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Cook, Compton building legacies their own way

india Updated: Dec 06, 2012 23:31 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha

Alastair Cook was born around the time England last won a test series in India, on the 1984-5 tour.

Leading from the front, few would bet against his ending the team's wait for another win. And for old-timers, Compton refers to Denis, the late England batting stalwart who thrilled fans with during the World War years.

On Thursday, his grandson continued to build his as yet modest legacy at one of cricket's hallowed grounds.

Cook though has been England's talisman. Three successive centuries on pitches far different from what he may have got in his Essex days not only speaks volumes about his ability, but also the patience and will to put it into use.

His start was shaky. But Cheteshwar Pujara dropping him off Zaheer Khan at first slip when he was on 17 was just the opportunity he needed.

Cook made batting look effortless after that, cutting, pulling and driving with ease. What made it easier was the flow of singles due to defensive field settings.

England also ensured Khan did not settle down. Ishant Sharma, at the other end, was never quite consistent to bother him. The hallmark of Cook's innings was the assuredness and simplicity of each shot.

Great players
"To bat with him is something like batting with Trescothick although they are clearly different players," said Compton, who brought up his maiden Test fifty.

"You see the ball released and you almost knew what he was going to do - forward defence or a sweep shot. That's the mark of a great player, doing simple things very well for a long period of time."

Indian spinners disappointed too. Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin bowled a leg-side line and Cook vigorously swept almost everything. Compton gained strength from that.

"To be out there, it gives other players a lot of confidence because Cook is so solid. You know he is not going to give his wicket away. So, if you are staying with him, you are doing a good job," said Compton.

That feel-good factor has spread to Jonathan Trott, who is on 21, having stitched a 51-run partnership with Cook.

With the deficit down to 100 runs, England are hoping Friday proves the series-changing day for them.