Livingstone values 'entertainment' in six-hitting rivalry with Buttler

Liam Livingstone emphasises importance of ‘entertainment’ in his six-hitting rivalry with Jos Buttler… with England attempting to take batting to stratospheric heights in third and final ODI against Holland

  • Liam Livingstone and Jos Buttler added 91 off 32 balls against Holland on Friday 
  • The England batsmen helped establish a world-record total of 498 for four 
  • Afterwards Buttler claimed Livingstone was the bigger hitter of the two players 
  • But Livingstone suggested on Tuesday that Buttler had not told the whole story 

Liam Livingstone has spoken of his six-hitting rivalry with Jos Buttler as England attempt to take one-day batting to stratospheric heights.

The pair added a staggering 91 off 32 balls in the first one-day international against the Netherlands last week to establish a world-record total of 498 for four – with Buttler smashing 14 sixes and Livingstone six from just 22 balls.

Afterwards Buttler claimed Livingstone was the bigger hitter, but ahead of Wednesday’s third and final ODI Livingstone suggested that did not tell the whole story.

Liam Livingstone has spoken of his six-hitting rivalry with England team-mate Jos Buttler

The pair added a staggering 91 off 32 balls in the first ODI against the Netherlands

1 Jason Roy, 2 Phil Salt, 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler, 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Sam Curran, 9 Brydon Carse, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 David Payne.

‘I’m not going to argue with that, but he wouldn’t be this modest one on one with me,’ he said. ‘It’s actually quite fun. We play golf together and it’s basically just a long-drive competition. It’s entertaining, isn’t it?

‘I didn’t watch too much cricket during the IPL, but when Jos was batting I’d switch on the TV, and that’s what we want to do – be entertaining for people. Certainly, one he hit the other day was pretty big, but don’t tell him I said that.’

With the Test team starting to go hell for leather under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, six-hitting is all the rage in English cricket right now, and there may be no better exponents in the world game than Buttler and Livingstone.

At the recent IPL, they were first and second in the tournament’s six-hitting table. But although Buttler’s tally of 45 came out on top, Livingstone’s 34 arrived at a faster rate – one every seven balls, compared with Buttler’s one every 13. Livingstone had the higher strike-rate too: an eye-watering 182 to Buttler’s 149.

Buttler smashed 14 sixes as England set a new world record of 498 for four on Friday

One of the most notable features of Livingstone’s unbeaten 66 last Friday was that he was in the groove from the start. After taking a single off his first ball from Pieter Seelaar’s left-arm spin, he clattered 32 in the next over from leg-spinner Philippe Boissevain – four sixes and two fours.

‘It’s something I’ve tried to work on for the last couple of years, and has probably got me into this team,’ he said. Had he managed to score two runs from either of his 15th or 16th deliveries from seamer Shane Snater, he would have broken AB de Villiers’s record for the fastest ODI half-century of all time.

But Livingstone had no idea he was on the verge of history – nor that England were on 488 with two balls to go.

Livingstone hit six sixes from just 22 balls and Buttler claimed the former was the bigger hitter

‘I actually didn’t know we needed 12,’ he said. ‘We were pretty much trying to hit every ball for six at the end, anyway.

‘It was only when the last ball went for six and we walked off, and I saw 498. You always think ‘where was the two runs that we needed?’. We keep improving. Hopefully we’ll get there one day.’

Meanwhile, captain Eoin Morgan and fast bowler Reece Topley were the only two members of the 14-man squad to miss optional nets on Tuesday. 

England will on Wednesday consider handing a first cap to Gloucestershire’s David Payne, one of five left-arm seamers on the tour.

Meanwhile, captain Eoin Morgan was one of two squad members to miss optional nets

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