England skipper Alastair Cook praises Rajkot pitch, says declaration was ‘fair’ | cricket | Hindustan Times
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England skipper Alastair Cook praises Rajkot pitch, says declaration was ‘fair’

England batted on before declaring at 260 for three,

cricket Updated: Nov 14, 2016 11:18 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
England skipper Alastair Cook said he didn’t want to take a chance against the Indian batsmen.
England skipper Alastair Cook said he didn’t want to take a chance against the Indian batsmen. (REUTERS)

England skipper Alastair Cook defended his delayed declaration in the second innings, saying he didn’t want to take a chance against the Indian batsmen.

England batted on before declaring at 260 for three, leaving India a fourth innings victory target of 310 at a run rate of around 6.30. It ensured only one team could win from there. (HIGHLIGHTS)

“The reason behind it (the steep run-rate) is we didn’t want to give India a sniff. Batting just to survive is a lot different than chasing 260, 270. On the same wicket we were 180/0. It wasn’t a minefield. The odd ball did a bit. Maybe a braver person would have set them 240, but I thought it was a fair declaration, especially for the first game of the series,” Cook told a news conference.

Cook was delighted after his 130 in the second innings, his fifth century in India and 30th overall.

“I’ve sacrificed a bit to come out here. It’s never easy and you want to try to make it worthwhile and score a few runs to say that it’s worth it. When you’ve seen your daughter for 18 hours or whatever, it’s nice that you’ve scored a few runs.”

READ: Rajkot Test: Alastair Cook surpasses Don Bradman, stamps his class over India

After the last Test defeat in Bangladesh ahead of this series, Cook was pleased to get an almost perfect game. “It’s been a good five days for us. We’ve put everything on the line and played some really good cricket. Four hundreds, (then) our spinners bowled well and our seamers on a pretty slow wicket were outstanding. And we got ourselves in a position to force a result on Day 5. It’s disappointing not to get over the line but it was a great Test and everyone can be proud of the way they played.”

England’s spinners Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Zafar Ansari outshone their Indian counterparts. “A brilliant performance… Our three spinners (who) came in for a lot of criticism on a real turning wicket (in Bangladesh); this is a flatter wicket and we bowled a lot better.”

READ: Virat Kohli stands firm, India escape to draw Rajkot Test against England

The icing on the cake for England was batting on debut of Cook’s opening partner, Haseeb Hameed. Calling him the find of the game, he said: “He’s an unbelievable player. He was pushing me close to retirement when we walked off yesterday; a 19-year-old not only out-batted me but scored quicker than me and made it look easier than me. So it’s a bit of a down to earth moment. He’s a find, isn’t he? We said before the game we had no doubt he could play.”