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Alastair Cook looking to Edgbaston thriller for boost

By Staff Reporter

Alastair Cook's England still have the chance to become the Ashes heroes of 2015 - and can start by turning on the style for the 10-year anniversary of Edgbaston's most famous Test.

Cook admits his team's embarrassing 405-run defeat last week, when Australia levelled the Investec series at 1-1, was "an absolute disaster in one sense".

They must therefore restate their credentials in Birmingham today, and the captain will not be complaining if inspiration is drawn from the thrilling two-run victory which began England's brilliant 2005 fightback to regain the urn for the first time in a generation.

There are already some spooky echoes, in the sequence of events so far, of those heady days a decade ago - England arriving in the Midlands then as now after a chastening setback at Lord's.

Cook recalls watching from afar on that August Sunday morning as a 20-year-old Essex batsman in Southend where the crowd for a limited-overs match against Middlesex were glued to television screens relaying the action as Steve Harmison finally took the last Australia wicket, Michael Kasprowicz caught behind down the leg-side.

"It would be a fantastic anniversary of those 10 years to win here after losing at Lord's," he said. "It would be brilliant to go 2-1 up, and it's certainly an inspiration in one way to know it's possible."

England could still lose this third Test and win the series, but the odds would be stacked against them from 2-1 down with two to play.

For Cook, any manner of series success will do.

"Even for the stress levels, I would take 3-2," he said. It's 1-1, a three-match series now, and we need to win two games to do something very special.

"That's what is keeping everyone going.

"Lord's was an absolute disaster in one sense - after Cardiff to play as badly as that. (But) that's gone now.

"As professional sportsmen, you have to keep looking forward to the next thing rather than keep dwelling on the past."

England's only selection issue this morning is to decide whether Mark Wood is fit to bowl or if Steven Finn returns instead as third seamer for his first Test since the 2013 Ashes.

Belfast Telegraph


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