. Expect that to continue in Southampton.
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