New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Dunedin, 4th day

'Cook kept me going' - Compton

Andrew McGlashan in Dunedin

March 9, 2013

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

Nick Compton praised the role of Alastair Cook in helping nurse him towards a maiden Test hundred on the fourth day in Dunedin. The pair combined for their third century opening stand in 10 innings, with Cook scoring his 24th Test hundred, and Compton was grateful for the experience of his captain as he edged towards three figures.

Cook, who fell with Compton on 99, did not have to wait for more than a few days for his first Test century, which came in just his second innings against India in Nagpur. While Compton's wait has not been too long the final moments were surrounded by tension. Compton's innings had started to flow more freely after a sticky start against the new ball, but once the 90s arrived scoring seized up again and, for a short while, it appeared he could be stranded overnight short of the milestone.

"He's fantastic, a real solid grounding sort of guy. He's a special guy," Compton said. "Both of us weren't moving our feet too well early on and probably got away with it a little bit. It grew from there. It was great to have that over-by-over focus. He's a tough character and he kept me going when at times I wanted to get on with it a little bit."

The Cook-Compton partnership replaced one of the most settled of England's history. Cook walked out with Andrew Strauss in 117 innings and they are comfortably England's most prolific first-wicket pair whose 4711 runs together included 12 century stands. The new era, however, has started productively with three hundred partnerships in 10 innings.

They are now only one behind three pairs who had lengthy associations - Geoff Boycott and Graham Gooch (four in 49 innings), Michael Atherton and Marcus Trescothick (four in 30), Atherton and Mark Butcher (four in 32). Currently, too, for partnerships that have lasted at least 10 innings they sit second behind Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe in terms of average. A skewed statistic, yes, but one nonetheless that shows their early success.

Before the Test, Cook spoke about the differences in their characters - the intensity of Compton - and how life has changed since he is no longer opening with Strauss. He said he felt a duty, as the senior man, to help Compton along.

"I think you get a bit more intense when the pressure is on and you are searching for runs, trying to get yourself together," Compton said. "I've always been someone who analyses myself quite a lot, probably to the detriment but I also think it's got me to where I have - the hunger and the drive. Alastair is a very balanced guy, very level-headed guy."

When Cook finally fell, shortly before the close, edging behind off Trent Boult with the second new ball, the stand of 231 was England's highest for the first wicket since Strauss and Trescothick added 273 against South Africa at Durban in 2004, which was the beginning of another rearguard after a poor first innings, and also their eighth-highest ever upfront.

It has given England a good chance of salvaging a draw after two horrid days in another slow start to an overseas series. "We put ourselves in this position, we're well aware of that," Compton said. "We weren't good enough in the first innings and New Zealand were right on it. They batted brilliantly, they bowled well. So it was a bit of a kick up the proverbial, if you know what I mean. It was a case of really trying to get back into it."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by RogerC on (March 9, 2013, 23:54 GMT)

As this match is not played in the sub-continent, let's not call the batsmen flat track bullies.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 9, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

. @Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 9, 2013, 9:52 GMT) Why can't you just praise a player without having to bring Australia into it? Clarke is the best batsman/captain out there who doesn't have a huge amount of stability (asin reliable batsmen around him). I don't know why you have to have a go at Clarke on each and every occasion. Truth is , if we had a Clarke in the lower middle order of our side I reckon we'd have won in UAE , SL and drawn the series vs SA.

Posted by willsrustynuts on (March 9, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

Compton - Fantastic moment for father, son and nation. Wonderful to see the young man making his mark.

Cook - I cannot find the words to describe how valued the skipper is.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 9, 2013, 16:54 GMT)

What a pleasure it must be to have someone like Cook at the other end. One of the reasons Aus. are struggling is that barring Clarke, no one installs that confidence/aura factor. Great knock for Nick, and hopefully he'll maintain some great form throughout the whole series.

Posted by landl47 on (March 9, 2013, 16:53 GMT)

@Meety: I agree with you- I would much prefer seeing Root stay in the middle order. I think he has the potential to play either game, defending stoutly or making quick runs, and that's what is needed at #6. It's why Mike Hussey was so valuable to Australia. He also started, indeed played most of his pre-test career, as an opener, but ultimately found his best place in the middle order. He'd be a great example for Root to follow and if Root can even approach Hussey's achievements he'll be a very fine player.

I'm very pleased for Nick Compton. He has a pretty good FC resume, average 43.66 before this game, and seems to know his game well. If he can average 40+ in tests on a consistent basis, not just a couple of big scores among a lot of early dismissals, he'll be an excellent partner for Cook.

Posted by SamRoy on (March 9, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

Cook is a real gritty character. Three times now after first innings disasters in the first test on tour away from home this guy has come back with a second innings hundred and a century plus opening partnership (against Australia in Brisbane, against India in Ahmedabad and now against NZ in Dunedin).

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 9, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

@CrICkeeet on (March 9, 2013, 12:54 GMT), not the most inciteful comment ever made. If the time hadn't been lost to rain then England would still be in with a chance of winning. They're 59 behind with only 1 wicket down so they could still set NZ a challenging target if there was the time. I'm not saying that they would but they certainly could.

Posted by CrICkeeet on (March 9, 2013, 12:54 GMT)

Un4tunately this is only a 4 DAY TEST match (as day 1 washed out). in dis situation if its day 3 (now day 4) then eng could b in serious trouble....

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 9, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

If he's to hold onto the opening spot long-term then Compton is going to have to score runs on far more difficult surfaces than this one, but he probably won;t find himself in many more high-pressure situations than this. My only reservation about opening with Compton is that, on the occasions where England need some quick runs, their top 3 would not be your first choice for doing so. On days like today though, they might be just the ticket.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 9, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

Nick has probably done himself many favours - not just with his ton , but also with what he has said about Cook. I still think it's way too early to have them down as a settled pair but despite the pitch having few demons , you still have to apply yourself 100% throughout a long period of time so well done guys

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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