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Alastair Cook determined to take England to top of world

By David Clough

Captain Alastair Cook has confirmed that England will retain an unchanged line-up for the final Test of the summer against Pakistan at The Oval.

England will clinch the series if they avoid defeat, after winning back-to-back games at Old Trafford and Edgbaston, while a victory may send them to the top of the International Cricket Council's Test rankings.

England will therefore stick with their tried-and-tested seam attack, with Moeen Ali offering the spin option.

"I think the pitch will turn later in the game, but we feel the seamers are bowling well and Mo took a massive stride in the last game," said Cook, who added that there was no thought of bringing in Adil Rashid to start preparations for the winter tours of Bangladesh and India.

"This series is very much alive and we want to play well and win the series rather than look ahead and prepare for the winter.

"He (Rashid) is going to keep gaining experience in the one-day internationals. In an ideal world you'd like to give him a go, but international cricket is not about giving people a go.

Cook was part of the previous England team that took over at the top of the Test rankings and, while his side could replicate that feat this week, the skipper does not feel they are yet at that same level.

"I genuinely would say it has come a little bit early for this side," he said.

"If it comes it would be a brilliant achievement. There are still questions to be answered. We're not at the same level as 2012."

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, meanwhile, wants his bowlers to get back up to speed on reverse-swing - by learning from England's modern experts.

Misbah admitted to "concern" about how James Anderson managed to find telling 'reverse' with a ball little more than 30 overs old to kickstart Pakistan's collapse to 201 all out and defeat by 141 runs at Edgbaston.

Suggestions were subsequently aired by Pakistan broadcasters that England's management of the ball might have pushed the boundaries of legality.

But there will be no complaint from the Pakistan team, and England captain Alastair Cook has described the gossip as "far-fetched... nonsense".

Misbah said: "This is an art, a science."

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