Ben Stokes reached his half-century as he and Jos Buttler nudged England along to 157-4 in a solid opening session for the hosts on day five of the second Ashes Test at Lord's.

On the ground where they helped England to Cricket World Cup glory against New Zealand last month, the duo dug in to stretch their fifth-wicket partnership to 86.

After a delayed started due to rain, England's batsmen rode their luck at times but escaped unscathed, in the process extending the lead to 165.

Steve Smith was absent from the field after the tourists confirmed he would play no further part in the contest due to a delayed concussion, Marnus Labuschagne cleared to replace the batsman for the remainder of the contest.

Stokes got England up and running with successive boundaries before Australia wasted a review when challenging an unsuccessful lbw appeal against the all-rounder.

David Warner was close to pouncing on a thick Stokes edge, which trickled down to third man for four runs.

Nathan Lyon (0-65) had Stokes prodding following that near-miss, but the Durham man stood firm, reaching 50 prior to the interval.

With Buttler (31 not out) keeping things steady at the other end, Lyon continued to test Stokes as lunch approached, though Australia could not find a breakthrough.

Joe Root will have to work out how long England will bat on before deciding if it is worth risking a declaration, with the early rain cutting it down to 88 overs in the day.

Joe Root baulked at the suggestion he is under less pressure to deliver an Ashes series win because of his part in England's Cricket World Cup victory.

England and Australia resume their famous rivalry at Edgbaston on Thursday, the first of five Tests in a packed seven-week schedule as the hosts aim to build upon their breathless triumph over New Zealand at Lord's with another memorable success in the longest format.

Root was England's leading runs scorer as Eoin Morgan's men lifted the trophy, comfortably dispatching Australia in the semi-finals en route to glory.

But the 28-year-old is captain once again for Test duties, as he was when Australia took back possession of the urn with a 4-0 win on home soil 18 months ago.

"I think if you speak to anyone that's captained England and is on the verge of an Ashes series… to say that it doesn't mean as much as any other event, I don't think any of them would agree. It's huge," Root, who will step up again to the crucial number three position in England's brittle top order, told a pre-match news conference.

"Cricket in this country is at an all-time high and probably has interest it's not had for a long time. We've got an opportunity as a team to make this summer a very memorable one."

It is a joust limited-overs specialist Morgan will watch from afar.

Root spoke warmly of the Irishman's influence on his leadership of the Test team as he seeks to plot a similarly defining triumph.

"I'm sure he's still celebrating somewhere, to be honest," Root grinned. "He's obviously desperate for us to do well.

"He's been great with me in terms of helping me find my feet as a captain and someone I will always will look up to.

"He's a great man and a great leader. He'll be as supportive as anyone watching on from wherever he is – hopefully with a glass of red somewhere."

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes return to the England side after sitting out last week's topsy-turvy Test win over Ireland – the duo prescribed rest after showing nerves of steel to guide England towards and through the super-over finale versus New Zealand.

"When you look back at that final and everything that it threw at the group who played in it, those are experiences you can hold with you for ever," Root said, acknowledging the lingering benefit such exploits could have over the coming weeks.

"For people like Jos and Ben, who spent a long period out there under pressure, it must make you think differently and it'll be interesting to see that unfold throughout this series.

"It can only be positive to have two senior players perform for a long period of time under the biggest scrutiny and pressure in the white-ball format.

"They've got a chance now to take that into the red-ball stuff and into this series."

England and Australia will spend the next seven weeks as fierce rivals with the Ashes on the line.

The return from suspension of three Australia star batsmen means the visitors are back up to full strength as they chase a first Test series win in England for 18 years.

The triumphant 2001 side was loaded with all-time greats including Steve and Mark Waugh, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist.

Few of the England team of the day would have earned a place in Australia's side, such was the absurd strength of the tourists' squad.

However, the gap has closed considerably in the years since, and merging the teams for a combined Ashes XI in 2019 would test the judgment of any selector.

Here is a look at how such a team might look, with grovelling apologies to the strong contenders who missed the cut.


Cameron Bancroft (Australia)

Edgbaston will have a welcome waiting for the man who used sandpaper to tamper with the ball during Australia's Test with South Africa at Newlands last year. Bancroft has the runs for Durham this year to justify his return to Australia's ranks on form, even if many might feel uneasy about his presence after serving a nine-month ban. It could be touch and go whether he opens or bats in the middle order, but he gets the nod for this XI on the basis of England being in an opener crisis.

David Warner (Australia)

The brains behind the Newlands plot is also back in the Test arena. Warner is a mighty batsman, and nobody would question his ability. He comes into the Ashes off a fine World Cup performance, and his wicket will be a prized one within the England ranks. Described in one newspaper verdict of sandpapergate as "the most hated man in cricket", Warner is the man the home crowds would love to see fail, even if privately they would happily have him on their side.

Steve Smith (Australia)

Culled as captain, and banned along with Warner for a year, Smith did nothing to prevent Bancroft and Warner's actions and he will be braced for a barrage of flak during the Ashes. He has the batting chops and the temperament to handle sledging from the stands, however. Smith is the finest middle-order batsman of his generation, a rock of Australia's team and, past mistakes notwithstanding, a de facto leader.

Joe Root (England, captain)

If questions are asked of England's batting line-up, England's skipper usually finds an answer. He may need to provide the glue to bond together several unstable innings over the coming weeks, and there are few more accomplished anchor batsmen in world cricket. His team are the bookmakers' favourites to take the urn, with Root's contribution expected to be pivotal.

Jonny Bairstow (England)

A galvanising force behind England's glorious World Cup campaign, Bairstow has produced worrisome form in the longest format and went for a pair against Ireland. He averages 25.83 in 10 Tests over the past 12 months, dragging down his overall batting average. The Ashes might bring the best out of the Yorkshireman.

Ben Stokes (England)

Stokes will hope to enjoy August 2019 more than August 2018, when he faced the stress of a crown court trial on a charge of affray. Stokes cleared his name and has moved on, reinstated for the Ashes as England's vice-captain and hailed a national hero after his World Cup exploits. Many have crumbled in the face of comparisons to Ian Botham but Stokes thrives on the all-rounder role and could far surpass Beefy's achievements before his career is out. A man who seems made for an Ashes series.

Jos Buttler (England, wicketkeeper)

Tim Paine captains Australia, as well as keeping wicket, because in both senses he is considered a safe pair of hands. But Buttler gets the stumps role here, his explosive batting a tremendous complement to his skill with the gloves. Buttler has come on as a Test cricketer in the last year, as well as being a key component of the white-ball team that many expect him to captain before long. He gives back the Test vice-captaincy to Stokes for this series, but is unlikely to mind.

Pat Cummins (Australia)

Rated by the ICC as the world's number one bowler, Cummins has taken wickets at a prolific rate over the past couple of years. He would earn his place on that basis alone, but Cummins can bat too and made three scores in the forties in the last Ashes series. Years of injury woe are behind him, with the tall paceman capable of wreaking havoc in this series.

Jofra Archer (England)

Here's the wild card. Archer is launching his Test career in the Ashes but has already demonstrated he is a swimmer when tossed in at the deep end. The Barbados-born fast bowler enjoyed a terrific World Cup, defying a painful side strain to emerge as a star of the tournament. The 24-year-old looks like the man England have been waiting for, as the established Anderson-Broad axis enters its twilight days. He should thrive, and play in many of these series.

Nathan Lyon (Australia)

England have worries in the spin department when it comes to Tests, with neither Moeen Ali nor Adil Rashid establishing themselves as reliable wicket-taking slow bowlers at this level. Lyon's average is comfortably better than both England men, and with 86 Tests behind him the one-time Adelaide Oval groundsman has come a long way in the game. He has pouched 343 Test wickets and, regardless of conditions that should favour the seamers, will fancy taking more victims on this tour. A shoo-in for an Ashes dream team.

James Anderson (England)

This will be an Ashes farewell, surely, for Anderson. Few would doubt his capacity to go out in style, with the 37-year-old bidding to add to 575 Test wickets, 104 of which have accounted for Australians. He has succeeded McGrath as the preeminent paceman in the ongoing story of the Ashes, with few seamers capable of matching the craft of the man from Burnley. A late-summer Ashes, after the British heatwave, with plenty of cloud cover likely, could have been designed for Anderson.

England's triumphant squad have received plenty of praise since lifting the Cricket World Cup - and now they have been honoured with a one-of-a-kind championship belt from an unlikely fan.

As a 14-time champion, WWE superstar Triple H knows a thing or two about winning in big situations. And the man with a finishing move called the 'Pedigree' was certainly impressed with the standards shown by Eoin Morgan's side against New Zealand on Sunday, when the tournament hosts prevailed following a dramatic Super Over at the home of cricket.

The wrestler, whose real name is Paul Levesque, tweeted out a message of congratulations to the new ODI champions, along with a picture of a customised world heavyweight championship belt made to mark their success.

"An incredible tournament, an awe-inspiring final, and a team of worthy champions. Congratulations to England Cricket for winning the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019! This custom WWE Championship is YOURS!" Triple H wrote.

The unique strap includes the words "World Cup champions", with the England and Wales Cricket Board's official logo appearing twice, placed either side of the central WWE badge.

However, the generous gift to mark England's achievement does create a problem - who gets to keep it?

Jos Buttler, who was in partnership with Ben Stokes in the middle during England's Super Over, had an on-topic suggestion to decide the owner, tweeting: "Royal rumble lads last man standing keeps the belt?" 

If Buttler's idea comes to fruition, Morgan and his team-mates would have to forget about boundary ropes and focus on the top rope instead. Perhaps Triple H could make an appearance during the upcoming Ashes series against Australia to crown England's new wrestling champion, too.

The Game at a game of cricket? We can only hope...

Jason Roy is set to make his Test debut for England against Ireland, putting him in line for an Ashes call-up next month.

Star batsman Roy is yet to feature in the longest format at international level but was vital to hosts England's Cricket World Cup triumph.

His form in that tournament has earned him a first shot at Test cricket, selected among 13 players to face Ireland in a four-day contest at Lord's with Olly Stone and Lewis Gregory the other uncapped men to earn a spot.

The trio are also included in a 16-man group for a pre-Ashes camp.

There is good news for England, too, with James Anderson's inclusion in the squad, the experienced bowler having recovered from a calf tear.

However, Jofra Archer, another waiting for a Test bow, and Mark Wood are both suffering with side strains.

Wood is set for four to six weeks out while Archer will have a period of rest and return from Barbados later this month, with national selector Ed Smith stating the latter will be out "for a while".

Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler - stars of the World Cup success - have also been granted leave until the pre-Ashes camp ahead of the August 1 opener.

The four-day clash with Ireland begins on July 24.

 

England squad in full for Ireland Test: Joe Root, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

England squad in full for pre-Ashes camp: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Cricket World Cup final match-winner Jos Buttler hopes England's triumph will provide a major boost before the Test team's Ashes series.

Buttler was central to the hosts' World Cup success, putting on a fifth-wicket stand of 110 with Ben Stokes as they chased New Zealand's total, before starring again alongside the same man in the Super Over.

The wicketkeeper then ran out Martin Guptill following Jason Roy's throw to dramatically seal victory at Lord's, sparking incredible celebrations.

And as the festivities continued on Monday, Buttler conceded there had been little time to consider the Ashes against Australia - starting on August 1 - but hoped to build on the World Cup win.

"It's fantastic. It sounds ridiculous, but I don't think many people have been thinking about the Ashes yet," he told Sky Sports.

"I think we'll enjoy some time to let this sink in. But as summers go, this is a great start we can take into the Ashes and enjoy the momentum."

Moeen Ali also believes the trophy can act as a motivating factor, hoping Test skipper Joe Root will have been given a lift.

"I've loved every second of it, so I'm going to take it all in," Moeen added.

"We know the Ashes is around the corner and, in the back of your mind, it's always been there. But the World Cup has never been done before and this was the one thing we all wanted.

"Hopefully we can get even more support than we've ever had in the Ashes at home, which will spur us on.

"That momentum, that drive, I'm sure Rooty will take a lot from this as well. It's going to be an amazing series."

England fast bowler Mark Wood faces a late fitness test ahead of Friday's Cricket World Cup meeting against West Indies - but wicketkeeper Jos Buttler has been declared fully fit.

Wood has reported discomfort in his ankle following Saturday's win over Bangladesh and, given his history of injury problems in that department, could be rested.

Buttler, meanwhile, aggravated a hip problem while batting in the same game, but has received the all-clear to play.

"Jos is fully fit," skipper Eoin Morgan said. "Mark Wood is going to have a fitness test in the morning.

"It's nothing too serious. He pulled up a little bit sore from the game in Cardiff so he is the only concern at the moment.

"His ankle is a little bit sore, I think it [resting him] depends. We haven't bowled pretty much for two days, or he hasn't bowled, so he will have to see how he bowls and if it is still sore, we probably won't take a risk."

Moeen Ali is back with the squad following the birth of his baby daughter on Wednesday and he could replace Wood after being stood down for the previous match as the second spinner.

"[We'll see] whether we feel we might go with four [seamers], like we did in Cardiff, or two spinners might be more effective," Morgan added.

Jos Buttler looks set to be fit for England's Cricket World Cup match against West Indies on Friday as he recovers from a hip injury.

The wicketkeeper-batsman appeared to pick up a knock while hitting a six in Saturday's win over Bangladesh, although he carried on batting after receiving treatment.

The 28-year-old smashed 64 from 44 balls but did not keep wicket, with Jonny Bairstow taking the gloves.

Captain Eoin Morgan insisted after a 106-run victory that Buttler stayed off the field as a precautionary measure and England are hoping he will make a swift return.

"Jos sustained heavy bruising on his right hip during the match against Bangladesh at Cardiff," said an England spokesperson.

"He is responding well to treatment and will be reassessed later this week.

"We anticipate he will train with the rest of the squad at the Hampshire Bowl on Wednesday ahead of the match against West Indies on Friday."

Eoin Morgan calmed fears over the injury scare to Jos Buttler that threatened to sour England's thumping Cricket World Cup win over Bangladesh in Cardiff.

The ODI wicketkeeper could not take to the field for Bangladesh's innings on Saturday after suffering a hip injury when batting.

Jonny Bairstow, the Test keeper, took over from Buttler as England ran out winners by 106 runs to get their tournament campaign back on track.

Buttler had cracked 64 from 44 balls, with four sixes, but he was struggling to run between the wickets for a long part of his innings.

England do not have a match until they tackle the West Indies in Southampton on Friday, however, and Buttler might be back for that.

"There's no serious concern with Jos at the moment," captain Morgan said. "He didn't keep in the innings as a precaution. He'll be monitored over the next 48 hours."

After losing to Pakistan at Trent Bridge, England stacked up 386-6 against Bangladesh before bowling out their opponents for 280.

Morgan added: "We knew we would have to improve to win a tough game against Bangladesh and I think in the batting particularly we were outstanding."

Jason Roy plundered 153 and opening partner Jonny Bairstow made 51 as they put on 128 for the first wicket.

"The two boys at the top of the order set a really solid platform and Jason managed to go on and get quite a significant score at a good clip again," Morgan said.

"So that's great to see. He's intimidating to play against when he does score runs."

Man-of-the-match Roy said at the post-match presentation: "It was great to get out there and right our wrongs from the last game and put in a big performance."

Asked about the fact it was the first time he and Bairstow had given England a strong start together in this World Cup - their previous two stands were of one and 12 - Roy was quick to dismiss the statistic.

"We're only three games in," he said. "We've been doing pretty well together over the last couple of years so we've got nothing much to worry about, I don't think. We'll just go out there and get the job done."

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza praised Shakib Al Hasan, who made a fine century of 121 to hold up England.

Mortaza said: "He's playing so well for us, batting at number three, giving so much depth in the batting. His bowling also has been fantastic. There's a long way to go, still six matches left, and hopefully the other boys will come and step up."

Jos Buttler gave England an injury scare at the Cricket World Cup when a hip problem meant he could not keep wicket against Bangladesh.

Buttler's rapid innings of 64 in England's 386-6 was marred by his clear discomfort when running between the wickets, seemingly caused by a hip issue.

The 28-year-old then did not take the field with England as Bangladesh began their reply in Cardiff, as Jonny Bairstow took over behind the stumps.

England could not risk a key man whose movement was so clearly restricted, and they would not wish Buttler to suffer any greater damage.

In Bairstow they had an accomplished wicketkeeper to call on as Buttler's deputy, with the Test glovesman taking over ODI duties.

James Vince was England's substitute fielder, in the absence of Buttler.

Pakistan halted their 11-match ODI losing streak with a 14-run Cricket World Cup defeat of favourites England despite centuries from Joe Root and Jos Buttler at Trent Bridge.

The ICC Champions Trophy holders were embarrassingly bounced out for 105 in a seven-wicket win for West Indies in their first game of the tournament but showed what they are capable of at the same venue three days later.

Mohammad Hafeez top scored with 84 from only 62 balls after Jason Roy dropped him on 14, which summed up a characteristically below-par showing from the hosts in the field as Pakistan posted 348-8.

Babar Azam (63) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (55) also made half-centuries, Moeen Ali taking 3-50 and Chris Woakes claiming 3-71. He also held four catches, equalling the record for a fielder in a World Cup contest.

The classy Root (107 off 104) took advantage of being put down by Babar on nine by crafting the first hundred of the tournament and put on 130 for the third wicket with the explosive Buttler (103 from 76).

Root and Buttler - whose century was the fastest by an England player in a World Cup match - were dismissed by Shadab Khan (2-63) and Mohammad Amir (2-67) respectively soon after reaching three figures to make it advantage Pakistan.

Wahab Riaz struck twice late in the innings as Pakistan stopped the rot and gained revenge for a recent 4-0 series defeat to England.

What does it mean? Pakistan must be taken seriously

Eoin Morgan said he was prepared for Pakistan's 'A-game' and Sarfraz's side proved they should never be taken lightly with a brilliant batting display.

Fakhar Zaman (36) went out all guns blazing with a license at the top of the order and Hafeez showed age is no barrier, punishing Roy for putting him down a skyer early in a classy innings with powerful hitting and great timing.

Babar also batted with great fluency and captain Sarfraz silenced his critics with a quickfire half-century as Pakistan made England, who were sloppy in the field, toil.

 

Root and Buttler deliver with contrasting styles

England were in big trouble on 114-8 when Shoaib Malik snared Ben Stokes caught behind, but Root and Buttler set up a tense finale.

Root provided the glue, ticking over with aggressive running along with Buttler and putting away loose deliveries with an orthodox approach to score at more than a run a ball, hitting 10 fours and one big six down the ground off Hafeez.

Buttler played his typically expansive shots from the start of his magnificent knock and blasted two huge sixes with the tension building, but he and Root gave it away with tame dismissals soon after raising their bats to leave England facing a tall order.

 

Returning Wahab makes up for lost time

Eyebrows were raised when Wahab was handed a World Cup call-up after two years in the ODI wilderness, but the left-arm quick showed why the selectors put their faith in him.

Wahab generated playing of pace and bowled with great variety, getting Jonny Bairstow caught behind for 32 when he was looking dangerous early in the run chase.

He was on a hat-trick after seeing the back of an out-of-sorts Moeen and Woakes, then caught Jofra Archer in the deep as England finished on 334-9 and Pakistan responded to their Windies drubbing like champions.

Just over four years have passed since England's ODI side suffered one of their lowest moments with a humiliating group-stage exit from the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

An abject campaign in Australia and New Zealand saw England thrashed by both host nations and Sri Lanka, before defeat to Bangladesh sealed their elimination.

The primary problem was not hard to identify. 

England looked like a team stuck in the past as they frequently failed to score quickly enough with the bat, seemingly believing 300 still represented a healthy target even though far greater totals were being routinely tallied up by their rivals.

Fast forward to the present day and the situation could hardly be more different. Eoin Morgan, who took over as captain just before the doomed 2015 campaign, has overseen a remarkable transformation and his men will kick off this year's tournament on home soil as favourites to claim glory.

Ahead of their tournament opener against South Africa at The Oval on Thursday, we take a look at the statistics that spell out England's dramatic batting improvement in the 50-over game.

 

TEAM TOTALS TAKEN TO NEW HEIGHTS

Between the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, England's highest score with the bat was 325-4, while they only reached the 300 mark five times in 79 completed ODIs.

Since the 2015 tournament, England have surpassed 325 on 23 occasions  - often by a huge margin - and twice set a new world record in ODIs by improving on Sri Lanka's mammoth total of 443-9 against the Netherlands, which had stood as the benchmark for more than a decade.

Morgan's side plundered 444-3 versus Pakistan at Trent Bridge in 2016, before raising the bar considerably at the same venue last June with a scarcely believable tally of 481-6 against Australia.

Even accounting for the fact scoring rates as a whole have risen in the past four years, the development from England has been incredible. A team boasting the likes of Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler may fancy its chances of threatening 500 over the coming weeks.

 

MORE THAN TWICE AS MANY HUNDREDS

Unsurprisingly, England have been far more productive in terms of individual century-making during this period of heightened scoring.

In the four years leading up to the 2015 World Cup, England players managed a combined total of 20 ODI hundreds. Ten of those innings were compiled at quicker than a run a ball.

The figures since 2015 show another huge improvement, with the team piling up 48 tons, including 37 at quicker than a run a ball. 

Each of England's six fastest centuries have come since the last World Cup, with Jos Buttler responsible for the two quickest, reaching three figures off 46 and 50 deliveries respectively.

 

SMITH'S RECORD FINALLY TOPPED

England's highest individual score between the 2011 and 2015 World Cups came just before the latter tournament began, Ian Bell striking 141 against Australia in Hobart.

That innings has since been topped on five occasions, while Robin Smith's long-time England ODI record score of 167 has also been overhauled.

Alex Hales struck 171 as part of the aforementioned run-fest against Pakistan in 2016, before Roy thumped 180 in Melbourne last January versus Australia.

Hales, who accounts for three of England's 10 highest scores since the last World Cup, will play no part in this year's tournament after being axed from the squad, but England are still set to have two hugely dangerous openers at their disposal.

Roy will be partnered by Bairstow, a similarly aggressive batsman with seven ODI hundreds since September 2017.

Jofra Archer is a "special talent" who will only make England better, according to Liam Plunkett.

Archer, 24, was named in England's 15-man squad for the Cricket World Cup despite only making his one-day international debut earlier this month.

The paceman has starred at domestic Twenty20 level and Plunkett lauded Archer, who has taken three wickets at an average of 36 in his three ODIs.

"I think he makes the team better. He's a special talent," Plunkett told Omnisport.

"Someone who looks like he cruises in and bowls 93 miles per hour is always a pleasure to have in the team. I think all the guys are on board with that.

"He can make our team that much better. So, I look forward to playing at the World Cup with him."

Archer's rapid rise continued with his inclusion for England, who will go into the tournament as one of the favourites.

Jos Buttler also praised Archer as the World Cup co-hosts prepare for their opening game against South Africa at The Oval on May 30.

"I think he'll go great. I think it's an exciting time. This is such a competitive squad, no one deserved to miss out in the 15. It's disappointing for those guys," he said.

"But it just shows the strength of the squad. It's really exciting for Jofra, we've seen him in the domestic leagues around the world show he's got that big-match temperament.

"He's obviously got an incredible amount of skill and he's impressed in his short time with England so far, so we're excited to see him in action."

New Balance unveiled the 2019 England World Cup and one-day international kit at a Festival of Cricket event in east London, channelling the spirit of the 1992 kit which carried England to the final of the showpiece tournament.

Eoin Morgan lauded Jos Buttler for his "freakish" 55-ball knock that helped England to victory over Pakistan in the second one-day international.

England took a 1-0 series lead - the opener was rained off - as Buttler recorded his country's second-fastest ODI century in a 12-run win in Southampton.

Captain Morgan was at the other end for the entirety of Buttler's innings of 110 and, with the Cricket World Cup just weeks away, he was encouraged by his team-mate's impressive display.

"He's very good. He really is," Morgan said. "I was in prime position to see the whole innings and his freakish knocks seem to be getting closer and closer together.

"That's a great sign for us going forward. He seems to have a gear that not many of us have. I certainly don't have it.

"He always seems to time his run well, however long he has in. It's always open for discussion whether he should bat up the order, but he was the difference today."

Explaining his knack for producing match-turning performances, Buttler added: "Cricket has developed a lot in the last few years and everyone's trying to expand their range at the end of the innings.

"It's a huge part of the game trying to extend that last 15 overs. You start by building a partnership and the guys set a brilliant platform.

"Because we bat deep, that allows us to try to push on a bit earlier in the innings. It's just about trying to get as many as you can as fast as you can."

Jos Buttler scored England's second-fastest ODI century to fire them to a 12-run victory over Pakistan in the second match of the series at Southampton.

Buttler owns the record for England's quickest ton in the 50-over format having hitting a 46-ball hundred against the same opposition in 2015.

He came close to besting that in another devastating performance, which encompassed six fours and nine maximums, as Buttler put on a pivotal partnership of 162 for the fifth-wicket with captain Eoin Morgan (71 not out).

Buttler finished unbeaten on 110 as England closed on 373-3, a target that proved too big for Pakistan even with Fakhar Zaman's superb 138.

The tourists finished with 361-7 and fall 1-0 behind in the series after the opener was rained off earlier this week.

Jason Roy (87) and Jonny Bairstow (51) provided England with a great platform to work with, though their 115-run opening stand would have been curtailed had Bairstow not survived an lbw review.

Bairstow pulled to Fakhar, who made a superb catch at the square leg fence, the ball after reaching his 50 and Roy looped to mid-on after a rain delay checked England's momentum.

Joe Root went to Yasir Shah for 40 but Morgan and Buttler, who brought up his century with a booming shot over long-off, produced a scintillating finish to the innings, the final five overs going for 74.

Pakistan's innings never hit the same heights but 92 runs were on the board by the time Imam-ul-Haq (35) was caught and bowled by Moeen Ali.

Fakhar provided their main threat with 12 fours to go with four maximums, but he was caught behind by Buttler chasing a wide delivery and Pakistan's hopes were dented further when Babar Azam (51) followed five balls later.

Asif Ali (51) kept Pakistan in the hunt with stands of 41 and 49 with Haris Sohail and Sarfaraz Ahmed, but his departure in the 46th over to David Willey - who had dropped him earlier - sparked an excellent spell of death bowling from England. 

The last three overs featured two wickets and no boundaries, with Morgan and Buttler's late firepower ultimately proving the difference.

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