Cook pushes England to maintain winning momentum

Captain revels in team’s massive third Test victory against India.

Afp August 01, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON: England captain Alastair Cook urged his side to show the same ‘relentless’ approach that characterised their 266-run win over India in the third Test at Southampton when the series continues at Old Trafford next week.

Thursday’s victory at the Ageas Bowl saw England level the five-match contest at 1-1 and, even more importantly, ended a run of 10 successive Tests without a win.

Set a mammoth 445 for victory, India collapsed to 178 all out before lunch on the final day, losing their last six wickets inside 25 overs.

England off-spinner Moeen Ali, primarily a batsman, took a Test-best six for 67, including 4-17 in 22 balls Thursday, while James Anderson was named man-of-the-match for a total return across both innings of 7-77.

Prior to this match, at least seven former England captains had called on Cook to resign as skipper, mainly in a bid to help him get back to his best form with the bat.

However, the left-handed opener ignored their suggestions and was back in the runs at Southampton with innings of 95 and 70 not out, while Ian Bell returned to form with 167 and Gary Ballance made a Test-best 156 in England’s commanding first innings 569-7 declared.

Cook, who oversaw England’s 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia, was certainly in no mood to get carried away.

“It’s a very small step,” he said. “It’s only one win.”

England’s dominant display was all the more impressive considering the way in which they had capitulated to a 95-run defeat in the second Test at Lord’s.

“We had as good a game as you can have — that’s what the turnaround is.”

Now the challenge is to do it all again in Manchester.

“Now everyone knows what it’s like, the challenge is ‘can we repeat that at Old Trafford, and try to win the series?’” added Cook.

Gavaskar blasts India’s ‘surrender’

India’s massive defeat to England drew widespread condemnation, with former captain Sunil Gavaskar accusing MS Dhoni’s team of ‘abject surrender’ in Southampton.

“To lose this Test even before lunch on the final day showed zero resistance whatsoever,” Gavaskar told the NDTV news channel.

“There was no fight and that is a disappointing aspect,” added the former record-breaking opening batsman, who is now a television commentator.

“India’s loss was an abject surrender.”

Gavaskar said the ‘sloppy’ display by Dhoni’s tourists had given England the chance to overcome the morale-sapping loss at Lord’s.

“India had England on the ropes at Lord’s,” he said. “I don’t know what they did in the five intervening days before the game but they were sloppy on the field at Southampton.

“This has been the problem with the Indian team since the 1930s — the complacency.”

Meanwhile, Anderson and India’s Ravindra Jadeja have been found not guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council (ICC) code of conduct and are free to play in next week’s fourth Test, said the ICC. The players were involved in a verbal altercation as they left the field during the first test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2014.

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