Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 5th day November 29, 2010

Strauss lauds Cook's 'special innings'

26

Andrew Strauss praised Alastair Cook's double-century as one of the greatest innings in Ashes history, as England closed out the first Test with a monumental batting performance on the final day at the Gabba. In front of a paltry crowd of 7088 that reflected the dispirited nature of Australia's cricketers, Cook trumped his opening stand of 188 with Strauss by adding an unbeaten 329 for the second wicket with Jonathan Trott, to finish unbeaten on 235 out of a massive team total of 517 for 1 declared.

All told, Cook batted for almost 15-and-a-half hours in the course of the match, including a 10-and-a-half hour epic in the second innings. In so doing he became only the sixth English double-centurion in Tests in Australia, and the first since Paul Collingwood made 206 at Adelaide in 2006. Wally Hammond, on three occasions, and RE Foster, who made 287 in 1903, are the only other individuals to have achieved such a feat, but Strauss believed his team-mate deserved to be bracketed alongside them.

"I'm not great on cricketing history, but you'd be hard-pressed to think of a better innings in Australia," said Strauss. "It must be a long time ago that a player batted as well as Cooky did, with the concentration to see it through for such a long time. It's one of the really special innings from an England player."

A host of records tumbled in the course of the day, including Donald Bradman's highest score of 226 at the Gabba, and the highest partnership for any England wicket in Australia. But all that mattered to England at the close was that they had rescued the Test from a precarious situation at the close of the third day, having conceded a first-innings deficit of 221 following a 307-run stand between Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin.

"It's just great we came back into the game, managed to get a draw and finished so strongly," said Strauss. "There's not a long turnaround before Adelaide and both sets of players will be keen to come out strong on the first morning. Everyone talks about how important the first Test is against Australia in Brisbane, so to get through that unscathed from the position we were in is a great effort, although clearly we would've wanted to win the game."

Cook, for his part, was simply focussed on extending his stay for as long as possible. "We didn't know about the records, so Trotty and I might have to start digging to see what we have achieved," he said. "It's been a fantastic couple of days. The pitch was amazing to bat on and got better and better, but you still have to go and get them."

With a quick turnaround ahead of Adelaide, and Australia already telegraphing changes to their starting line-up by drafting in two extra pacemen in Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris, England have plenty reason to believe they've got their opponents on the ropes. "It's all this momentum chat again," said Strauss. "I don't know who takes the momentum, [but] we take a huge amount.

"We did some very good things with the ball - some of our bowlers weren't rewarded for quite how well they bowled - but also the resilience to come back into the game. We were in a pretty dire position after day three, so it speaks volumes for the characters of Cooky and Trotty. We've proved over a while we're a hard side to beat and it gives us more confidence."

Cook's confidence could hardly be higher following his indomitable efforts, and yet it wasn't so long ago that he was scratching around at the top of England's order, and restricted to 100 runs in home Tests last summer before saving his immediate place in the side with a gutsy century against Pakistan at The Oval.

"It's cricket," he said, by way of explanation. "It's amazing how quickly it turns round. If you keep working at the right things and keep believing you're a good player, you get your results. The dark days against Pakistan make these extra special. The hundred at The Oval was a great confidence [boost] and to back it up here is very pleasing."

Had Cook been permitted to bat through to the close, there would have been the prospect of an even bigger innings, but Strauss believed that it was only right to get Australia back into the field to face an awkward final session against a well-rested bowling attack. "Even though there was a very small chance of forcing a win, it was worth trying," he said. "To get a few wickets on the way would've been a bit of a psychological blow. If there was even an outside chance of forcing a win, we should try and do it.

Although the early wicket of Simon Katich gave them the prospect of further breakthroughs, Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson took Australia through to 107 for 1 at the close. "It was very flat on the fifth day and we weren't a force much with the ball but we're happy with where we are and we look forward to Adelaide. Hopefully we can win the toss in Adelaide and we'll see how things progress from there."

However, just as England insisted that their impressive start to the tour would count for nothing come the Test series, so Cook was quick to point out that his success at the Gabba was similarly in the past. "We start quickly on Friday so hopefully I can start again in Adelaide," he said. "I've not changed a huge amount technically. A bit between the second and third Tests against Pakistan, I changed a bit to what I'd been doing before, but not a huge amount and it just shows what a mental game opening is."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SRT_GENIUS on November 30, 2010, 22:36 GMT

    I enjoyed Sachin's 248 more. This was okay.

  • S.N.Singh on November 30, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    AURTRALIA, PLAY THE LEGSPINNER/GOOGLY PLAYERS, SMITH, AND YOU WILL SEE A DIFFERENCE IN ENGLAND BATTING. STOP PUTTING ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET AND PLAY THE GAME ALONG WITH THE LEFT ARM SPINNER DHOUTERY.

    S.N.SINGH U S A.

  • sachin_vvsfan on November 30, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    @ TheHoneymonster Agreed with you. His 200 came when it was most needed . After the end of third day no body knew the pitch would become that 'flat' and Aussies dominated those 3 days and there was definitely some pressure on England openers. But this cannot be rated as the best in Ashes as other batsmen too enjoyed scoring here. I would rate ponting's 154 in that drawn game in 2005 highly than this double ton coz he tried everything till the end to secure a draw.

  • SDHM on November 30, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    It was a great innings, despite people attempting to belittle it. The pitch was flat and the attack not great, but a double hundred still requires concentration, and people seem to forget that many a side has collapsed on a supposedly good pitch when they are so far behind in the game. Even on a flat track, 517-1 is a rare scoreline indeed. Take into account it's the Ashes too - no matter what people are saying that these are two middling sides (which they are) and that SA/India will be better (not sure about that myself - I'd back that to be a run feast as well, with India's batting and their own middling seamers against Amla and co), the pressure on the players from both the media and the fans is massive, so it takes considerable guts to go out there and perform.

  • number-09 on November 30, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    aniketranade - Finn also took six wickets. I am sure you would have complained if Finn was MOM. Cook performed in both innings, survived 63 out of the 77 overs scoring 67 runs, and not out in the 2nd innings.

  • bongob on November 30, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Oh Dear! Just as well these posts are anonymous - if I was CustomKid I think I might be a little embarrassed by such a hasty outburst. By no stretch of the imagination could any of these centuries be categorised as second-rate, and a five-day test being possibly the most cerebral and elegant of all sports, if he/she can't enjoy some wonderful play by both sides, what can I say? And while at the end of the day it may only be the result that is remembered, it is still the conduct of play - a wonderful near-yorker dug out at the very last moment or a glorious off-drive picked up by a despairing dive - that keeps us enthralled; and, like most people and for just that reason one should be able to derive as much pleasure from a loss as as a win...

  • diri on November 30, 2010, 11:39 GMT

    yawn yawn yawn,....ashes is just hype!!! The real series of the summer is starting soon...16th December....South Africa V India..........cant wait

  • number-09 on November 30, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    AkshayKatiyar So u feel collinwood could not handle the pressure. Did he not score 206 in 2006?

  • number-09 on November 30, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    CustomKid Strauss was referring to english batsmen. And he is not ahea of himself considering Australia's bowling attack, which is 50% effective compared to a couple of years ago. England could win the ashes, Ozzies are fighting it. Wake up man.

  • aniketranade on November 30, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    Man of the Match announcement was the real tragedy! Can anyone gets stats on how many Batsmen have scored a double hundred in the last year...vs How many Pace bowlers have taken 6 wickets on the opening day...and a Hat trick to boot! A lot of people whine about how pitches are not bowler friendly.....But people running the game are No Better!

  • SRT_GENIUS on November 30, 2010, 22:36 GMT

    I enjoyed Sachin's 248 more. This was okay.

  • S.N.Singh on November 30, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    AURTRALIA, PLAY THE LEGSPINNER/GOOGLY PLAYERS, SMITH, AND YOU WILL SEE A DIFFERENCE IN ENGLAND BATTING. STOP PUTTING ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET AND PLAY THE GAME ALONG WITH THE LEFT ARM SPINNER DHOUTERY.

    S.N.SINGH U S A.

  • sachin_vvsfan on November 30, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    @ TheHoneymonster Agreed with you. His 200 came when it was most needed . After the end of third day no body knew the pitch would become that 'flat' and Aussies dominated those 3 days and there was definitely some pressure on England openers. But this cannot be rated as the best in Ashes as other batsmen too enjoyed scoring here. I would rate ponting's 154 in that drawn game in 2005 highly than this double ton coz he tried everything till the end to secure a draw.

  • SDHM on November 30, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    It was a great innings, despite people attempting to belittle it. The pitch was flat and the attack not great, but a double hundred still requires concentration, and people seem to forget that many a side has collapsed on a supposedly good pitch when they are so far behind in the game. Even on a flat track, 517-1 is a rare scoreline indeed. Take into account it's the Ashes too - no matter what people are saying that these are two middling sides (which they are) and that SA/India will be better (not sure about that myself - I'd back that to be a run feast as well, with India's batting and their own middling seamers against Amla and co), the pressure on the players from both the media and the fans is massive, so it takes considerable guts to go out there and perform.

  • number-09 on November 30, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    aniketranade - Finn also took six wickets. I am sure you would have complained if Finn was MOM. Cook performed in both innings, survived 63 out of the 77 overs scoring 67 runs, and not out in the 2nd innings.

  • bongob on November 30, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Oh Dear! Just as well these posts are anonymous - if I was CustomKid I think I might be a little embarrassed by such a hasty outburst. By no stretch of the imagination could any of these centuries be categorised as second-rate, and a five-day test being possibly the most cerebral and elegant of all sports, if he/she can't enjoy some wonderful play by both sides, what can I say? And while at the end of the day it may only be the result that is remembered, it is still the conduct of play - a wonderful near-yorker dug out at the very last moment or a glorious off-drive picked up by a despairing dive - that keeps us enthralled; and, like most people and for just that reason one should be able to derive as much pleasure from a loss as as a win...

  • diri on November 30, 2010, 11:39 GMT

    yawn yawn yawn,....ashes is just hype!!! The real series of the summer is starting soon...16th December....South Africa V India..........cant wait

  • number-09 on November 30, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    AkshayKatiyar So u feel collinwood could not handle the pressure. Did he not score 206 in 2006?

  • number-09 on November 30, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    CustomKid Strauss was referring to english batsmen. And he is not ahea of himself considering Australia's bowling attack, which is 50% effective compared to a couple of years ago. England could win the ashes, Ozzies are fighting it. Wake up man.

  • aniketranade on November 30, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    Man of the Match announcement was the real tragedy! Can anyone gets stats on how many Batsmen have scored a double hundred in the last year...vs How many Pace bowlers have taken 6 wickets on the opening day...and a Hat trick to boot! A lot of people whine about how pitches are not bowler friendly.....But people running the game are No Better!

  • on November 30, 2010, 8:05 GMT

    I continue to back England in this ashes series. They can take their laskes, lick their wounds and try to fight back and win! Had Hussey been rightfully sent on his way at 85 things could have been a lot worse for the Astralians.Imagine how Jimmy Anderson must have felt? Stuart Broad will come good at the right time and Australia will pay! Australia holds the view that its players are bigger than the game - a mere aberation. And to think that Ponting is the chief culprit! Under pressure the Aussies are like chickens without a head.

  • funkybluesman on November 30, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    While any double century requires quality batsmanship, considering the exceedingly bat friendly conditions there is no way it can qualify as "one of the greatest innings in ashes history". The ones that qualify for greatness is where a great batsman dominates the attack while the rest of his teammates struggle because the bowling is good and the pitch give the bowlers some assistance, but the batsman simply rises above that.

    This hardly qualifies, fine innings though it clearly was, basically everyone else who batted was loving the conditions also with two other centurians for the English, a huge partnership for Australia and the way Ricky was making a mockery of the English attack in the last hour or so of play showed there was still nothing at all for the bowlers.

  • landl47 on November 30, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    After day 3 I would have said Australia's chance of winning was 90%, with England 9% to draw and England's chance of winning 1%. To draw the game was a tremendous effort; it's very hard to play such a determined innings when realistically the best you can hope for is a draw. The effect on Australia is obvious- they are already bringing in replacements after one test! They clearly feel their eleven in Brisbane didn't get the job done. That;s the sign of an unsettled side and must be a boost to England going into Friday's game. @CustomKid: what part of 1-517 didn't you understand?

  • Pathiyal on November 30, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    considering the pressure situation and the inconsistency of the English batsmen down the order, it was a magnificent innings by Alastair Cook. these biased comments by the readers really made me laugh in the morning. the cricket fraternity is aware of the fact what a brilliant player this 25 year old double centurion is (excuse him for his fielding, the improvement might be on the corner!!).

  • CustomKid on November 29, 2010, 23:27 GMT

    Mahahahahaha settle down Strauss one of the greatest knocks in ashes history. How about Hussey's 195 under the pump for his spot and well behind the score? In a test that produced 800+ runs on the last three days for 7 wickets I think you're getting a bit ahead of yourself.

    I wont waste my breath listing hundreds by other players from both teams over the last 80 years that make this innings look second rate. As for the bowling being great you conceeded 480 runs in the first innings in the best bowling conditions while being bowled out for 260 inside a day.

    You can paint what ever picture you like but I'm still not convinced your side believes they can win this series. You might draw it but an outright win no way. Do us all a favour, win the toss bat, collapse in a heap, and consign what you describe as the greatest knock ever as nothing more than history. If you lose the series how will you rate the knock given it will count for nothing.

    Keep the LOL's rolling Straussy.

  • on November 29, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    england will surely win if johnson and north in the aussie team

  • Rockyyyims on November 29, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    Oh! these two dashed aussie hopes!!They did a superb job,wonder things would have been different,if these two got out early. I don't think that KP or Colly would have handled the pressure.

  • on November 29, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    People are talking about flat tracks in sub continent... and sub continent batsman scoring centuries being called as FLAT Track Bullies... Whats going on with GABBA? AUSTRALIAN FLAT TRACK??? Ashes is Boring... really boring.... Watch out for India- SA series!!!!

  • on November 29, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    Isn't this the same Cook who was made to look like a tail-ender during the English summer by Asif and Amir?He has a lot of shortcomings as a Test opener but somehow he plays out of his skin.He is a very good LBW candidate but has scored 14 centuries as of now.And good thing is that he has started playing some aerial shots through mid-wicket.Only temperament his biggest strength.

  • Fareen on November 29, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    Alastair Cook is one of the most talented players you'll ever see.I was so surprised by the fact that people like Ian Chappell told the english selectors to drop him.He has 14 centuries @ age 25.He'll get better.Hope to see him bat like this throughout the whole Ashes.He's class....

  • Aussasinator on November 29, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    This England team cannot lose to Australia. The Australian bowling is still good but the England batting is far too resolute and competent for them to make a dent.

  • anver777 on November 29, 2010, 13:11 GMT

    While Struass admires Cook's marathon double century, one must not forget the start he gave for ENG in the 2nd innings.....the opening partnership with Cook was so crucial at that stage for under pressure ENG...so i think his century was very very special & fighting one too....A CAPTAIN'S KNOCK with COOK spoils the AUSSIES SOUP !!!!!!!!

  • on November 29, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Cook did cook a delicious meal,stubborn,obdurate but never monotonous!!!! Australia were forced to play the waiting game with no success!!!!

  • AB_DeVilliers on November 29, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    After all that has been said and done (and well done to Cook), the scoreline still reads 0-0. It has still been (just less than) 10 years since Eng last won a test match in Aus. For all Eng's blushes, when the test started, they were supposedly favourites and could only manage a draw. Their come from behind draw reminds me somewhat on South Africa's feat at the MCG two years ago. The only difference is that South Africa were good enough to come from behind and win. This Eng team is just above avg - in fact, both these teams are. The Ashes is great, but the battle for world supremacy starts at Centurion on Dec 16th.

  • on November 29, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    Bringing in Bollinger & Haris in is a good idea

  • SettingSun on November 29, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    I think what is clear from this test match is that Australia cannot really drop North - he's their best bowler!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • SettingSun on November 29, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    I think what is clear from this test match is that Australia cannot really drop North - he's their best bowler!

  • on November 29, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    Bringing in Bollinger & Haris in is a good idea

  • AB_DeVilliers on November 29, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    After all that has been said and done (and well done to Cook), the scoreline still reads 0-0. It has still been (just less than) 10 years since Eng last won a test match in Aus. For all Eng's blushes, when the test started, they were supposedly favourites and could only manage a draw. Their come from behind draw reminds me somewhat on South Africa's feat at the MCG two years ago. The only difference is that South Africa were good enough to come from behind and win. This Eng team is just above avg - in fact, both these teams are. The Ashes is great, but the battle for world supremacy starts at Centurion on Dec 16th.

  • on November 29, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Cook did cook a delicious meal,stubborn,obdurate but never monotonous!!!! Australia were forced to play the waiting game with no success!!!!

  • anver777 on November 29, 2010, 13:11 GMT

    While Struass admires Cook's marathon double century, one must not forget the start he gave for ENG in the 2nd innings.....the opening partnership with Cook was so crucial at that stage for under pressure ENG...so i think his century was very very special & fighting one too....A CAPTAIN'S KNOCK with COOK spoils the AUSSIES SOUP !!!!!!!!

  • Aussasinator on November 29, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    This England team cannot lose to Australia. The Australian bowling is still good but the England batting is far too resolute and competent for them to make a dent.

  • Fareen on November 29, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    Alastair Cook is one of the most talented players you'll ever see.I was so surprised by the fact that people like Ian Chappell told the english selectors to drop him.He has 14 centuries @ age 25.He'll get better.Hope to see him bat like this throughout the whole Ashes.He's class....

  • on November 29, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    Isn't this the same Cook who was made to look like a tail-ender during the English summer by Asif and Amir?He has a lot of shortcomings as a Test opener but somehow he plays out of his skin.He is a very good LBW candidate but has scored 14 centuries as of now.And good thing is that he has started playing some aerial shots through mid-wicket.Only temperament his biggest strength.

  • on November 29, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    People are talking about flat tracks in sub continent... and sub continent batsman scoring centuries being called as FLAT Track Bullies... Whats going on with GABBA? AUSTRALIAN FLAT TRACK??? Ashes is Boring... really boring.... Watch out for India- SA series!!!!

  • Rockyyyims on November 29, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    Oh! these two dashed aussie hopes!!They did a superb job,wonder things would have been different,if these two got out early. I don't think that KP or Colly would have handled the pressure.