Old master of spin hails gritty England skipper
Three centuries in his first three Tests as captain, Alastair Cook couldn't have asked for a better start to his career in England's leadership role.india Updated: Nov 19, 2012 01:30 IST
Three centuries in his first three Tests as captain, Alastair Cook couldn't have asked for a better start to his career in England's leadership role.
"Some players blossom with added responsibility… he (Cook) is certainly one of them," said England batting coach, Graham Gooch, after the left-handed batsman made him proud with an unbeaten 168.
"That (the century) will do him a world of good. He has shown what he is capable of and what this team is capable of. I think that was as good an innings as I've seen him play because he was under great pressure after a poor first innings performance from the team," added the former England opener.
England had their backs to the wall when they were all out for 191 in the first innings, and were made to follow on.
After they were routed by Pakistani spinners at the start of the year in the UAE, many had started doubting whether Cook's team was capable of handling quality spin.
"We saw poor shots, poor decisions, bad mistakes, bad thinking and bad judgement (in England's first innings) and then you sometimes see the opposite, which is what we saw today," said Gooch.
"It was a great commitment and great fighting spirit from our guys. There was self-belief and Alastair led from the front. It is not just physical skill I'm talking about, you need skill between the ears as well."
The England batting coach was equally delighted with the performance of Matt Prior (84 not out).
"Matt has been a fantastic cricketer. He has played some great counter-attacking innings. He comes in at seven, he likes to take on the bowlers a bit and he likes to play aggressive cricket. He tempered his style a bit to stay with Alastair. You still saw some shots, but he showed resolute defence and that is the style of play that worked."
Despite England avoiding an innings defeat, Gooch observed that India were still the favourites.