ENGLAND may fit Jos Buttler straight back into their first-choice Test team after his spectacular return to form in white-ball cricket.

Buttler went 22 international innings without even a half-century, between two wonderful hundreds against New Zealand in June and then Pakistan on Friday.


The wicketkeeper smashed his own record for England’s fastest ever one-day international century, shaving 15 balls off his previous best to race to three figures in just 46 deliveries this time.

Buttler, whose latest display puts him joint seventh in the all-time global list, appears three times in the world’s 30 quickest – each of his hundreds to date having come in 66 balls or fewer.

It is hard to credit, given his sustained brilliance at the Dubai International Stadium, that – after failing once more on the same ground in last month’s second Test, England had to drop him.

Buttler was replaced by Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps in Sharjah, where England slid to a 2-0 series defeat against Pakistan.

But after his stellar role in an 84-run victory to clinch the ODI series 3-1, that status as understudy for the Test tour of South Africa may be revised.

England announced a 16-man squad two days ago, including Buttler and Bairstow, for a trip which starts next month - and the consensus was that the Yorkshireman must be in possession of the gloves.

There have already been some unsentimental calls, however, under the regime of coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Alastair Cook – notably the shock omission of five-time Ashes-winner Ian Bell from their plans for South Africa.