Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

England face battle to end the barren run

Under pressure: England captain Alastair Cook struggled again
Under pressure: England captain Alastair Cook struggled again

England assistant coach Paul Farbrace denied that big names had let the side down as they were left facing a fight to save the second Investec Test at Lord's today.

To avoid a 10th Test without victory, England were required to replicate their first innings 319 after Ravindra Jadeja's career-best 68 from number eight – and yet another half-century from tailender Bhuvneshwar Kumar (52) – helped India to 342 all out.

But with captain Alastair Cook departing cheaply again, this time for only 22 runs, and Ian Bell out for just one, England ended the day on 105 for four, 216 shy of their target.

Asked if England had been let down by the likes of Cook, Bell, and the struggling Matt Prior, Fabrace said: "Not at all. We look at it as a team, you lose as a team and you win as a team.

"Everybody on the team is always looking for better performances.

"The practice and the work-rate that we've got from everybody in the squad is fantastic and everybody's always looking to improve their game.

"So it's a team performance and we'll look at the team rather than at individuals."

Cook has come in for the most criticism, but Farbrace is not too concerned about the under-fire batsman.

"He's fine," he added. "He's in there chatting to the two lads who are not out, talking about the (final) day and looking forward to the scrap."

While England's first job is to avoid defeat, Farbrace believes they need "one big partnership" to pull off victory, and suggested Moeen Ali (15 not out) and Joe Root (14), the two in at stumps, might be the men to provide it.

"It's a huge day," he said. "It really needs one big partnership.

"We've got to fight hard and get stuck in but we've got two guys who love a scrap."

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