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England break ODI record with total of 498-4 in Netherlands

In a particularly eye-catching start to Matthew Mott’s tenure as their new white-ball coach, Buttler pummelled 14 sixes and seven fours as the feel-good factor from England’s Test side spilled over to continental Europe on a day of team and individual milestones.

Dawid Malan (125) and Phil Salt (122) also both made maiden ODI centuries, off 90 and 82 balls respectively, as the Netherlands bowlers were smashed to all parts of the ground before England dismissed them for 266.

England’s total eclipsed the 481-6 they made against Australia at Trent Bridge in 2018, and surpassed the List A record of 496-4, scored by Surrey in 2007.

A total of 26 sixes rained down on the uncovered stands in Amstelveen, and fans assisted the Dutch players in searching for the ball every time it disappeared into the forest which surrounds the ground.

Not all of them were found with nine balls, at a cost to the Dutch federation of 130 euros a go, left unaccounted for during Buttler’s brutal assault.

Fittingly Buttler hit the runs for England to reach the record ODI total, with a six launched over deep mid-wicket off Shane Snater on a miserable day for the Dutch bowlers, with leg-spinner Philippe Boissevain’s 10 wicketless overs costing 108 runs.

Liam Livingstone’s cameo at the end of the innings was just two balls short of the fastest ODI half-century as he blasted a half-century off just 17 balls, finishing with 66 off 22 balls.

“Boring boring England” sang the travelling fans in jest as Livingstone managed only a four off the penultimate ball of their innings which meant the tourists missed out on 500, but they were soon cheering again when he dispatched the last one for yet another six.

Netherlands’ response was decidedly more low key as wicketkeeper Scott Edwards made a defiant unbeaten 72 while Moeen Ali finished the pick of the attack with 3-57.

This was the first occasion an ODI between the two sides had been played on Dutch soil, and it was an altogether-different experience than the very first time an England XI took to the field here.

A side featuring future stars Alec Stewart, Nasser Hussain and Derek Pringle suffered a humiliating loss to the Netherlands at the same ground in 1989 – struggling to bowl in the drizzle on a slippery coconut matting wicket in their pimple-soled training shoes.

The straw-coloured grass pitch carefully prepared by Benno van Nierop at the VRA Cricket Ground over three decades later was hard, true and perfect for run-scoring on a day when the mercury touched 30 degrees Celsius.

Dutch skipper Pieter Seelar’s decision to bowl may have been made to look dubious in hindsight but England counterpart Eoin Morgan admitted he too would have bowled first and the early wicket of Jason Roy for one did provide early vindication.

After Roy departed – bowled by his cousin Snater from the ninth ball of the innings – the Netherlands had further chances too. Snater spilled Salt at deep point off Bas de Leede on 40, then three balls later Malan overturned a marginal lbw decision on review after he was struck on the pad by Seelaar reverse sweeping.

Seelaar, at least, was able to account for opposite number Morgan who, perhaps smelling some easy runs to ease himself back into form, promoted himself up the order only to fall lbw for a first-ball duck.

Brilliant Buttler explodes
Even by his own dizzying standards this was quite breathtaking hitting from Buttler, as he struck the ball so cleanly he seemed to be playing a different game to everyone else.

Fresh from a productive stint in the Indian Premier League the 31-year-old is currently the best white-ball batter in world cricket, operating at the peak of his powers.

A caveat to this knock must be placed in the context of the strength of bowling, given England were playing an Associate nation. Indeed, the Dutch did not even have a frontline attack for arguably their blue riband series of the summer.

Fred Klaassen and Roelof van der Merwe were among those who remained with their county sides and will play in the T20 Blast on Friday night. The Dutch federation can demand their mandatory release, but with a small pool of players there is a little appetite from either side to rattle cages.

Nevertheless, Buttler’s knock was stunning. His century came off 47 balls, 150 off 65, as his fast hands and strong wrists proved destructive. The Dutch bowlers simply did not know where to bowl to him, as their brains became scrambled in the carnage.

He offered two chances on 17 and 37 as Vikramjit Singh got finger tips on a high one while Musa Nadeem Ahmad shelled a more straightforward opportunity 20 runs later. It would prove costly.

England’s huge batting depth
Without multi-format players Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ben Stokes this was a chance for some of England’s other white-ball players to shine, and reflected the depth of options new coach Mott has in the batting department.

Malan became the third England batter, after Buttler and Heather Knight, to make a ton across all three formats as he and Salt played with great tempo mixing finesse with aggressive strokeplay to lay the platform for such a monumental total.

Equally so, Livingstone’s stand-and-deliver style – his fifty featuring five fours and sixes – will doubtless have impressed Mott, albeit with the realisation sterner opponents than the team ranked 14th in the ICC ODI rankings lie ahead.

Almost inevitably, England’s bowlers were left in the shade but they largely kept their discipline – Sam Curran’s 2-46 relatively encouraging on his return.

Mott has been dubbed a “legacy coach” charged with turning England’s limited-overs team from a good side to a great one. On a frenzied, dizzying day of batting in a sleepy town on the outskirts of Amsterdam, this was not a bad start.

‘Feels like I’m in the form of my life’
Player of the match Jos Buttler: “It certainly feels like I’m in the form of my life! The IPL couldn’t have gone much better for me so I was feeling in good touch coming here.

“It was a really good wicket, we got off to a good start and that gave me the licence to really attack.

“The Ashes made it a tough winter and I had two months off after that which was really refreshing for me. I turned up to the IPL fresh without many expectations and that was key to getting me back to enjoying my cricket.

“It’s been a good start [for Matthew Mott], hasn’t it? We’ve been a solid team for a number of years now and we know our style of play. He doesn’t want to change that, there will be some sharpening up in some areas but it is a really exciting time for us.”

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