England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler said on Saturday he had been stressing about his lack of test runs and feeling the pressure of mounting speculation about his place in the team.
Buttler has a reputation as a swashbuckling batsman in the limited over games but had averaged only 18 runs in his last seven tests since replacing Jonny Bairstow as wicketkeeper in New Zealand last November.
However, a half century on the opening day of the third and final test against West Indies on Friday lifted some of the stress, he said before resuming at the crease.
Asked if he had been fretting about his place, the 29-year-old Buttler told Sky Sports: “Yes, naturally but I think time in the middle gives you confidence and obviously I hadn’t been doing that.
“But I think it’s more about doing a job for your team which I’m very aware of and if you are not quite performing as well as you want, you realise you’re not doing your job as well as you should be for your team.
“I was definitely feeling pressure. I’ve played long enough now to understand when you’re under pressure and it’s on your shoulders and how to deal with it.”
Buttler looked like a man feeling the burden as he played a circumspect innings on Friday but it proved the perfect foil to the more adventurous Ollie Pope, who was 91 not out when bad light ended play.
Buttler’s 56 not out was his 16th test half century but he has only hit a single ton – against India at Trent Bridge two years ago.
He made it clear he realised the importance of a tempered approach in the red ball game.
“The only time I’ve had success at test level is when I’ve trusted my defence. Lots of people expect me to play a certain way because of the way I play in one-day cricket but I’ve never seen test cricket in that way,” he said.