Jos Buttler admits England do not know why they continue to endure catastrophic collapses that are costing them Tests, following a chastening second day in Nottingham.England, replying to India’s first innings of 329, were routed for 161 during an action-packed afternoon. It was the third time in two years they have lost 10 wickets inside a session, following similar implosions against Bangladesh in Dhaka in November 2016 and against New Zealand in Auckland in March.No England team had managed such a fate between 1938 and 2016. It leaves India, who closed 292 runs ahead on 124 for two in their second innings, in complete control of this third Test.Asked if he knew why the collapses kept occurring, Buttler said: “Obviously not, if it keeps happening. Rightly people say it’s been happening too often – which it has. Guys have got to improve. We know that as a side to get to where we want to go we need to eradicate these collapses.
“The key is trying not to make the same mistakes. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again, whether that’s as an individual or as a team. If there’s an obvious weakness as an individual, you need to work on it. As a team, is there a similar thing we need to make sure it’s not happening?“There’s no real substitute for hard work. We know in England conditions can be tough – favourable for swing bowling. Credit to India, I thought they bowled really well and got the ball moving around, and we weren’t good enough to deal with that today.“There’s no magic answer, I don’t think, apart from hard work. It looks like, when one side has that momentum, it seems hard to wrestle back.”Despite what seems a hopeless situation Buttler says Joe Root’s team, who are 2-0 up in the series, genuinely believe they can save this Test. “Yes, of course. Otherwise there’s no point turning up,” he said.“I think any professional sportsman takes pride in playing for their country and we’ll turn up tomorrow and we’ll be fighting hard. No one’s going to give up or throw the towel in.”
England showed signs of frustration in the field during the final session as India built on their first-innings lead, with one incident in the 23rd over of the visitors’ second innings seeing the usually mild-mannered Chris Woakes chastise Adil Rashid for failing to prevent a boundary off his bowling.Buttler, though, insists team spirit is good despite the grim situation the home side face in this match. “There’s a fantastic atmosphere in the changing-room. The group gel well together. There’s a real good feel about it,” he said.“Experience tells you there is no magic key to getting things right. Nobody’s perfect and there’s human error – we’ve got to be better. Everyone is striving to be the best they can. It’s not for a lack of trying.”Buttler also insisted England did not suffer from complacency coming into this match despite blowing away Virat Kohli’s team by an innings in the previous Test at Lord’s.“I’m not sure India were ever going to go anywhere,” he said. “They’re the No 1-ranked side in the world and they’re there for a reason, so they were always going to come back strongly. It was always going to be a competitive series. Just because they were 2-0 down I don’t think we could have taken anything lightly.”Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder whose maiden five-wicket haul in Tests was central to England’s collapse, admitted India pinpointed the weaknesses in the home batting line-up to take a stranglehold on this match. “Yes, they have a few important players and, if you get them out, they get in trouble,” he said. “They have problems but we don’t relax until we get all players out.”