India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 4th day

Cook plotting his path to greatness

The efforts of the England captain, with perhaps his finest innings, alongside Matt Prior may not save the opening Test but they will give the team belief for the rest of the series

George Dobell in Ahmedabad

November 18, 2012

Comments: 60 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook's wagon wheel after the end of the fourth day, India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 4th day, November 18, 2012
Not in the V: Alastair Cook's wagon wheel shows very few runs straight down the ground © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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When a batsman as good as Graham Gooch lavishes praise on an innings, you know it has been special. Gooch, the leading run-scorer in England Test history, has, in his own words, "seen most things" in cricket over a long and illustrious career.

But even Gooch was impressed by Alastair Cook's rearguard innings against India. He described Cook as "one of the best players in the world" and described the mammoth innings at Ahmedabad as "as good an innings as I've seen him play." Few would disagree.

Cook is, in many ways, a remarkable cricketer. He plays few shots to make a crowd roar with excitement or sigh with pleasure. He does not have the range of Kevin Pietersen or the timing of Ian Bell. He can score a century without playing a single memorable shot.

But if batting is just about scoring runs - and in Test cricket it pretty much is - then it is hard to define him as anything other than great. After all, on current form, Cook will have scored more Test runs than any other Englishman before his 30th birthday. He overtook Gooch's record of 20 Test centuries during this innings and is set to break every England run-scoring record.

Cook has made a virtue out of a vice. He knows he is not, in terms of hand-eye coordination, the most talented cricketer in this team. He knows he cannot emulate the strokeplay of Pietersen or Bell.

But, by staying within his limitations, by knowing that failure beckons if he elaborates or complicates, Cook has found a method that works. While others prosper on strength and skill and bravado, Cook prospers on concentration, denial and efficiency.

At his best, he leaves well, plays straight and is not drawn into pushing outside the off stump. Such is his patience, he either waits for the bowler to err, or he forces them to pitch short or bowl too straight. He plays few drives - he has scored just one run through mid-off and only two through mid-on during this innings - but pulls and cuts well and is good off his legs.

And he keeps going. Such is his mental strength - his concentration, his huger, his patience - that it seems he can, at his best, wear down the wind.

Perhaps his left-handedness was a help in this innings. Pragyan Ojha, by far the more dangerous of the bowlers, certainly looked more effective against the right-handers and R Ashwin was dealt with in relative comfort.

"When you've been in the game as long as I have, you've seen most things that happen," Gooch said. "We saw poor shots, poor decisions, bad mistakes, bad thinking, bad judgement and then you sometimes see the opposite.

"It was great commitment from our guys and great fighting spirit. There was belief in their own ability and Alastair led from the front as captain.

"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.

"He can do it because he is one of the best players in the world. It is not just physical skill I'm talking about. A lot of people have physical skill. You need skill between the ears. This lad has had a great temperament from when he first started and came here to make his debut.

"He proved even then the priceless skill of knowing how to play. From the outset he knew what he could do and what he couldn't do and he still has that skill today. He crafted a century. It wasn't a flamboyant innings. He did the job that was necessary."

How typical that Matt Prior's excellence should be overshadowed. Over recent years, he has developed into a wonderfully selfless player: reliable and positive behind the stumps and with the bat. His dismissal in the first innings was typical: left with the tail for company, Prior perished in sight of a personal landmark as he attempted an ambitious boundary hit. Many would have aimed for a 'not out' to protect their average.

The turning point in his career came in 2008 when he was dropped. He had a choice, at the time, of railing at the selectors and the injustice, or taking responsibility himself. He decided on the latter course and determined to work as he had never worked before. He developed from a liability behind the stumps until he became, arguably, the best wicketkeeper in current Test cricket. He is likely to replace Craig Kieswetter in the England T20 team for the games before Christmas.

His career has seen many ups and downs: the century on debut; the immense Ashes contributions; the unfortunate broken window at Lord's and the 'jellybean' incident at Trent Bridge for which he was publically chastised but utterly blameless. But some of those close to Prior suggest that it was fatherhood, in early 2009, that changed him. They say it brought a maturity and contentment that allowed him to accept the cricketer he is. Before that he had, at times, perhaps tried to be something he was not: another Pietersen or another Adam Gilchirst. Now he has let such ambitions go and settled into the role as the ideal supporting character.

If anyone had said, at the start of day four, that it would finish with India playing for time, you might have thought they had been in the sun too long. But, as Cook and Prior edged England into a fragile lead, the over-rate - excellent for so long - slowed and it became clear that India were as glad to reach stumps as England.

India have, in most respects, outplayed England in this game. Their spinners have looked more dangerous, their batsmen - in general - more assured and their seamers have bowled with better control, gained more movement and, in the case of Yadav, generated more pace. There has not even been much to choose between the fielding of the two sides.

But the one area that England have an edge on them is fitness. Long before the end of the fourth day, several of the Indian players looked exhausted: Ashwin, in particular, became less effective and even Ojha, who has been outstanding in this game, showed signs of weariness. With the next Test starting in Mumbai on Friday, there is little time to recover.

But Cook, especially, never faltered. He did not even break sweat. He showed that India, just like England, can he ground down if the batsmen keep them in the field for long enough.

India may feel unfortunate. It is true that both Prior and Cook might - should, even - have been adjudged leg before. But rather than blaming the umpires - good men having a bad day - they would be better directing their frustration elsewhere. We all know who decided that the DRS would not be utilised in this series.

Whatever happens on the last day - and it is good for Test cricket that this game has, at last, become a contest - it should not mask the failings of England earlier in the game. They have been overly reliant on individuals in Ahmedabad and, even if they escape, know they will have to improve if they are to challenge in this series.

They could do far worse than emulate their captain. As far as England are concerned, you cannot have too many Cooks.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by ravi_b on (November 19, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

Cook on this tour will be similar to Dravid on English tour. India should not allow more such innings if they want to indict white wash.

Posted by csr11 on (November 19, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

Alistair Cook - RESPECT from an Indian fan.. A textbook innings in a tough situation leading from the front. There is a lot that our your aspiring test batsman can learn from this one.. It seems he scores one century every 4 tests, so hopefully he is done for this series.. The one batsman who left the biggest impression in this test though was Pujara.. ~250 runs, without getting dismissed.. we will be hearing a lot more of this guy.

Posted by mcsdl on (November 19, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

Top batsmen in TEST Cricket thesedays are: Sangakkara, Kallis, Clarke, Jayawardene, Amla, Chanderpaul. And I think players like ABD, Graem Smith, Younus Khan, KP, Hussey and Alistair Cook comes after that... So you could say Cook is more or less a top 10 guy for the past few years. Its a shame to see Alltime greats like Ponting and Sachin's level has declined in recent times with the age catching-up with them.

Posted by jjamie15 on (November 19, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

What odds that Cook finishes his Test career as the highest run scorer in Test cricket? If he stays injury-free, consistent and hungry, there's no reason why not.

The highest run scorers in Test cricket are split between the stylists (Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting) and the accumulators (Dravid, Kallis, Waugh). Cook is definitely the latter, but every team needs someone who simply bats and bats. The first to 16,000 Test runs?

As an aside, very impressed with Pujara - if he can play bounce he will be some player for India moving forward...

Posted by TVGopal on (November 19, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

The highlight of the match was the umpiring. The game saw fifth day only because of the umpiring.

Posted by CricIsCrazy on (November 19, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Cook is going to beat Tendulkar's Test record for sure if he continues to do what he has done in the past 6 years. Good Luck!

Posted by gsingh7 on (November 19, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

this test showed that cook can score only when wicket is flat, we will see his performance in mumbai with turning tracks

Posted by BrianCharlesVivek on (November 19, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

@ Unmesh_cric, but by the time he will hang his boots, Sachin would be(still) around to break his record...SO Cook wont be the highest century getter...:)

Posted by amitgarg78 on (November 19, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

Cook is indeed one of the best players in test matches at this point in time. He seems to know his game, has great reserves of energy needed to bat long and he seems unflappable with his concentration on the task at hand. he may not be the most attractive stroke player, but he is bloody minded. No other English player in the current era has played such an innings in India, as Cook did yesterday.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (November 19, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

Superb rearguard action by Cook, reminiscent of Atherton's innings against Donald and co many years ago in South Africa. Cook's performances outside his comfort zone make him arguably the best English opener since Gooch with all due respect to Atherton and Vaughan

Posted by   on (November 19, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

There is absolutely nothing to feel exciting about Cook's batting, from 2nd day afternoon itself the pitch has turned unresponsive & an excellent batting track.Look the way India is finishing the Game. they are making the great ( ????) English bowler look like a net bowler.

Posted by Pathiyal on (November 19, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

BIG match player. he doesnt talk too much, but goes about doing his job

Posted by joseyesu on (November 19, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

Cook,is more like Dravid in temperament. Predict,Tough series ahead for Ind in the rest of the matches.

Posted by   on (November 19, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

@Al_Bundy1, how dare u say that!!! Tendulkar has won and saved plenty of games for us. He has scored most of his centuries against Australia, does that say something? Very annoying to see such silly comments. Praise Cook all you want.I admit, he's a great player, but don't compare him to Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (November 19, 2012, 4:12 GMT)

That is just so good. Test cricket is Best cricket and players like Cook are its true practitioners and should be preserved. In the most alien of the conditions and extreme pressure as a player and captain both, he delivered. Now that is what makes for good test cricket and would preserve it. So for the good of test cricket, let us all praise the cricketer that is Cook.

Posted by shaan77 on (November 19, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

Just wonder whether cook's body is made up of muscles or some hard core metals!! unbelievable stamina and strenght!! love his batting style too.. definately he is on his way towards the list of all time great players. All the best cook!

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (November 19, 2012, 3:36 GMT)

What a batsman!! This is called guts and determination. Did our own Selfishkar ever play an innings like this? No, he likes to score centuries against Bangladesh. What a pathetic batsman Selfishkar is.

Posted by   on (November 19, 2012, 2:40 GMT)

One of the best captain's knock i have ever seen, comparable with dhoni's WC final knock and Clarke's recent hundred in south africa. He may not be as entertaining as sehwag or pietersen, but it kinda gives a good feeling of having watched one of the most patient innings after a long time (after dravid's recent hundred). Wonder is there any other sport in the world which tests 'patience' of a player as much as Test cricket. Thats what makes it so special, isnt it?

Posted by Meety on (November 19, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

Interesting, for a bloke who plays as straight as Cook does, his wagon wheel is almost devoid of anthing between mid off & mid on!!!!! So maybe he just plods along defensively & only looks to score when the ball is short & he can biff square?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 19, 2012, 1:16 GMT)

@peter56 on (November 18 2012, 16:15 PM GMT), it's ridiculous to lay the blame for a loss in this game at KP's feet. Certainly he didn't help the team greatly but there's plenty of blame to go around. First of all, bar Swann, the bowling in the first innings was not incisive. Secondly, India could have been dismissed for under 300 despite the bowling but the fielding was also poor, yet again. With regards to batting, I don't really have an issue with Compton as it's his first Test and first tour of India, but Trott, KP and Bell have all disappointed. Patel also, although he was a tad unlucky. Maybe KP was just a bit too keen after his hiatus and didn't really have his head in the game. If England can scrape a draw here then everyone can breathe a sigh of relief and start afresh in the next Test. Even if they lose, Cook and Prior have shown what's possible with the right application. KP could easily come back a match winner. Have you forgotten SL so quickly?

Posted by melayaraja on (November 19, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

Reply to Gerard Pereira:

Umpiring errors are part and parcel of the game. This is not the first time it is happening and it wont be the last time either. It does not take anything away from Cook's magnificent innings under alien conditions. Credit should be given where it is due.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (November 19, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

@peter56... Agree totally, kp is an overrated showpony who now very rarely comes off, and bell is totally the weakest link who has not scored a ton for 18 months, bell's showing this year versus spin has been appalling. Bairstow should be the next cab off the rank now, he has scored well in warm ups and has no mental scars, he should immediately take bell's place for the long term and morgan given kp's if (when) kp cocks it up again.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 18, 2012, 23:53 GMT)

@Gerard Pereira on (November 18 2012, 16:49 PM GMT), while that's true, let's also not forget that Pujara should have been caught on 8 before he went on to score his double hundred. I know that it's not quite the same thing because it was England's own fault that they missed that chance while Cook's life was down to the umpire. That aside, just as the SA batsman did to England recently, the important thing is that, when you get a life, you make the most of it. Cook has done exactly that here.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 18, 2012, 23:44 GMT)

Cook does look to have the potential to become one of the greats. He's probably never going to rate in anyone's top 10 as far as who they'd like to spend a day watching but he's going to have served England very well by the end of his career, as he has already. Judging by his performance in this Test, he may, like Michael Clarke, improve as a batsman with the added responsibility of being captain. Comparing him to Pietersen and Bell in this article was rather apt. They are the two in the England team that you would probably most want to spend time watching but, unlike Cook, they have roundly failed in this game, including once each to a very poor premeditated shot. The same approach doesn't work for everyone but Cook's certainly does for him and others could improve by incorporating at least some of it into theirs.

Posted by cricket.freak.A on (November 18, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

@rahulcricket007: Who cares about your predictions mate!! P.S. FYI. Dhoni had won 2 World Cups and made India No.1 test side in the world. If you want to compare 2 captains, make sure their stats should at-least be close.

Posted by cricket.freak.A on (November 18, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

Are you Kidding me!! One good knock doesn't make a player great!! It takes years of hard-work and dedication to achieve it!! Only fools make judgements on just one innings. If Cook can be called as "The Greatest English Captain" ever without even winning a single match for his side on the basis on just one innings, there isn't greater dishonor for all the English greats than this. Loosen up mate!! Be Realistic!!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 18, 2012, 23:08 GMT)

As you say, George, the underlying reason that both Cook & Prior perform so admirably & not just in this Test, but increasingly so over the last three years, is because each knows himself inside out & is comfotable with who he is. Neither attempts to do what he cannot; neither is dictated by his ego to grab headlines, or win the game in a virtuoso performance in a couple of hours (by now you know who I have in mind!). Both of them are what I believe to be true cricketers, prepared to put their individual bests forward to contribute to the team effort. If asked, neither would seek or much enjoy individual adulation, because his sense of inner satisfaction would be all the self-affirmation that he needed. And, of course, together they have shown what is possible. They have inspired the rest of the team. Now, how do you teach the rest to know themselves in like fashion, so that they too can keep their heads? Cook & Prior have attempted to do so by setting an example. Just wonderful!

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 22:51 GMT)

@Gerard Pereira on (November 18 2012, 16:49 PM GMT) n before that mate do remember that it was BCCI who didnt allow the use of UDRS........... so cheers mate n dont blame Aleem Dar for his mistakes in a long time.............. he is best of the bests.................

Posted by whoster on (November 18, 2012, 22:38 GMT)

@Gerard Pereira. It's a bit harsh to cheapen Cook's innings on the basis of a decision that would've been overturned by DRS. You can't score 168* without a touch of luck. Apart from that moment, it was a magnificent display of controlled and assured batsmanship. On the DRS issue - I'm sure a lot of Indian fans would've liked to have seen it in use for this series, but the BCCI continues acting with sheer arrogance in not allowing it. I sincerely hope Cook goes on to score 250+ tomorrow, and that the BCCI gets roundly criticized for not using DRS. That's only a side issue though, because Cook and Prior were absolutely superb under intense pressure. India still favourites, and even if England do lose, I hope Cookie's great knock inspires the other England batsmen to apply themselves and believe they can get big scores. Whatever happens tomorrow, England have put up a fight. Panesar/ Finn should come in for Patel / Bresnan to give England a chance of taking 20 wickets.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (November 18, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

Cook is probably the best opener in the game right now. Only Smith (SA) really gives him a run for his money. But as others have said our team selection is really to blame here. Alot of spots up for grabs but Monty has to be selected for the next test. If Finn is available he comes in for Broad/Bresnan. Much will depend on the 5th day.

Posted by mikey76 on (November 18, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

The best opening bat in world cricket at the moment. Scores runs on all surfaces and in all conditions. This innings is absolutley priceless and has shown these show ponies like Peitersen how to play. There could be as many as 4 changes for the next match. Panesar, Finn and Bairstow are definites for me. Patel was unlucky with umpiring decisions so should get another go, but I'd be interested to see what Morgan does. Maybe he could be a useful counter-attacking weapon.

Posted by QTS_ on (November 18, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

@Selfishkar: Cook needed Compton and Prior to assist him in the middle. If Tendulkar had such assistance while waging lone battles in SA, AUS and ENG in the 90's (though not WI until 2000's), your handle might have been different.

Posted by EthylMormon on (November 18, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

Gerard Pereira: do you mean Cook? If so, I'd suggest that he's actually still there courtesy of the BCCI, who still refuse to use DRS despite its many proven advantages.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

One of the best captain's knock i have ever seen, comparable with dhoni's WC final knock and Clarke's recent hundred in south africa. He may not be as entertaining as sehwag or pietersen, but it kinda gives a good feeling of having watched one of the most patient innings after a long time (after dravid's recent hundred). Wonder is there any other sport in the world which tests 'patience' of a player as much as Test cricket. Thats what makes it so special, isnt it?

Posted by dock_haul on (November 18, 2012, 20:32 GMT)

Pujara is no doubt a good bat but comparing him with a legend as big as Dravid so early is a bit mis leading. if he scores like Dravid did abroad and fill in his shoes to atleast fill in the gap in the Indian middle order left over by his departure that would be most satisfying right now

Posted by Sanj747 on (November 18, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

What a class act. Great performance from the captain leading from the front.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (November 18, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

although i still think England is one wicket away from another collapse , fantastic batting by cook , he will be among the greats when he decides to quit , cook , KP and steven finn (if fit) will be the main threat to India throughout the series

Posted by Mel-waas on (November 18, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

India , Can you smell what the English captain is cooking?

Posted by Essex_Man on (November 18, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

@razeez - lovely comments, how wonderfully put!

Not much more one can say about Cookie. As for Mattie Prior, nice that this article recognises his excellence. A quality keeper who's made a habit of getting important runs in recent years - and he usually gets them in a positive, attractive manner (his fabulous tons against India at Lord's and against Pakistan at Trent Bridge, both of which I was fortunate enough to see live, spring to mind).

Posted by Arun14 on (November 18, 2012, 19:11 GMT)

What do you mean on the way to greatness? Cook's already there. When he scored all those runs against Australia in Australia and helped England win the series 3-1, he had already etched his name among the game's greats. Remember, he'd already scored enough runs in the subcontinent including a century on debut in India. Today, he's one of a handful of players (Hashim Amla is another that comes readily to mind) who can boast of scoring against all comers in all conditions. Just on the basis of his record so far and the fact that he has no glaring weakness or nobody's bunny, he's better than the likes of Atherton, Gooch, Strauss and Boycott who were possibly the best English openers from the last 3-4 decades. Cook's truly on his way to ending up as one of England's top three batsmen of all time.

Posted by vivek464 on (November 18, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

@selfishkar Did you start watching cricket like a year ago. Have you ever watched his 169 in NEwlands against Donald and co. His 114 in Perth as an 18 year old. his 122 in Nottingham. His 136 in Chennai. While i agree Sachin should hazve retired. People with no cricket intellect like you really aggravate me. Think before you speak. It'll come in useful. On a brighter note, Cook is just a fantastic batsman who played an excellent innings. cheers.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (November 18, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

CONTINUED..... A renewed England attack with Onions and Monty might ask quuestions of India? Patel has has a disappointing test so far (thanks to some poor umpiring) but i hope England keep him and so go into the 2nd test with 3 spinners plus KP who is very under-rated. My 2nd est team would be Cook, Compton, Trott, Morgan, KP, Patel, Prior, Anderson, Onions. Panesar & Swann. Let's get out of this one first though and then start winning tosses! From an English viewpoint this could be a memorable tour - for all the right reasons! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by gsingh7 on (November 18, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

we will see his greatness in mumbai and kolkatta with rank turners

Posted by hhillbumper on (November 18, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

the good thing about Cook is that he doesn't believe all the hype about himself.Unfortunately one of our other batsmen does nothing but spread hype about himself. Given the choice i know who the better player is and Cook will be remembered long after the interloper has packed his ego and gone to IPL

Posted by applethief on (November 18, 2012, 18:17 GMT)

Would love a reminder of the last time Cook built a century without at least a couple of umpiring reprieves. Have a lot of memories of him nicking and standing his ground, and getting away with lbws

Posted by applethief on (November 18, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

Anyone remember the last time Dobell bandied around the word "great" when writing about the England cricket team? Would've thought we'd see some more restrained, less hyperbolic praise. Wouldn't forget how appalling Cook's been against quality bowling, like Pakistan in 2012 and even 2010 where it took a spot fixing scandal to crumble the opposition and save his career

Posted by phoenixsteve on (November 18, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

A great knock by Cook but there is more to do. Another 150 from team England and a session & a bit could leave India (a specialist batter short) in some trouble. What a turnaround it would be for Swann to spin an England victory? Perhaps an unlikely scenario but India will have toiled for 2 1/2 days in the field - anything is possible - even an Indian victory? Predictions for future tests & the result of this series are premature. The toss is vital & with flat tracks it'll be a series win by just one game - I expect? Cook has reigned in his game as has Prior. Both must be itching to express themselves - don't forget Cook does have the shots as in ODI mode. Even if England manage an unlikely win I'm hoping for changes in the next test. Bresnan is past his sell by date & Bell is due to be away & there is a case for swapping Onions for Broad - much will depend on his batting display tomorrow. I'd like to see Monty come in along with Morgan & some raw Onions to make Indian eyes water!

Posted by jackiethepen on (November 18, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

peter56 - you don't seem to be aware that Morgan and Bairstow can do worse than KP and Bell and have already done so. Before you advocate replacing players perhaps you should look at how Morgan and Bairstow have performed so far. It is also an interesting fact that the media were advocating that Cook should be dropped for the 2010/11 Ashes tour because he was having such a poor run of form and had technical problems as an opener. He went on to make record runs in that Tour. So much for dropping class players when they are out of form.

Posted by Vindaliew on (November 18, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

The article should also mention that Cook is Gooch's protege. Not to claim that it's a nepotistic article, or that the praise is unjustified, but Gooch would hardly be moved to offer such praise if it were anyone else other than Cook who played so magnificently today, and perhaps that needs to be mentioned to put his praise in context.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

YEs he is a fantastic player.................

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

Love his attitude....Really he is privately being destined for greatness and we did not realize that, however after this tour everything will change he will remain in focus.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 18, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

Yeah but it's all for nothing if the same boring team-selections and cowardly tactics continue. Cook's a breath of fresh air in the England team, but one player does not make a number 1 side. The other players have to step up fast.

Posted by Selfishkar on (November 18, 2012, 17:14 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar has been tests for 23 years, he is yet score a colossal innings under alien conditions like Cook has done here. Sachin usually builds his personal landmarks after openers and Dravid builds a solid foundation.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (November 18, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

MY PREDICTION IS ENGLAND WILL DREW THIS MATCH & WILL WON MATCHES IN MUMBAI & NAGPUR . KOLKATA TEST WILL ALWAYS BE WON INDIA . SO THE SERIES WILL BE WON BY ENGLAND BY 2-1 . COOK BECOMING THE GREAT CAPTAIN IN ENGLISH HISTORY & HOPEFULLLY DHONI WILL BE PRESUUISED TO QUIT FROM CAPTAINCY .

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

Before we get carried away, just a small reminder Cooke is there courtesy of Aleem Dar, he was plumb LBW on 37.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 18, 2012, 16:17 GMT)

After Conquering Australia, Cook has now shown the Sub-Continent why he's the best opening batsman in the world.

Posted by peter56 on (November 18, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

If England save this test it will be due to Cook If england loose this test it will be because of KP. Nasser Hussein blamed him for englands batting imploding by hopping around like a cat on a hot tin roof during his 17 he gave the rest of the dressing room the wrong impression that the pitch was full of demons.he could have been out 4 times before he was bowled.DROP HIM everybody admits even Michael Vaughan that he is all at sea he looks like a clown hopping around on stilts,or Bambi floundering on ice actually flounder is my new nickname for him why pick a walking wicket in addition Morgan has the advantage of being left handed. KP has the biggest technical weakness of any England batsmen.Bairstow and Morgan can hardly do any worse thna kp and bell.Cook is by far Englands best batsman and has been for a couple of years now

Posted by vaidyar on (November 18, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

It's not Pujara who's the next Dravid. It's Cook. And he doesn't dehydrate either.

Posted by razeez on (November 18, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

Having the good fortune to have watched so many test centuries over the last week including a top class captain's knock from Michael Clarke, this one stands atop the pile in its vivid illustration of why test cricket is an extraordinary sport. Against the adversity of the history books, against skilled bowlers in their home conditions, with the pressure of captaining the English cricket side which has experienced both on and off field trepidation over the last year, Alastair Cook has not only defined what is good about test cricket but has also exemplified what is best about the human spirit. There is no other sport like cricket in the world, and on this day Alastair Cook used that platform to illustrate the strength of character we all aspire to possess. Absolutely fantastic innings!

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (November 18, 2012, 15:40 GMT)

Wow! I had never looked up Cook's statistics before. At the age of 27, he has already played in 84 Tests and scored 21 centuries! At this rate, he has a realistic chance of scoring more than 50 Test centuries by the time he finishes.

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India v England at Kochi - Jan 15, 2013
India won by 127 runs
India v England at Rajkot - Jan 11, 2013
England won by 9 runs
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News | Features Last 3 days