Jos Buttler denies rivalry over wicketkeeper's role with Jonny Bairstow
Jos Buttler says he is "not fussed" about being England's first-choice wicketkeeper and hosed down any suggestion of a rivalry with Jonny Bairstow over the role at the end of the third day at the Ageus Bowl.
Buttler has had mixed fortunes behind the stumps after Bairstow's fractured finger forced a him to hand over the gloves for this Test but, while Bairstow has made it clear he wants to reclaim the job as soon as he is fit, Buttler said there was no jostling for the role or problems between the two team-mates.
"Not at all from my angle, and not from Jonny's either," said Buttler. "It's not been a problem at all.
"Obviously Jonny's not fit to keep wicket in this match, which is frustrating for him because he's been fantastic for the last few years. Whatever happens moving forward, it doesn't affect me or Jonny.
After a day in which England's rejigged top order struggled to assert themselves, Butter - who top-scored with 69 - suggested that, far from coveting the gloves full time, he is simply happy to keep his place in the Test team.
"I'm not fussed," he said. "From a few months ago, to even be in the Test match side is fantastic - so gloves on or not, it doesn't matter."
England were 122 for 5 when Buttler joined Ben Stokes at the crease and, while Sam Curran impressed once more with his fearless brand of batting, it was the Buttler-Stokes partnership that righted the ship after Joe Root was run out for the second time in the series.
"We've batted together in quite a lot of situations in different formats, so that rapport is obviously comforting in a way and allows you to get the best out of each other," Buttler said of a player who has been a regular team-mate in white-ball cricket for England and, latterly, for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL too.
"We've got that right, left-hand combination, trying to rotate the strike and not let bowlers settle. We just went about it the same way ... trying to extend the partnership, and slowly and steadily building the lead."
With a lead of 233 and two wickets in hand, England may just have the upper hand in this contest, although it would be foolish to discount what the likes of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara could produce in the fourth-innings chase. But Buttler feels there are signs the pitch could be deteriorating sufficiently for Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid to make inroads in India's batting line-up.
"You've seen the wear and tear in the wicket - even in the first innings as well, there was quite a bit of rough outside the right-hander's off-stump," said Buttler.
"That's promising for Moeen and Adil - and with the seamers, we've seen a bit of variable bounce. So I think it's nice to have the runs on the board."