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Cook hails character as England draw level

By David Clough

Published 26/07/2016

Over and out: James Anderson celebrates after taking Pakistan's Azhar Ali's wicket on what proved to be the final day of the Test which England won by 330 runs.
Over and out: James Anderson celebrates after taking Pakistan's Azhar Ali's wicket on what proved to be the final day of the Test which England won by 330 runs.

England captain Alastair Cook hailed the character of his side as they cruised to a 330-run series-levelling victory over Pakistan in the second Investec Test at Old Trafford.

The hosts resumed on 98 for one at the start of day four before declaring on 173 for one with Cook unbeaten on 76 and Joe Root 71 not out, leaving Pakistan a world-record target of 565 to double their lead in the four-match series.

But the tourists struggled to have the same impact with the bat as they crumbled to 234 all out with Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and James Anderson each taking three wickets, giving England an emphatic win as they avenged their defeat at Lord's eight days ago.

Cook said: "There wasn't too much that could have got better so I'm really pleased with the character we showed, obviously to get bowled out like we did at Lord's and then bat like that.

"We know we can get a bit of pace and bounce in the wicket, it does suit our bowlers and the nicks carry - even at Lord's they didn't get away from us with the bat. We feel like we have some good momentum there to score the runs."

The only downside to the victory was the calf injury to Ben Stokes while he was bowling on day four, but Cook feels there is cover if needed, adding: "Stokesy looks a little bit in trouble with his leg for Edgbaston but he has a scan tomorrow and we will see.

"We have Steven Finn and Jake Ball who missed out here so we are lucky on that side, it is a real strength in depth."

On Anderson's fitness, Cook said: "I think Jimmy is fine, I think naturally your first Test match back he will be a little bit sore but he's fine."

Man of the match Root feels that getting a big score is a confidence-booster since moving up in the batting order from number four to three.

He said: "I think it helps, but I still approach the game in the same way, you still play the same situation of what's in front of you.

"I don't really approach batting at three differently to four but taking that risk out of my game will have helped facing the newer ball as well.

"It is beautifully poised and I think both sides have played some really strong cricket. Obviously us in this game, we have played very well with bat and ball and we are very confident now going into Edgbaston and (can) hopefully take that forward into the rest of the series.

"I'm sure it will be very entertaining to watch for the remainder."

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was magnanimous in defeat but is optimistic that his side can bounce back during the third Test at Edgbaston.

Misbah said: "Full credit to England, they won a good toss and after that Cook and Root, with the way they played, took the game away from us."

Belfast Telegraph

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