Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Cricket

Cook and Root show they have tons of ability

By David Clough

Published 23/07/2016

Earning his stripes: Joe Root was unbeaten on 141 at stumps
Earning his stripes: Joe Root was unbeaten on 141 at stumps
Ton up: Alastair Cook celebrates his century, which moved him level with Australian great Don Bradman on 29 Test tons

Joe Root and Alastair Cook both delivered on their own team talks with crucial hundreds at Old Trafford.

Captain and vice-captain backed up their words, largely in a second-wicket stand of 185, as England kick-started a fightback in the Investec series for a stumps total of 314 for four on day one of the second Test.

Each admitted the need to practice what he had preached, after England's shock 75-run defeat at Lord's in the first match of four.

Cook's contribution was 105 before he was bowled by Mohammad Amir on the stroke of tea and Root finished unbeaten on 141 to keep England on course for a dominant total.

It was soon apparent that they had a golden opportunity after Cook won the toss on a very good pitch - and they made no mistake.

Cook was rightly reluctant to crow afterwards about equalling Don Bradman by making his 29th Test century, but he did admit some gratification at coming up with his first hundred in nine months when England badly needed one.

On parity with the great Australian, he said: "I can't really compare that, when he did it in half the games or even fewer... so it's just nice to get past 28.

"It's been a while since I scored a hundred for England.

"Also on the back of last week, certainly as captain you might talk a little bit more than the other players and sometimes it's nice that the actions back up some of the words you've been saying."

His deputy agreed.

"Especially after last week, the ways I got out weren't the best, it was nice to speak about things within the group and then actually go out and deliver it," said Root.

"It's one thing saying it, and (another) going out and proving (it) to the rest of your team-mates.

"I hope that can continue tomorrow and I can get a really big score."

Root's 10th format century came after several occasions when he has, on his own admission, had only himself to blame for falling short.

"Looking back at last week, there were two quite reckless shots," he added.

"You want to learn from that and make sure you don't make those mistakes again.

"I hope that can continue and it's not a one-off - something that can happen over and over again for the rest of the summer and beyond."

The 25-year-old was relieved to have made a significant start having failed to cash in on his recent opportunities.

"I've felt in good touch all summer, but I've found some stupid ways to get out.

"I worked really hard today, to graft - maybe not score at the rate I have done previously over the last couple of years - but if that's what it's going to take to score big hundreds that's what I'm going to have to do.

"I was trying to take as much risk out of my batting as possible."

Amir, the pick of Pakistan's attack, received a predictable reminder of his spot-fixing past from a raucous Manchester crowd only too happy to contribute ironic shouts of 'no-ball' from their vantage point beyond the boundary.

Cook said: "I actually didn't notice them calling no-balls - I suppose that's probably quite a good sign that I'm thinking about more important things to be honest.

"I said at the beginning of the series that at some stage that might happen.

"There's got to be some consequence a little bit... of what he did.

"But I think the most important thing is the way both sides, so far in the series, have got on and played good cricket."

England's included a much better fist of things against Lord's match-winner Yasir Shah - who followed his 10-wicket match haul in London with a first-day none for 111.

Pakistan bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed suspects that the hype may have got to the leg-spinner.

"Sometimes the expectation does put you under a bit of extra pressure, and you are trying to deliver the same performance," he said.

"You start losing your basics, discipline - what he did in the last Test match.

"During a game, it's very hard for a coach to tell a player what to do.

"But we have good communication, so I sent a couple of messages - because the ball was coming out flatter with less spin."

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph