India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata, 2nd day December 6, 2012

Compton in awe of Cook's records


Nick Compton was happy to play a supporting role as Alastair Cook continued his remarkable from in the Test series against India. Compton, the 29-year-old playing his third Test, scored his maiden half-century at this level in helping Cook, who finished the day unbeaten on 136, post an opening partnership of 165 on the second day of the third Test in Kolkata.

It was Cook's 23rd Test century and his third in successive Tests this series. Not only did that make him the leading century maker for England in their Test history but it also made him the youngest man from any country to pass the milestone of 7,000 Test runs.

Afterwards Compton spoke in something approaching awe of his captain's performance. "Standing out there today, looking up at the board and seeing those stats: 7,000 runs, the youngest player to do that; it was quite an amazing moment," Compton said. "I thought 'I'm batting with this guy; he's just got another hundred, and he's the all-time leading English hundred-maker.' It speaks volumes that he's been able to do that from a young age. A lot of players only find their feet at perhaps my age, 28 or 29, but he did it a long time before. And he is still is a young player."

Compton compared the experience of batting with Cook to batting with Marcus Trescothick, his team-mate and captain at Somerset. "To bat with him is quite similar, in some ways, to batting with Trescothick," Compton said. "It's how clinical they are with every delivery. They make very few mistakes and every ball is played in a similar fashion.

"It's the mark of a serious player that he does the simple things very, very well and for a long period of time and that's been very clear batting at the other end. Not a lot is said; he's very clear in his gameplan.

"He gives the other players a lot of confidence out there, because he's so solid. He's very unflappable, not a lot of airs and graces, and just gets on and does it. It makes a big difference to have someone who's so chilled out at the other end."

Compton admitted he was disappointed with the manner of his dismissal for 57 - given out lbw when replays suggest the ball hit the glove - but accepted that it would have been a tough decision for the umpire.

"It hit my glove" he said. "It's one of those things and a bit disappointing. But from the umpire's position, it was obviously a very difficult decision. That's the way it goes.

"As a team we are very satisfied. We spoke about developing partnerships and we managed that quite well. It's a good way to grind them down. The longer you spend out there the easier it gets."

The relative comfort with which Compton has taken to Test cricket - he averages over 40 after five innings at this level - might be used as a ringing endorsement of the county game. After all, he has played little England Lions cricket, little cricket abroad and owes his selection purely to the mountain of runs he has scored for Somerset over the last couple of years. The fact that he has not looked unduly troubled suggests the step-up between county and Test is not so large as is sometimes suggested.

The truth is not quite so straightforward. Compton actually felt the need to hire himself a private coach and mentor, the former county wicketkeeper Neil Burns, to help him develop and refine his character and his game. Tellingly, Monty Panesar also credits his relationship with Burns for kick-starting his career. The fact that both men had to venture outside the county system should raise a few questions.

Compton may well be a less limited player than he has shown to date. There was a time when he tried, like so many of his generation, to emulate Kevin Pietersen. But that was never his greatest strength. Having reasoned that, aged 29, he is only going to have one shot at a career in international cricket, he has reined in his attacking instincts and adopted a largely risk-free approach to batting. The big scores may not have come just yet, but he has provided England with a decent platform in four out of his five innings. Indeed, Cook and Compton here recorded their fourth successive partnership of 50 or more; the first England pair of openers to do so since Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick in 2002.

"I'm really chuffed," he said. "It would be nice to have gone on, of course. But if you'd told me I'd get my maiden 50 today, I would have taken it - no doubt.

"I'm somebody who does try to spend a lot of time out there. Starting my Test career, I wanted to give myself the best opportunity and I feel like I've done that, in patches, but I haven't managed to go on and get a big score.

"I've probably missed out again, but I'm happy to get that first 50. Alastair was obviously the dominant partner, but with each milestone that came up - and seeing their bowlers ground down. It gave me a lot of confidence."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Randolph on December 9, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    So we are back to the Pakistan and South Africa series never happening, it appears. England would do well to notice that they have just won a battle of the minnows, with the real top two teams just completed a compelling and much more highly skilled contest in Australia. The real English fans already know this though and are terrified about the upcoming Ashes series.

  • John on December 8, 2012, 9:34 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (December 06 2012, 18:52 PM GMT) Totally echo MMs comments. Question is why would you not try to fit a guy who is averaging near on 100 domestically into an international side with a batting line up which has struggled for most of the season?

  • Samuel on December 7, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    @MuttaPasanga - considering that is the middle of the English season, it ain't going to happen.

  • Samuel on December 7, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - how exactly is he lucky? He basically averaged 100 in a season where no-one could consistently score runs thanks to the conditions this season, all on the back of averaging the better part of 60 last year. That's the sort of form that should get you picked to play international cricket. Maybe if India's selectors used that sort of logic when it came to picking their team, they wouldn't be in the position they find themselves in.

  • joel on December 7, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    Hes in the top 3 batsmen in the world now ( Cook ) , unbelievable performances in India and Australia . He makes batting look easy , and i cant remember the last Englishman who plays spin bowling so comftably . Err maybe Mike Gatting . He allways scored heavily against India ,

  • Rohan on December 7, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    us Indians need to stop being delusional and acknowledge that we are better than only Bangladesh at the moment. Our bowling is arguably the worst amont the test plaing nations (yes, im including bangladesh as well) and even Pakistan have a better batting line up. We need to follow the route that pakistan are taking in blooding in the youth. Tendulkar is WAYYYY beyond his sell by date, Dhoni is a poor all rounder, sehvag is VERY inconsistent and Kohli is confused. we need to only retain ashwin, kohli, ojha, and pukara. get rid of the rest. Oh where are the Dravids and the Laxmans of this generation?

  • Mark on December 7, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    @satish: Whilst I agree that Zaheer should have retired a long time ago (He is still a highly skilled bowler but he is way too unfit for international sport), I think you are being harsh on Kohli, he is in a lean patch but it is not a long one. Stick with him, he is a class act. As for Ashwin, I've thought Ojha the best spinner in India for awhile now. I'd like to see Rahane given a shot too, I'd read a lot about him and I've still only seen him in T20. Excellent FC average.

  • Jon on December 7, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    It is ridiculous for people to undermine the performances against the Indian spinners in India. What people forget is the shock these performances have caused. Before the series begun the bookies had England at 8-1 to win the series. England were smashed in the first game and everybody (myself included) had the here we go again feeling. To say that one man has pulled it around for England would be wrong, but Cook has come close to doing it. After the debacle in the UAE, we so desperatley needed a player to lead by example and show everyone that you can make runs on spinning tracks. Cook's 2nd innings in the first test said "look it can be done". The batsmenship showed by Cook in this series is amazing. It may look like things are easy now but cast your mind back to the first innings of this series and people were predicting Eng would not pass 300 in any game. Cook deserves all the plaudits in this series. I am normally hyper critical too, so this is something lol.

  • John on December 7, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    @JustIPL on (December 07 2012, 00:29 AM GMT) I disagree. England will desperately want to win the series and even if they win this test they need will not have won the series.

  • narbavi on December 7, 2012, 5:56 GMT

    @JustIPL: The only thing i don't like about him at the moment is he hasn't timed his retirement to perfection, but your point is a bit wrong, yes he has a great record in bangladesh but that doesn't mean he has accumulated those runs only in flat tracks, he has scored well all over the globe!!

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