JOS BUTTLER hid secret heartache as he played his match-winning innings in the First Test — his father went into hospital on Friday evening.
The Lancashire ace scored 75 and helped Chris Woakes in a brilliant partnership of 139 that rescued England from 117-5 to a three-wicket win over Pakistan.
Buttler’s dad Johnny was allowed home last night after a series of tests and scans.
And the England hero’s sister Joanne tweeted: “Pretty f proud given the last three days and being told at 10pm last night your dad was in hospital. That was for you Johnny. Come on England.”
And after seeing his England side take a 1-0 series lead at Old Trafford, captain Joe Root said: “It says a huge amount about Jos as a person that he was able to park that.
“I’m sure it’s a very difficult thing to deal with. It’s one of his big traits — big pressure brings out big performances in him.
“He can deal with those high-pressure situations on the field but to have that external pressure must have been very difficult for him.
“So that’s why Jos Buttler is in this team. It shows his strength of character, strength of mind and being able to read those situations.
“I think this could be a real stepping stone in his career.”
A team spokesperson described Buttler’s dad as having “a few health scares recently”.
Buttler refused to comment about his dad until they had spoken.
But England’s wicketkeeper admitted that, after missing three chances in Pakistan’s first innings, he feared his Test career might be over if he did not score any runs as England pursued 277.
He said: “If I take those chances, we’re not chasing 270-odd to win.
“I know it’s not good enough as an international and I have to perform at a higher level. I expect better from myself.
“Thoughts go through your head that, potentially, if I don’t score any runs, I’ve probably played my last game.
“Those kind of things are in your head but you’ve got to try to shut them out.
“I know I didn’t keep well enough. As a wicketkeeper, there’s nowhere to hide.
“Anyone who drops a catch knows it’s the worst feeling in Test cricket.
“You sit in your room at night and think back to things, there are some lonely nights thinking about it.”